Blog  »  2016 National Sports Forum Recap
DATE: By Derek Sussner, March 1, 2016

2016 National Sports Forum Recap

2016 National Sports Forum Recap


The 2nd Surface Design team had a great time at our first ever National Sports Forum, hosted by the city of Portland, Oregon. This year’s event was attended by over 835 people, including top team sports marketing and sales executives, and industry exhibitors and sponsors. NSF 2016 was three days of networking, idea sharing, and listening to key spokespeople discuss current sports industry topics, concerns and opportunities.

NSF 2016 also included tours of two Portland stadiums: Providence Park, home of MLS’s Portland Timbers and the Moda Center, home to NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers.

Providence Park is a charming stadium with an appropriate blend of local, historical and contemporary elements. We just wish we had the chance to see a Timbers match! The fan photo displays with the axe was a brilliant fan engagement idea. And Timber Joey (the Timbers lumberman mascot) cutting a log slab from the giant victory log after each Timbers goal is scored is an outstanding game day tradition. The tour also included a photo opp with the MLS Cup, the Timbers 2015 Championship trophy!


The Moda Center tour was impressive, including a stop in the Portland Trail Blazers locker room (home team locker rooms and club houses are often off limits on tours). Kid City (who’s name plays off Portland’s basketball moniker of Rip City) is a super cool, fan engagement stop in the concourse. The selection of food might be the most impressive part of the Moda Center, as they’ve done a wonderful job of featuring fare that’s local to Portland.


Here are 16 of our favorite comments from speakers, panelists and breakout sessions from #NSF16:

“Fans have a voracious appetite for more; it’s time to capitalize on that and connect with fans.”

“Knowing and understanding the fan in the context of their sports behavior is key.”

“The mobile experience is your connection with fans.”

“There are data producers and there are data consumers.”

“The team app can become the social home for your fans on game day.”

“The stadium is a physical representaion of the team’s brand.”

“To create a fan we need to connect the heart of the audience with the heart of the team’s brand.”

“Millenials don’t want to labeled as millennials – they want to be their own, unique person.”

“Not all fan engagements are measurable (ROI), nor should they be.”

“You need to understand your market and your fans; find stories unique to you and your brand.”

“Emotions matter. There are real memories being made here, and there are new memories to create.”

“The ability for fans to interact with each other brings authenitic conversations and provides marketing opportunities.”

“What makes your game different, special, unique? Do I have to be in my seat to experience it?”

“The 4 values of fan engagement: 1. Stand for something, 2. Take risks, 3. Tell a story, 4. Own a moment in time.”

“Create an experience focused on your brand that gives fans something unique that they can’t experience at home.”

“Tickets are an entry to an experience.”

2nd Surface will be exhibiting at the 2017 National Sports Forum, and we’re excited that our home town of Minneapolis will be hosting next year. We’d love to see you there.

If you are interested in seeing the new Interactive Reality technology that we shared at NSF16, and learning how to leverage it to improve your fan experience, please contact us.