HTA signs sports marketing firm

Here’s the press release from the HTA:

HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) announced today that Ascendent Sports Group
has been awarded a contract to provide sports marketing services on behalf of the State of Hawai‘i.

The $200,000 one-year contract, which includes an option for HTA to extend the agreement for up to four additional one-year periods, began August 2.

“We received excellent proposals from numerous entities wanting to support HTA’s sports marketing on behalf of Hawai‘i,” said Leslie Dance, HTA vice president of marketing and product development. “Ascendent Sports Group offered the ideal balance of global sports contacts and an understanding of Hawai‘i’s uniqueness as a destination.

“We believe Ascendent is going to open a lot of doors for HTA and create new opportunities to showcase Hawai‘i to the world.”

Based in New York City, Ascendent Sports Group ( was co-founded by
Stephen Ross and Matt Higgins, owner and vice chairman of the Miami Dolphins, respectively. The
company has global reach and is equipped with the proficiency and personnel to provide a wide range
of sports marketing services, including consulting, event production and property representation.
Ascendent’s staff has extensive experience with sporting events and corporate brands globally, as well as regional markets worldwide. The company has supported clients with sports competitions and
special events at the professional, Olympic and collegiate levels, as well as those focused on military, youth and community programs. Ascendent’s experience with Hawai‘i sports events includes the Ironman Triathlon and NFL Pro Bowl.

“We are absolutely thrilled to earn HTA’s trust and confident we will exceed expectations in elevating sports marketing for the Hawaiian Islands,” said Bob Brennfleck, Ascendent president and CEO. “We understand how important sports are to Hawai‘i’s global brand and will develop solutions to create more incentive for audiences worldwide to come experience the islands.”

Ascendent was one of 12 organizations, nine from the mainland U.S. and three from Hawai‘i, that
submitted bids in response to the request for proposal (RFP) issued by HTA on March 30 to secure a
sports marketing agency for the State of Hawai‘i. Ascendent’s proposal focused on its global expertise in matching sports events with the interests of specific target markets.

Ascendent’s support of HTA will include the sourcing of current and emerging sports opportunities,
guidance on the application and selection process for the hosting of future events and competitions, assistance with contract negotiations, and providing insight to ensure a successful event for Hawai‘i.
Capitalizing on its global reach, Ascendent will also make recommendations on prioritizing sports
opportunities that appeal to travel consumers in Hawai‘i’s tourism markets.


  1. robert curran August 4, 2016 5:35 pm

    Who were the Hawaii companies?

  2. orioles4eva September 1, 2016 7:40 am

    Dave, I have a question on a different topic about two of the game changes for this weeks OIA football. Kahuku and Castle is moved to Friday from Sat., but Waialua and Pearl City is then moved to Sat., instead of its original Friday time. Is this an example of preferential treatment by the OIA to ensure that Kahuku gets to play its game? The weather is going to be the same for the Waialua game as it would have been for Kahuku, if it was for safety reasons for the game day change then why move the Waialua game to Saturday. Help me out Dave, this doesn’t seem right.

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