Why ALSD Virtual 2020 Is the Most Important Conference You’ll Ever Attend

While in-person events are on hold, the need for information waits for no virus. It’s a mad scramble in the industry these days to learn an entirely new and nebulous playbook to protect our businesses. Clarity awaits at the ALSD’s 2020 Virtual Show.

In many ways, ALSD 2020 will be the most important sports and entertainment conference our members and industry friends ever attend. Our lives and livelihoods have been thrust into turbulent straits these past five months, and our future now looks like an unknown country.

“The biggest threat to the industry is the unknown,” says Michele Kajiwara, ALSD Board President and SVP of Premium Sales and Service at STAPLES Center. “We are speculating all day long.”

ALSD members everywhere are speculating right now while grappling an indefinite number of uncertain outcomes. We have spoken with many of you through lockdowns and quarantines, listened to your anxieties and business needs, and are ready to deliver the spoonful of certainty you need to move forward with confidence.

You’re not going to sell the same over the next 12 months. You’re not going to service the same. You’re not going to design the same. You’re not going to operate the same. You’re not going to entertain the same. And you’re going to have to implement new processes to do more with less, leveraging an admixture of technology and analog grit.

“There are outliers doing some things that are really unique that they can share with the rest of the group.” – Michele Kajiwara, STAPLES Center

The goal of ALSD 2020 is not to end the speculation. It will not identify a lone unknown threat that matters above all others and transform it into a known solution. I wish it were that easy. But what ALSD 2020 is primed to do is explore all certain roadmaps to all reopening outcomes within the bounds of possibility, from no seasons to full seasons to reduced capacities to every equation in between.

Success in this moment is not found in knowing the answer, but in knowing how to navigate any outcome the industry’s magic eight ball turns up. This year’s virtual presentation of conference materials will expose all the various contingencies stadiums and arena staffs must plan for and how they are planning for them by building and developing full pipelines of business ready to flow the moment the floodgates open and we’re back to business.

“There’s so much planning and strategizing right now,” Kajiwara says. “We have done a complete audit of all our business verticals to make sure we’re doing it all and making adjustments so that when we come out of this, we’re prepared. This is new for all of us. We are iterating in real time.”

The ALSD has always been the leading platform for sports and entertainment venue executives to share and learn best practices. In 2020, that platform is more critical than ever, due to this year’s vast number of new education topics. Like the coronavirus, the information to be presented this year is entirely novel to the marketplace. And none of us have time to wait for a vaccine or for the coal to turn into diamond, whichever happens first. We have to act fast. We have to pivot now.

To help you grab hold of the reins, we encourage you to review our 2020 conference program, an aggregation of all the new research and thought leadership being organized to help our community bridge to its reopening while effectively and compassionately engaging clients in the interim time.

“This is a really unique situation, and everyone, of course, has their own journey through it,” says Kajiwara. “But we have the ability to come together in this new covid environment and see how we as an industry are still so fundamentally like-minded. And there are outliers doing some things that are really unique that they can share with the rest of the group.”

COVID-19 has pinned our shoulders close to the mat. Now it’s time for us to regain leverage and learn a new offense. And at one-fourth the expense of going to our traditional in-person conference, the virtual show opens up an opportunity for teams to send more contributors to our four days of strategizing.