Creating a Great American Sports Festival

By Paul Grossinger

I'm on my way to South by Southwest (SXSW); otherwise known as the world's largest geek tech festival.  SXSW is one giant party, Texas-style – with brand new gadgets and Star Wars helmets thrown into the mix.

Plane ride boredom on the way got me thinking: what would a "Great American Sports Festival" look like?  A festival that was to sports fans what SXSW is to geeks and techies – an annual Mecca.

First, I thought, 'well, we already have a great American sports festival.  It's called the Super Bowl.'  No disrespect to Major League Baseball's World Series or the NBA Finals but football is America's pastime and the Super Bowl is the country's quintessential sports moment every year; watched by over 100M people.

But, the Super Bowl is still about just one sport.  And it's one game, one day – not a week of exciting festivities.  The Olympic Games, the other potential existing candidate, don't work either: they only come every four years and are global.  This would be an all-encompassing, annual, Pax Americana event.
So, what would it look like if American fans of all sports, from the NFL to NASCAR to UFC, gathered in one place, for one week – simply to revel in the collective pleasure of being a sports fan?

It would be...pretty darn awesome.

Where would it be held?  Austin might be a viable candidate – after all, sports are larger than life and everything is bigger in Texas.  What about New York - the Big Apple and sports' eternal shrine to winning?  Perhaps Chicago – the center of the heartland and the epitome of sports loyalty?
When would it happen?  Well, it would definitely have to be an early spring event.  Spring is a convenient dead zone in the American sports calendar, stuck smack in-between the Super Bowl and March Madness.  Of course, that might answer our previous question: if it's going to happen in March, it has to be a warm weather venue, right?

And, what would happen?  As creator, I'd have my heart set on exhibition games for every sport. Perhaps there would be a sports tech center, where luminaries highlight new developments in sports technology and analysis?  That would have every hardcore fantasy sports fan stoked.  And, of course, there would have to be exciting, massive tailgating parties.

So, now the idea is out there!  Who will bring it to fruition?

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