Even for the non-sports fanatic, sporting events are an amazing environment for hosting in-person events. The casual, enthusiastic nature of the environment allows clients to relax and are a great option for transitioning back from virtual to in-person events. And with the proverbial ice broken, you can have some truly honest and productive conversations. So it’s no surprise that companies spend around $20B per year on sporting events for clients.
Learn how to run an event that isn't terrible. Get the workbook.
When planning a B2B marketing event with a sports theme, you can go with tried-and-true activities like tickets to local stadium games, or you can take the event off the court (so to speak) into more creative territory. Depending on the client, the goal, and the size of your event, there are a wealth of venue options for B2B sports outings. Here are a few of our favorites:
Event Ideas for Sports Fans
Booking a luxury suite is a classic for business entertaining. Among other reasons, suites offer a private space where clients don’t have to love baseball to enjoy the vibe and setting. Most major stadiums will have luxury suites available, but renting a suite in one of the America’s great baseball cities takes the VIP experience up a notch. Don’t miss:
- Fenway Park in Boston
- Cardinals Suites Busch Stadium in St Louis
- Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles
- White Sox Suites in Chicago
Best for: Mid-range client entertainment for medium-sized groups
Fantasy sports camp
Have you heard of this immersive experience for the ultimate sports fan? Well if not, you’re welcome! This is a great B2B event when you have a small VIP group and a big budget (think $1000-7500 per person). Camps are run by professional coaching staff or former athletes who offer quality instruction in a dream setting. Entertaining clients in Los Angeles? Check out the LA Galaxy Soccer Camp. Train with olympic skiers at Mahre Training Center on the slopes of Park City, a quick jaunt from Salt Lake. Or for a smorgasbord of sport options, put together a team, pick a sport, and schedule a day at Ultimate Fantasy Sports Camp in New York.
Best for: High-end entertainment for select VIP groups
Golf (on or off the green)
Golf is the iconic sport for business entertainment. Flexible, highbrow, and leisurely, a day on the green is optimal for any level of client engagement, from new to long-time clients, small groups to full-blown company competitions. Some of the best golf cities in America? Austin tops the chart with its combination of stellar weather and affordable, accessible courses. To plan an event, book a day at one of Austin’s best golf clubs for corporate events. Other great locales include Orlando (check out the course at the Grand Cypress Resort) and Dallas, where you can combine your conference with an outing at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas.
If you love the client-wooing atmosphere of golf but aren’t in a great golf city, not to worry. TopGolf is breaking the mould for exciting golf experiences and offers locations almost everywhere.
Best for: Small- or large-scale client entertainment and meetings
Monster truck rallies
Does a monster truck rally count as a sporting event? Maybe not to everyone—but to some, this intense motorsport is serious business. True, the screech of metal crushing can drown out conversation, but for pure entertainment value, it’s a great option. (You can talk shop at dinner afterwards.) Monster Jam is the premiere host of truck rallies across the country, hitting major cities like San Diego, Detroit, and Indianapolis. But there’s really no place bigger and grander place to watch than Las Vegas, home of everything bigger and grander.
Best for: At a max ticket price of under $100 per person, this is great for a budget, super-casual client outing.
Something about basking in the glow of the amazing athletes inspires us all to level up. So instead of taking clients to a live event, consider hosting a meeting at a sports museum. There are some stunning venues across the country, like Atlanta’s College Football Hall of Fame or the Pro Football Hall of Fame near Cincinnati. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame offers a great space that’s central to Boston and New York clients. Or if you’re planning an event in Toronto, consider hosting it at the Hockey Hall of Fame—but be sure to brush up on your hockey knowledge!
Best for: Large client events and conferences
Car racing is a passionate pastime in some parts of the U.S. So depending on where you are, planning a B2B event at the speedway is a natural choice. Thrillist shares some of the best race tracks in the country to do that. But if you’re hoping to impress a very important client, maybe shift gears and treat them to a luxury-car racing experience like Xtreme Xperience, with a permanent location in New Orleans. Or check out the Richard Petty Driving Experience, which allows guests to drive a real NASCAR race car around one of 16 shiny speedways across the country, great for planning similar events from Miami to Phoenix to Charlotte.
Best for: High-end entertainment for select VIPs
The camaraderie of sports is a great catalyst for business partnerships. So when planning your next B2B marketing event, consider a sports outing—perhaps of a different ilk. And don’t forget, etiquette is important—even in a raucous environment—so get solid on your ground rules before heading out.