The Pros and Cons of Challenge Penticton’s Test Event

Holly Bird, Principal

13 Sept 2016

Team Adesso has returned to the office after two weeks in Penticton for the ITU Multisport World Championship Festival test event.

While in Penticton, our team of five managed the social media, communications, marketing and PR for Challenge Penticton. The 2016 event featured five National Championship races, each with individual needs for marketing, communications and public relations. The event served to test out the systems set in place and make needed changes for next year’s global sporting event. With 5,000 athletes anticipated and an additional 2,000 support staff, spectators and volunteers (as well as up to 60,000 viewers online), attempting an effort to mirror the coming event was critical. We knew that if the system was sound we’d need to consider how best to scale up our efforts for the increased traffic.

Being the team on the ground for a test event enabled Adesso to:

1. Develop a set of templates for media advisories and releases;
2. Connect and build relationships with local media for event support and support leading up to 2017;
3. Hold a press conference and panel;
4. Test run “live” social media during each race;
5. Understand common feedback from athletes, spectators, volunteers and staff on marketing, communications;
6. Understand common feedback from media local and international about messaging the event;
7. Test run roles, responsibilities and work flow on a hour to hour, day to day basis.

The event also proved invaluable for understanding our resourcing issues: where we were overstaffed, where we were understaffed, where required more energy, input and organization. The benefit of having a test event before the “real deal” can’t be understated but isn’t always possible.

Walking away from the week we can regroup and make a game plan for 2017 that will attempt to satisfy all the needs of the races to come.