The SportBox Entertainment Group rolled through Halifax on Tuesday with this announcement about a celebration of all things golf in Canada to be held around Canada Day this year and beyond.
Don’t expect that to be the last announcement from SportBox as chief executive officer Danny Fritz says the company will maintain its momentum with what appears to be another monster announcement in just a few weeks.
The deal isn’t done yet, so Fritz understandably can’t get into details, but he says it will involve a major player in golf. That could involve anything from golf academies or a new event as the company branches out in several directions.
Whatever the coming announcement is, it will continue a roll that began early last year when Fritz left IMG and joined forces with Saskatoon businessman David Dube to form SportBox.
Last July, SportBox acquired the golf assets of the Landmark Sport Group run by Elliott Kerr and in doing so, began representing players such as Graham DeLaet, David Hearn and Adam Hadwin.
Fritz’s good relationship with IMG also allowed him to work jointly with that company for Mike Weir and Matt Hill, who are now full clients of SportBox. Those are just a few of the players represented by SportBox, but player representation wasn’t the company’s sole focus.
“We wanted to be the go-to agency when it came to golf,” said Fritz.
“For us, the talent space was essentially the start to growing our business and adding verticals to the SportBox family. The next natural move was to the event space, just seeing the gap for building an event that had some Canadian pride behind it,” he said.
“We all remember what World Cup used to be. It used to be the Canada Cup. Now, we have so many talented tour players that are representing our country and the timing was right to have an exhibition type of match and have Graham and David and Weirsy play together and compete against some of the top players in the world,” said Fritz.
“It was easier to get done because we were representing them, but it adds to our business. It complements our tour players, it complements Mike, Graham and David and it also supports the next generation of guys coming through the SportBox family and providing them with the opportunity to play in a WebDotCom event here in Canada,” he added.
The Halifax event will go for a minimum of two years, but Fritz expects it will carry on much longer in the area.
“The plan is to keep this in the region for a very long time based on the response from the mayor, just a lot of the stakeholders. This is something proprietary that Halifax can call its own,” he said, adding the event could have a $4-million economic impact and tourism benefits through broadcasts to countries around the world on the Golf Channel.
So, the Halifax event will carry SportBox into the event “space,” as Fritz likes to call it. Depending on what it is, the announcement coming in a few weeks may carry the company into yet another space and player representation is already established.
“In business, when you’ve got momentum, you’ve just got to keep going,” said Fritz.
“For us, it’s not about going into every space, but it’s about looking at the opportunities where there are gaps, offering something different based on our experience in golf and selling it as a lifestyle rather than just a sport,” he said.
“We have some good momentum. We have a lot of good team members of the SportBox team. We’ve got eight staff members working out of Toronto and then, we’ve got our team in Saskatoon and in Halifax,” he added.
“We’re going to keep going and obviously, put the right people in place to manage what we bring on.” said Fritz.
One of the latest additions to SportBox is Grant MacDonald, the agency’s director of tourism, public sector and federation partnerships.
Headquartered in Halifax, MacDonald will oversee the GOLFest property. MacDonald has worked on attracting and planning for several international events, including the 2008 IIHF World Championships in Halifax.
“He is sort of the go-to person when it comes to major sporting events in Atlantic Canada,” said Fritz.
“For us, there are a lot of government relationships here. There are a lot of stakeholders on the ground. It’s national, but it’s a regional property. We didn’t want someone based out of Toronto that was unfamiliar with the territory and stakeholders,’ he added.
“Hopefully, onward and upward,” said Fritz, who suddenly seems to have his company on the fast track in that direction.