Following its inaugural event at iceSheffield in 2019, the Steel City Trophy synchronized skating competition is set to break entry records with its second competition.
In March 2019, 33 teams of up to 20 skaters arrived in Sheffield to compete in what was to be described as ‘the best competition of the season’ by teams and judges alike. Organised by amateur sports club the Sheffield Synchronized Skating Academy, the competition was such a success that the sport’s worldwide body, the International Skating Union (ISU) has included it on its official worldwide calendar for the new season! Entries for the Steel City Trophy 2020 are now open, with the competition confirmed over three days from 7 to 9 March.
Head Coach Amanda Hembrow-Jones explains more, including what this means for the club and how skating teams, companies and spectators can get involved.
“Sheffield is ideal”
“When we launched the Steel City Trophy last year, we really didn’t know what the reaction would be, both in the UK and from around the world,” explains Amanda. “We were delighted when teams from Norway and Italy travelled over to take part, as well as synchronized skating teams from Scotland, Wales and England – and overjoyed that they all loved it.
“The iceSheffield Ice Arena is ideal for hosting competitions of this size, as it has excellent amenities, Olympic sized ice pads, lots of changing rooms; we even had the use of the facilities at the English Institute of Sport next door, thanks to SIV’s support.
“The 2019 competition ran extremely smoothly, thanks to careful planning from a team of parent volunteers, and the feedback was phenomenal! This meant we were able to secure the services of the judges and technical panel straight away for the 2020 competition, as they couldn’t wait to do it all over again.
Gaining ISU recognition
“Our colleagues at British Ice Skating put the Steel City Trophy forward to be listed on the worldwide ISU calendar at the end of the season, but we didn’t believe it would be included; many other competitions have been running for years without official international recognition. So it was a complete shock when we were notified that we are now an official ISU competition!
“It’s great timing too, as the World Junior Synchro Championships will be held in Nottingham, UK in 2020 – the week after the Steel City Trophy. As we’re only 45 minutes away, that means Junior teams could enter the Sheffield competition on 7-9 March, then use the ice in Sheffield to practice all week before they compete at Worlds.”
Helping with costs
Putting on a world-class event is not an easy challenge, nor does it come without significant expense. The club was lucky enough to secure sponsorship from a few local companies in 2019, which helped enormously - but the majority of costs were covered by the fundraising efforts of the 50+ team members within Sheffield Synchronized Skating Academy.
“The inclusion of the Steel City Trophy on the ISU calendar means a bigger presence on the world stage,” explains Amanda. “We’ve already received significant interest from teams around the world, as well as our first few entries already, from clubs in Sweden and Italy. UK teams who couldn’t make it last time have also confirmed their attendance, along with those returning from 2019, so we’re set for record numbers and have already booked ice for three days instead of two.
“This means not only an increase in entry fee revenue, but also the opportunity to encourage more spectators to attend, and more companies to get on board with sponsoring the competition. It’s the ideal platform for businesses of all types to align themselves with a sporting event, promoting a healthy lifestyle whilst showcasing their brand to the world through our live stream and subsequent video replays on YouTube.
“Analytics show the 2019 Steel City Trophy has received over 7,000 views at an average view time of 15 minutes each, with 3,000 unique users in 365 different locations across 25 countries worldwide. With an additional day of competition, and more teams entering from around the world, this will only increase in 2020 – so it’s a perfect marketing opportunity for forward- thinking companies.
Amanda concludes: “Spectator tickets will also be available to purchase online, with family tickets available. Synchronized skating is a wonderful sport to watch, as skaters move around the ice performing difficult moves in harmony. We hope the people of Sheffield will come and support the competition, as well as supporters of the skating teams attending from around the world!”
More information about the Steel City Trophy can be found on the SSSA website here or by following the Steel City Trophy page on Facebook – Like the page to stay updated with the latest news and to find out when tickets go on sale.