Topsport Amsterdam provides a platform to develop for top athletes and talents in Amsterdam. The public-private foundation has built up a business network that enables the organisation to realise its mission. In addition, Topsport Amsterdam organises the Amsterdam Sports Gala in December, where the Sportsman, Sportswoman, Sports Team, Coach and Talent are elected. Frank van Rooijen, commercial manager, explains how Topsport Amsterdam uses business events and its relations to expand the network and realise the sporting ambitions of the Dutch capital.
Distinctive about the Topsport Amsterdam BusinessClub is the way in which members can get into contact with Olympic athletes. The athletes are happy to share their highs and lows, and tell interesting and inspiring stories about their sports career. How do they prepare, how do they cope with setbacks, and how do they create the right conditions to win everything? Imagine an inspiring session that revolves around an Olympic athlete at a location hidden from the crowd: that is Topsport Amsterdam.
Business events at service of sports
Van Rooijen: “Anyone who is affiliated with our business network pays for it and thus contributes to the development of talent in Amsterdam. In return, we organise events and meetings six times a year for members to meet each other, and we present and profile ourselves as an organisation. These events enable us to be of value to our network.”
The Topsport Amsterdam events enable the organisation to support top athletes and talents. “The events are at service of our network. And in turn, our business network is at service of the athletes. This way we can, thanks to our business network, contribute to the talent development of Amsterdam athletes. Events therefore play a crucial role in achieving our goals.”
Value to the network
For the members of the BusinessClub, Topsport Amsterdam organises business speed dates, knowledge and inspiration sessions, the annual GolfClassic and visits sports events in the capital – such as Jumping Amsterdam, Pro League Hockey, World Ice Skating or European Volleyball Championships. “Such a sports event is an experience that connects: how often do you get to watch the World Cup skating in the Olympic Stadium?”
To be of value to the network, the employees of Topsport Amsterdam try to connect members of the network. “We are essentially an intermediary. That is our added value. We are actively involved: who might be useful to whom? You would like to see your investment in the network generate business in return. Therefore we want business matches to emerge in our network. We are currently thinking about the implementation of an app that makes the contact in the network more scalable, so it is immediately clear who is the contact person at which company.”
Collaborations to expand the network
Topsport Amsterdam is looking for ways to further expand the business network. Thanks to a recent collaboration with De Persgroep [publisher of several Dutch newspapers] a cross-fertilisation is possible. “Last May, we organised a business meeting with ‘Storytelling’ as the main theme. Ronald Ockhuysen, editor-in-chief of Het Parool [Dutch newspaper], and Jesper Jobse, basketball player on his way to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, shared their story. How do I generate attention for a newspaper and for a sporting ambition and passion? At such moments, we can connect their network of advertisers and partners with that of our BusinessClub members.”
Topsport Amsterdam also uses its own network and organisation to increase the number of relations. “We don’t really believe in cold acquisition. That is why members of our BusinessClub can bring two to four guests to our events. We urge our members to ‘not bringing colleagues only, but clients as well’. It kills two birds with one stone: the client has a nice evening and we expand our network.”
Momice helps maintaining and expanding the network
Van Rooijen remembers that invitations for events were still sent out by post 15 years ago. “Back then, we shared a return fax, so we could document the names of the attendees. Then we switched to email and Excel. We now have been using Momice for more than five years. Thanks to the event registration and invitations, you get in contact with your target audience easily.”
Van Rooijen: “You’re crazy if you are still working with Excel. You can provide your invitees and attendees with information, thanks to the Momice tool. I use it to manage the contact with the target audience. This creates room for other things, like maintaining and expanding the network.”
Events help Topsport Amsterdam in maintaining and expanding the business network, which also facilitates the organisation’s objectives. In addition, it makes smart use of the network and relations to expand the own network. Momice helps Topsport Amsterdam to maintain and expand the network easily.