We're proud to announce the newest addition to the SFM Network team:
Justin Roach, SFM National Director - Events & Entertainment.
We sat down with Justin to learn a little more about his journey coming to SFM and his thoughts on what's coming next for the SFM Network.
Why make the move to SFM?
Having spent the last eight years in the sports tourism industry, I’ve gained tremendous respect for the reputation and quality of services SFA & SFM provides to improve communities through sports. Having worked with SFA & SFM both as a collaborator as the Director of Sports at Sports Planning Guide (SPG), and as their client while serving as Director of Business Development at the DuPage Sports Commission, I recognized the caliber of people in the organization and knew this was a team I wanted to be part of. Being part of this team and representing the venues and destinations within the SFM Network was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!
How will your experience at the DuPage Sports Commission help prepare you for this opportunity?
Having been on the other side of the table and representing a destination, I understand of how sports and events deliver economic, social, and community-based benefits. During my time in DuPage I led numerous event bid efforts and successfully hosted national championships across many sports, and also was directly responsible for creating events that delivered on those benefits. Taking that experience and transitioning it to the SFM Network and our numerous partners will be a natural fit.
What will you look back from DuPage and be most proud of?
Creating the sports commission and leading national event bids, as well as creating events, could not have been done without building partnerships with local leaders and elected officials, park districts, colleges, and the many event organizers who believed in our vision. The success was shared among many supporters and partners. I’m most proud of how sports was able to unite our communities for shared benefits and results.
What does sport mean to you?
As a life-long athlete and sports fan, I have a deep appreciation for the value that sport brings to our lives: training towards excellence and self-improvement, practicing teamwork and integrity, and celebrating social experiences. Growing up in Rockford Illinois, I’ve witnessed firsthand the value sports brings to community. Decades ago Rockford made the strategic decision to support the growth of youth and amateur sports. Through their investment and efforts, the park district features some of the best venues in the state and region. These venues provide greater access for play for local communities and host a high volume of events that deliver significant economic impact. The results are multi-generational and has helped shaped Rockford on the national stage in sports tourism. Sports impacts us all in different ways, and for me, it has shaped who I am.
What are some of the industry trends you are seeing that will most likely shape your first year or two at SFM?
First and foremost, the need for a strong network. As the market continues to grow, so will the competition. With strength in numbers of the venues within the SFM Network, it provides us the opportunity to be innovative and more collaborative with our event partners. As we continue to grow, we’ll find new and better efficiencies from staffing, shared resources, and event production. This is a big differentiator for us in the market.
More on the facility side, I’m excited to be part of the team ushering in the next generation of facilities being planned, constructed, and managed. With many being created for multi-use and multi-sports, and integrated with new technology, it provides flexibility for long-term success serving both tourism and local community needs. From an event standpoint, it creates a lot of unique opportunities for growth and development.
Can you dive into what the SFM network is and how planners can work within it?
The SFM Network is the largest single network of sports tourism venues in the country. Located in tourism-friendly destinations across 14 different states, these venues range from multi-purpose outdoor and indoor that allow us to host just about any event type and size. The network goes beyond the facilities though, and includes our teams in the facilities, local elected officials and leaders, robust hotel and housing options, and family-friendly attractions.
If an event owner is interested in hosting an event at one of our venues or creating a tournament trail among several events within our venues, the SFM Network can help. To help navigate our various venues and locations, as well as services of support, event owners can contact me at JRoach@SportAdvisory.com, or at 630-277-3953.