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Partner profile | Edmonton: Where women’s sports take centre stage

Major events have helped put Edmonton on the sporting map. Now, with the Volleyball World Pro Beach Tour and Fiba 3×3 Series on the horizon, the Canadian city is working to cement its status as a world-renowned host.

28 March 2023 Explore Edmonton

BlackHawk Aeronautical

It’s no secret that Edmonton is a city that centres itself around sports.

The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Edmonton Oilers cemented the city’s sports reputation with their 1980s dynasty status, birthing the tagline “City of Champions” that is still used to describe Edmonton today. The legacy of the Oilers’ Stanley Cup wins lives on and not just through the current team of hockey stars including Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Enter Edmonton’s ICE District, Canada’s largest mixed-use and entertainment district, located in downtown Edmonton. The ICE District is home to an array of premium office spaces, high-end residences, a luxury hotel, boutique shops and restaurants, all anchored by Rogers Place, a state-of-the-art sport and entertainment facility, and home to the Oilers.

Space in the district is not just reserved for hockey, but for a multitude of activities. The ICE District Plaza contains 50,000 sq. ft. of space to host markets, festivals, concerts, and other large gatherings. It’s also home to the brand-new Fan Park, which is a multi-use space that hosts year-round events and community programming. The ICE District is Edmonton’s one-stop location for sport-hosting and entertainment.

The ICE District Plaza is the new town square of downtown Edmonton (Source: ICE District)

2023 summer sports to heat up the ICE District

Summer 2023 will have the district activated in ways never before seen, bringing a new wave of sporting events to the centre of the city. Two major events are set to take place in the ICE District Plaza and Fan Park this summer – the 2023 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour and the 2023 Fiba 3×3 World Tour & Fiba 3×3 Women’s Series.

The Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour is scheduled to arrive in Edmonton’s ICE District from 20th to 23rd July. The Beach Pro Tour is the annual global circuit featuring the best 24 teams in the world competing for millions in prize money and world ranking points. With three levels of events and the finals culminating at the end of the season, the tour travels throughout the year and across the globe in stunning locations and iconic cities.

Edmonton has previously staged 3×3 events in 208, 2019 and 2022

The following weekend, the 2023 Fiba 3×3 World Tour will take place in the ICE District Plaza and Fan Park. After staging tremendously successful Fiba 3×3 Challenger events in 2018, 2019 and 2022, Edmonton has been named an exclusive Canadian host of the 3×3 Fiba World Tour, the flagship competition of the Fiba 3×3 professional season, for the next three years. Twelve of the best men’s teams from around the globe will compete for valuable Olympic qualifying points for their nations when the Fiba 3×3 World Tour makes its Edmonton debut.

Both events will take place in conjunction with Taste of Edmonton, Canada’s largest food festival and free outdoor concert series with dishes from over 50 locally owned restaurants and world-class performances – the perfect way to complement the events’ festival-like atmospheres.

A celebration of women’s sports

The Volleyball World Pro Beach Tour and Fiba 3×3 Series both contain women-dominating components that are sure to inspire. The city’s destination management and marketing organisation, Explore Edmonton, takes great pride in being able to shine a spotlight on women sports. This also falls within its event-hosting strategy of ensuring events are diverse and leave behind a legacy.

“The Fiba 3×3 tournament culminates around the Women’s Series Final, the perfect testament to Edmonton’s rich history of international women’s basketball,” says Janelle Janis, executive director of events and business development with Explore Edmonton.

The Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour will arrive in Edmonton in July (Source: Volleyball World)

Edmonton has served as a training home of the Canadian senior women’s national team since 2013. Hometown heroes Katherine Plouffe and Michell Plouffe will lead the number one-ranked Canadian team into action at the 2023 Fiba 3×3 Women’s Series, which features the top women’s national teams also vying for Paris 2024 Olympic berths.

On top of this, the Volleyball Beach Pro Tour will welcome Team Canada’s outstanding women’s team. Both women’s teams – Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes and Bansley and Brandei Wilkerson – qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and were quarterfinalists.

In a male-dominated sports industry, Edmonton looks forward to amplifying the dialogue around women’s sports in the fight to provide equal resources and coverage to women’s and men’s sports.

Edmonton has the infrastructure and passion to host successful and inclusive major sporting events and will continue to leverage its unique multi-sport venues, like the ICE District, to bring many more world-renowned events in the years to come.

This feature forms part of SportsPro’s Live Events Week, a week of coverage exploring how promoters and host destinations are bringing events to life, as well as how venue operators and their suppliers are navigating newfound economic pressures. Click here to access more exclusive content and sign up to the SportsPro Daily newsletter here to receive daily insights direct to your inbox.

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