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We are excited to unveil our first-ever SPX Academy @ 2023 Grey Cup Festival Hamilton! 

We aim to provide you with a full-on SponsorshipX engagement in a sixteen-hour window. The SPX Academy @ Grey Cup Festival 2023 is affordable, educational, and memorable. Along with our partners at the Grey Cup Festival, we will jam, not jelly, all of our magic into a one-day experience. 

Here is how it is going to work. 

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The first part of the day is at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, the site of the 110th Grey Cup. Remember that the SPX Academy is on Saturday, November 18, 2023 - the day before Grey Cup. After registering, you can take a stadium tour, enjoy a hearty breakfast, talk to innovative partners in the Xperience Zone, or network. Get ready for a few surprises!

Most of our formal sessions - keynotes, workshops, classrooms, seminars and behind-the-scenes classes - are in rooms and venues throughout Tim Hortons Field. Amongst the backdrop of wicked Grey Cup branding, You will learn, be inspired, and think differently. The SPX Academy content is curated to accelerate your professional development as a marketer. 

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Mid-afternoon, the scene shifts to Downtown Hamilton. The first stop will be the Grey Cup Street Festival, where the activations and activity will be at a fever pitch. We will break into units and tour several sites, where Festival corporate partners will hold "tent-side" chats to explain their strategies and creativity. It sounds like Xperiential learning to us! 

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To close out the day, you will attend the SPX Team Dinner, where we will celebrate a great day of learning and connecting. You have heard that the food scene in Hamilton is one of the fastest developing anywhere, and now you will get a chance to savour it firsthand. 

So there you have it.

It will be an intensely fun and worthwhile day. It is the first time we have done a one-day SPX Academy, and we are excited for your feedback. We will have more information regarding transportation recommendations, options to buy Grey Cup event tickets and other vital information over the next few weeks, so join our mailing list - to receive our newsletter or follow us.

Your first step besides enrolling? Get in SponsorshipX shape!

Revisit SponsorshipX Montreal

Grow Your Game!

Be Informed. Build Your Skills

It is time to get your thinking hat on again after three years of pivoting, transforming, and dealing with supply chain issues and staffing shortages. After learning and unlearning participant safety protocols until you thought it would never end, we are all ready for a reset. 

Finally, you can exhale and spend some time studying your craft. An opportunity to hear the latest trends, dive deep into best-in-class case studies, and debate with your peers what works and what does not.

Session Types

Session Types

C-Suite Keynotes

These sessions, delivered by changemakers, c-level executives, and collaborators, occur on our two main stages in theatre-style rooms in the Caretakers Club and the City Lounge. Expect big thinking and big ideas explored in new and engaging ways. 

Activation Zone

Time to hit pay dirt in the SponsorshipX Activation Zone featuring our leading-edge partners who will help make your next campaign a winner. The Zone is not a trade show; no ten-by-ten booths here; this is a chance for you to be entertained and educated!


Time to go back to school is your chance to roll up your sleeves and dive deeply into a particular subject or topic. In small, intimate groups, these sessions occur in Club Rooms 1, 2, 4 and 5 and are curated to provide the professional development you need to help advance your career. 

Festival Xperiences

SponsorshipX will show, not just tell, from the stadium to the city center, through hands-on experiences held at various locations across the Grey Cup Festival site. Brand and property stakeholders will provide insights on stadium tours, behind-the-scenes production, and brand activation tours. Enjoy your opportunity to see the festival in action.


Session Types

Mind Games

The personal development race is on between you and ChatGPT? Or is it? The Mind Games track, filled with hands-on training sessions, allows you to build your competency and capacity.  

The Scoreboard

The truth hurts. But we can’t live without it. The Scoreboard will share the stats, latest data, analytical tools, and landscape information to inform your next campaign.  

Scouting Report

What is next, what is now, what is new, and how it is all utilized. More than just trends, the Scouting Report is going to help you understand the innovations you want to be leveraging today.  

Brand Fans 

At the end of the day, every brand is after the same thing. More fans. More high-value customers, consumers, and clients. Case studies from B2B, B2C, and B2B2C examples will illustrate achieving record numbers of Brand Fans.


A BIG thanks to all of you who attended the SPX Academy in the Hammer!​

I still need your energy, vibe, and eagerness to learn. Boy, was that fun. You made this event what it was. ​

I also want to give a massive shoutout of appreciation and gratitude to our friends at the Hamilton Sports Group and Grey Cup Festival team for your unbelievable collaboration and support throughout the process.​

Kudos to the Montreal Alouettes for a well-deserved Grey Cup victory! La Coupe Grey is yours.​


SPX Academy Instructors



Demore Barnes

Novus Global, Associate Partner

Rosanna Tomiuk

Novus Global, Executive Coach

Mindset Matters: Achieving Impossible Breakthroughs at Work

Do you consider yourself a high performer who identifies with feeling stuck, disengaged, or dare we say “bored” at times with work? Join Demore Barnes and Rosanna Tomiuk of Novus Global — an elite coaching firm that works with executives, leaders, athletes and their teams — in a workshop where you will learn how to make your mindset your greatest ally to achieving fulfilling success. In this dynamic workshop, you will receive practical insights and learn how to identify a thrilling and compelling vision for your work that goes beyond the daily monotony and high performance. 

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Joanne Battaglia    

FirstOntario Credit Union, SVP Marketing, Communications and Community Partnerships

The Transformative Power of Partnerships

FirstOntario Credit Union has a longstanding tradition of bringing people and organizations together to benefit and make a difference in communities. Through establishing innovative partnerships that leverage organizations' expertise and shared core values, FirstOntario consistently develops initiatives that leave a lasting social and community impact. Join Joanne Battaglia, SVP Marketing, Communications and Community Partnerships at FirstOntario Credit Union, for an enlightening session that explores the transformative power of partnerships in creating lasting change within communities. Be inspired as you hear about the positive difference FirstOntario and its partners, such as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, are making by working together toward a common goal. Don't miss this valuable opportunity to discover the remarkable power of partnerships and their potential to create meaningful and enduring change in communities. Learn how you, too, can contribute to making a positive impact by strengthening the fabric of communities.

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Mark Harrison

Founder, SponsorshipX

The Hustler's Journey: Unleashing the Marketer Within

Get ready for a transformational experience as Mark Harrison, Founder, SponsorshipX, takes the stage at SPX Academy 2023 to deliver his edgy and inspiring keynote, ""The Hustler's Journey."" Building upon the foundation of his in-demand keynote, ""The Entrepreneur in You,"" Mark is here to dive deeper into the world of personal development, growth mindset, advancement, capacity building, motivation, and sheer determination – all tailored specifically for marketers.

In a world where entrepreneurship is on the rise, with more freelancers, gig workers, and entrepreneurs emerging every day, the role of marketers is evolving. Mark, a true entrepreneurism enthusiast, will guide you on an exhilarating journey to uncover the hidden potential within every marketer.

Mark's keynote will explore how the principles of entrepreneurial success can be harnessed by marketers to excel in their dynamic field. He'll reveal the secret formula for marketers to thrive in an ever-changing landscape, emphasizing the crucial skills needed for success. Marketers will gain insights into how to ignite their entrepreneurial spirit within their marketing endeavours.

Prepare to be inspired and motivated as Mark shares his wisdom on navigating the marketing world with the mindset of a hustler. Whether you're an established marketing professional or just starting your journey in this exciting field, this keynote will equip you with the tools, motivation, and strategies needed to become a true marketing hustler.


Join us at SPX Academy 2023 for ""The Hustler's Journey,"" and unlock your potential as a marketer, ready to thrive in the fast-paced world of marketing innovation and growth. Mark will empower you to rise to the challenge and embrace your inner marketing hustler. Don't miss this opportunity to transform your marketing career – your journey begins here.

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Carolyn Shaw,

Humanity, President and Chief Creative Officer

Ryan Hughes

Humanity, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Client Success

Sponsorship and the human pursuit of wellbeing

For as long as humans have been on this earth, we have been motivated by the pursuit of wellbeing. Though it has looked different throughout history, the inherent desire to live a life with less tension has moved humanity through every era of history. Join Carolyn Shaw, President and Chief Creative Officer, and Ryan Hughes, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Client Success, from Humanity for a discussion on how sponsorship can drive this pursuit of wellbeing. In this interactive workshop, you’ll learn the basics of a behavioural science-based approach to sponsorship and how to leverage this understanding to create best-in-class activations.

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Yoeri Geerits

YouGov, Senior Consultant

The Rise of Data in Sports: Unveiling Fan Affinity

Data is becoming much more important, given the rapidly changing landscape of sports, media consumption and interests. Three-quarters of adults around the globe follow at least one sport, which means gathering for a sporting event is—for many—a chance to come together around a shared interest and feel like part of a community. Using this core insight, Yoeri Geerits, Partner and Senior Consultant, YouGov Canada will present the latest findings from a study around fan affinity in different sports, and how this information can be leveraged by sponsors and properties. He will also show how interest levels in sports are changing with immigration accelerating in Canada and how it can affect how brands and rights holders will communicate with their future fans and clients.

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Ryan Grippo

MLSE, Partnership Commercial Strategy & Operations

Mike Miura

MLSE, Manager, Commercial Marketing Strategy

From Insights to Fan Engagement: Generating Big Ideas

In today’s fast-paced world, the ability to generate big ideas quickly has become a valuable skill. But coming up with a big idea in a short period of time can be a daunting task. Take the example of Ryan Grippo and Mike Miura from MLSE, who won gold at the 2023 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in the Young Lions Marketing Competition. Given only 24 hours to respond to a brief, they managed to conceive their idea within a mere eight hours and spent the next fifteen hours developing a presentation that won the competition. 
Now, you can join Ryan and Mike for an interactive workshop that focuses on generating big ideas quickly. Delve into the significance of problem-solving, the art of uncovering insights, identifying opportunities, and expanding your ideas to make them even more engaging. Come away from this workshop with new strategies and techniques to help unleash your creativity and generate impactful ideas in record time.

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Beverley Hammond

Broken Heart Love Affair & Lifelong Crush, Chief Business Officer

Kristy Pleckaitis

Broken Heart Love Affair, Senior Vice President, Strategy

Create Love. Not Ads.

In this data-driven and digital world, efficiency has become the name of the game for marketers. We obsess over making advertising cheaper and faster, and then even cheaper; micro-targeting until we get so small, we disappear from the hearts of consumers and lose the ability to make people care. Join Beverley Hammond, Partner & Chief Business Officer, and Kristy Pleckaitis, Senior Vice President of Strategy, from award-winning creative agency Broken Heart Love Affair, for a talk on how they are bringing the love back to advertising. In this session, you will learn about the importance forming emotional connections over clicks, and ultimately making people fall in love with your brand.

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Hugh Lawson

Former EHN Canada, Head Of Business Development

Elevate Your Negotiation Game by Harnessing Facts and Trends

Are you curious about what the future holds for sponsorship negotiation and how you can position yourself for it? Join Hugh Lawson, EHN Canada's Head of Business Development, in an engaging workshop focused on proactive preparation for the evolving landscape of sponsorship negotiation. Gain insights from Hugh about the importance of fostering urgency by examining factual data and upcoming trends. Explore the concept of "Rational Drowning" to enhance your negotiation strategies by reframing perspectives and problem-solving approaches. Take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen your skills and readiness for the changing dynamics of sponsorship negotiation.

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Nathan Lindberg

Former SuperAwesome (Epic Games)    Global Commercial Lead, Gaming

Navigating the Metaverse & Gaming: Sponsorship in the Virtual World

The virtual world is undeniably captivating. It represents a continuously expanding space that offers unprecedented opportunities for businesses to connect with audiences in ways that were previously confined to the imagination. Sponsorship within the virtual world has quickly become an effective way for brands and properties to amplify their visibility and engage with broader audiences. Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, stands out as a trailblazer in this virtual space. Over the past few years, Epic Games has pioneered collaborations to create extraordinary digital experiences.  Join Nathan Lindberg, former Global Commercial Lead, Gaming at SuperAwesome — a kids' tech platform owned by Epic Games — to gain insights into effectively managing sponsorships in both the metaverse and the realm of gaming. Gain insights into how Roblox, Fortnite, Visa, the NFL, and others are establishing partnerships within virtual ecosystems, discover the reasons behind the fascination of millennials, Gen Z, and Gen Alpha within these domains, and get ready to participate in finding new ways to navigate sponsorship and engage audiences in the ever-expanding virtual world.

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Jessica Liut, Baffin, Director, Brand


Mitch Sharma, TD, Senior Manager, Sport Sponsorships

Natalie McGlynn, Purolator Inc, Manager, Events and Sponsorship Marketing

Unleashing the Power of Brand Fans 

At the end of the day, every brand is after the same thing. More fans. But what exactly can fans do for your brand that customers can't? And how do you cultivate deep connections and loyalty toward your brand by attracting passionate advocates? Join CFL league and team sponsors Jessica Liut, Director, Brand, Baffin, Mitch Sharma, Senior Manager - Sport Sponsorships, TD, and Natalie McGlynn, Manager, Event and Sponsorship Marketing, Purolator alongside Mark Harrison, Founder, SponsorshipX for an informative tutorial on the art of cultivating brand fans. In this session, Jessica, Mitch and Natalie will showcase real-world partnership examples to illustrate how to nurture a devoted fan base. They will uncover the extraordinary power of fans and their capacity to propel your brand to new heights. Explore the distinctive advantages that fans bring to your brand and learn how to nurture and grow authentic connections that go beyond traditional customer relationships.

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Steve Levy

COO, Ipsos Canada

Present Like a Pro: Tips and Tricks for Better Presentations 

If you’re looking to up your presentation game, this workshop is for you. Join Steve Levy, of Ipsos Canada and SparkVisionComs to learn some tangible tips, tricks, and techniques to help you take your presentations to the next level. Steve will cover the key elements of effective communication, the importance of knowing your audience, the basics of body language and voice, and how to use visuals to your advantage.  “Public speaking is a fear for many and there are NO naturals” is part of Steve’s mantra with a view that even the best speakers are heavily coached, rehearsed, and more. 

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Jamie McCormick

Account Executive, The GIST

Building Authentic Connections with Brand Advocates

Brands can achieve remarkable outcomes, including increased brand loyalty, trust, reputation, and ROI, by developing genuine and meaningful relationships with passionate customers and fans. But how can you authentically cultivate a community of brand advocates and leverage sponsorship to achieve remarkable outcomes? The GIST, a fan-first sports media brand, has mastered this art by disrupting the male-dominated sports industry and appealing to sports fans who don’t fit (or maybe don’t want to fit) the traditional avid sports fan mold. Join Jamie McCormick, Account Executive at The GIST, in an engaging workshop that explores the strategies for building authentic connections with brand advocates. Discover innovative ways to reach and engage with new fans, and learn how to effectively incorporate sponsorship into your approach. Gain valuable insights from compelling case studies featuring The GIST's successful partnerships with FanDuel, the NBA, and Topps, and discover how to shape (or reshape) your approach to cultivating brand advocacy. By the end of this workshop, you will have a solid understanding and practical application of the difference between reaching an audience and truly connecting with that audience to build genuine relationships with brand advocates.

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Norm O'Reilly

Dean, Graduate School of Business, University of Maine
Partner, The T1 Agency

Official Release: 17th Annual Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study

Since 2006, the Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study (CSLS) has become the standard and the go-to resource for Canadian sponsorship industry information. Now in its 17th annual edition, the bilingual study captures the latest findings from the 2022 sponsorship year and forecasts 2023 and beyond. Join the study’s lead author, Norm O’Reilly, Dean, Graduate School of Business, University of Maine & Partner at T1 as he presents its results and summarizes the reality and trends facing brands, properties, and agencies. This year’s study will deep dive into the skills that sponsorship professionals need, and the value that agencies can provide to their brand clients. Learn why this year’s results show some important shifts in the industry and elevate your sponsorship game by having the latest trends at your fingertips.  

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Tali Remennik

 CEO & Co-Founder, Granularity

Trendspotting: Maximizing Sponsorship Success in a Rapidly Changing Landscape

Curious about predicting upcoming trends and effectively responding to them, even those that pop up overnight from platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube? Although these trends may begin as subtle shifts in behaviours or attitudes, they can escalate into significant changes in consumer preferences. To navigate this evolving landscape, sponsorship marketers must stay well-informed, remain adaptable, and seize the available opportunities. So, what actionable steps can you take to harness the power of trends? Join Tali Remennik, CEO & Co-Founder of Granularity, for a classroom-style session to delve into comprehending how to effectively utilize trends in both the short and long term. Learn the art of pinpointing trends through data-driven insights instead of relying on guesswork, uncover strategies to refine your sponsorship approach based on these trends, and learn how to leverage trends to stay relevant, generate impact, and drive results.

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Jill Schnarr

TELUS, Chief Social Innovation, Communications & Brand Officer

Driving Change and Making a Difference: Embracing a Purpose-Driven Business Model

For today's companies, social purpose is no longer optional; it's a license to operate. Simply put, businesses need to be able to show how they are bettering the world. As a recognized leader in social capitalism, TELUS is committed to leveraging its technology and compassion to drive social change and help make the world a better place. Join Jill Schnarr, Chief Social Innovation, Communications and Brand Officer at TELUS, in a keynote presentation on the power of embracing a purpose-driven business model. Discover how TELUS has been making a difference in communities for over two decades. Explore the significant role partnerships play in giving back and learn about the strategic and economic advantages of leading with purpose. Don't miss this inspiring opportunity to learn how you too can embrace a purpose-driven business model and contribute to making the world a better place.

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Alicia Taggio

Director, Customer Success Tradable Bits

Unlocking the Power of Data for Sponsorship Success

Data is one of the biggest buzzwords of today's business world, yet marketers rarely utilize it effectively.  If you're ready to disrupt the industry and innovate when it comes to engaging, capturing and utilizing data in more effective ways, then this is the workshop for you. Join Alicia Taggio, Director of Customer Success at Tradable Bits, for an interactive session that will equip you with the necessary skills to convert your social data into valuable first-party data, capturing it in more engaging ways and activating it in a timely manner. Alicia will also share case studies from the sports, music, and entertainment industries, giving you a deeper understanding of what works and what doesn't. Take advantage of this opportunity to transform your approach and harness the power of data to propel your next sponsorship initiative toward success.

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Saturday, November 18, 2023