October 2020 will be a very busy month for virtual sustainable sports summits due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The first Sport Positive Summit will take place on October 1-2. The 10th Green Sports Alliance Summit follows soon after with two separate virtual events: Green Sports Day starts the festivities on October 6 with the summit taking virtual center stage on the 13th-14th.
Claire Poole, organizer of the Sport Positive Summit, had planned to host the inaugural event at London’s Wembley Stadium on March 17-18. A few weeks earlier, COVID-19 outbreaks started to hit Europe and the United States, making postponement necessary. She thought that in-person conferences might be possible by the fall. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
“At the time, we thought October was a safe amount of time to get through the pandemic and to some kind of normality,” Poole said in a statement. “The health and safety of our community is our primary concern…[And with] the level of uncertainty of what trajectory the virus might take between now and October being high, and a ‘second wave’ being referenced frequently by scientists…We cannot be sure at this time that the UK Government will allow gatherings of the size we require by October, and we must all be able to plan ahead.”
With that in mind, Poole announced last week that the Sport Positive Summit will be held virtually on October 1-2. She also took an optimistic take on the 2021 version of the summit, saying that it will take place in person in London, likely in early October.
This year’s virtual summit will be a mix of live and pre-recorded content, breakout discussions and group networking. Per Poole, additional detailed information on the agenda and speakers will be sent to attendees and will be available on the Sport Positive Summit website in short order.
The Green Sports Alliance followed suit, announcing on Tuesday that its 10th annual summit, originally scheduled for Minneapolis’ US Bank Stadium in mid-June, would also take place virtually in October.
“The health and well-being of our members, partners, staff, and all those within our community are of the utmost priority to us,” offered executive director Roger McClendon in a statement. “The unprecedented shutdown of the sports industry has been very difficult, and we hope that by moving our 10th Anniversary Summit online we will be able to best support the sports greening movement in a safe and accessible way.”
This year’s Summit will be a two-part affair:
October 6: The GSA said in a statement that its fifth annual “Green Sports Day” will feature free video conversations showcasing the history and growth of the green sports movement.
October 13-14: The virtual main event will, per the Alliance statement, be highlighted by “high-level keynote speakers and deep dive workshops, including sustainable facility operations, international sports greening efforts, environmental and social justice, as well as discussions on how sports should re-open in the face of COVID-19.”
More information will be made available in the coming weeks on the Summit website.
With both virtual conferences taking place within a couple of weeks of each other, Sport Positive Summit and the Green Sports Alliance Summit are coordinating with each other so that there will be significant benefits to those who attend both events. According to Poole and Kristin Hanczor, senior partnership manager for the Green Sports Alliance, that spirit of cooperation is nothing new.
Both note that the two organizations have been steadfast supporters of each other‘s work in the sports greening space and frequently collaborate behind the scenes — connecting climate change and sustainability efforts in North America, the UK and beyond