All together now: the parade of athletes at a previous Corporate Games. The Bermuda Games are scheduled for October 25 to 28. *Photo supplied
All together now: the parade of athletes at a previous Corporate Games. The Bermuda Games are scheduled for October 25 to 28. *Photo supplied

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8: Promoters promise the Bermuda Corporate Games will be the largest sporting festival held in Bermuda.

The Corporate Games, which is scheduled for October 25 to 28, can be used as a way for businesses to network and reach new clients.

The Bermuda Corporate Games is the inaugural event for the Atlantic region which includes the east coast of Canada and the US and the Caribbean.

Charmaine Burgess, spokesperson for the Bermuda Corporate Games, said: “It’s for the every day athlete. We are literally expecting thousands of people to come internationally, as well as locally and from all sizes of business.”

Unparalleled

She said the Games will promote loyalty and camaraderie within companies as well as “increased productivity and unparalleled networking opportunities because we are going to be attracting some of the Fortune 500 companies to partake in the Games.”

The Corporate Games have taken part all across the globe with competitions in 25 countries across five continents with over 1,000,000 people taking part.

She added the Corporate Village will be set up on Front Street with an opening Grand Parade of the Athletes.

Suzie Pewter, president of the Whitfield Group, is no stranger to a Games competition having helped organize the inaugural Masters Games with Ken O’Bryan and Dr Maureen Johnston in Toronto in 1985 which had over 8,900 athletes take part from 63 countries.

“It supported the city of Toronto to the tune of $41 million.”

After that, she came to Bermuda on the invitation of former Bermuda Olympic association founder WF ‘Chummy’ Hayward.

Dr Johnston and Mr O’Bryan went on to found the Corporate Games and staged the first one in 1988 in California.

At a 25-year reunion for the Masters Games, Ms Pewter said she sat next to the pair to hear more about the Corporate games.

“They explained to me it was about a Corporate opportunity to build morale and team spirit within a company or an organization or a club. When I heard that I thought this would be ideal for Bermuda at this point and time in history because Bermuda hurting a little bit about developing new business opportunities to the island.

Commodity

“If we can bring the Corporate Games to Bermuda, that’s a brilliant subliminal sell to corporations to learn about Bermuda, to learn about our offshore domicile, its infrastructure, its banking, its insurance and reinsurance and capital market industries and introduce Bermuda to those 1,000,000 we have in our database.”

Ms Pewter said sport and business go hand-in-hand in Bermuda.

“That’s what we are. We don’t have any other commodity because we don’t sell wheat as there are no exports out of this country.

“What we have is beautiful climate to compete in sport. We have an international business structure that cannot be beat and is the primary domicile of choice globally.

“We have sports facilities here that when we showed it global headquarters…of what we have here, they went crazy. They thought I was talking about another country. They didn’t realize all the facilities that I was showing them were actually in Bermuda.”

She said the global headquarters for the Corporate Games expects 3,000 to 4,000 competitors.

Promote

“If we get 2,000 to 3,000 people participating in these games, that will be the largest sporting event that has ever come to Bermuda. My goal is to get 2,000 to 3,000 and headquarters is telling me ‘I think you’re low’.

“There is no target here. If we get 1,000 athletes we’re still a success. I don’t want people to judge us by our number. The volume of exposure we’re giving to Bermuda, The Bermuda Government, the Tourism department, The Bermuda Monetary Authority, Business Bermuda, the ABICS and the ABIRS of this world, would have never been able to promote Bermuda like we’re doing through the network we’ve been provided through the Corporate Games.”

She said for the past nine months they have been plugging Bermuda telling potential participants that “this is a place where you can come and network with real people you can do business with. We’ve been hitting that as our hard core message.”