| Erica Curran
Ultimate Chicago Sandblast is one of America's premier beach ultimate tournaments, and Savage is proud to be the event's new apparel partner. Scheduled for July 13-14 on beautiful Montrose Beach overlooking the Chicago skyline, this event brings together more than 1000 players, volunteers, and spectators. We talked with Ultimate Chicago Sandblast director Adam Levy about what makes this awesome event so unique.
Headed to Sandblast? Be sure to order your tournament jerseys by May 24 to make sure you get 'em in time for the event.
Savage: Tell us a bit about Sandblast. What sets this tournament apart from others out there?
Adam Levy: Ultimate Chicago Sandblast is hosting its 19th edition in 2019 and takes pride in evolving year after year with feedback and focus on the players. Our event features three divisions: Elite for top teams focused on play, Spirit of the Game focused on shenanigans, and Game as the best of both. Our event has the blessing and curse of space limitations which allows our event to focus on how to maximize value for our player participants through an excellent collection of generous partners that make up our sponsor village. Players have enjoyed Chipotle burritos and Potbelly sandwiches for lunch; BodyArmor, Monster Energy, Vita Coco, BAI and other beverages; KIND Snacks, CLIF Bar, Krave Jerky and other snack providers along with so much more. The party does not stop on the beach as we take great pride in our Saturday night celebrations at premier City of Chicago venues so our players, both near and far, can enjoy a true perspective of the Windy City.
Savage: How has the tournament evolved since the early days?
Adam Levy: Our sponsor village brings great value and festivities year after year. We have included keepsake items including backpacks, lunch bags, sport towels, koozies and sunglasses as relevant and valuable memories to enjoy long after leaving the beach. In 2018, we were excited to have a team photo backdrop to help bring teams into one central location while capturing the spirit of our great event as a personalized keepsake for the team to enjoy. In addition to driving value for our players, we are also excited to give back! Over the past few years, we have partnered with Chicago-based not-for-profit Imerman Angels that provides free global one-on-one mentorship for cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers.
Savage: Is there anything new or different happening this year?
Adam Levy: We are always looking to raise the bar and are excited to partner with Great Lakes Ultimate Events (GLUE) to lead our gameday operations to ensure a smooth and successful experience for our teams and players. We have three new relationships with Savage Apparel Company, CLIF Bar and Joybol by Kellogg’s that will offer quality product sampling AND unique engagement experiences on the beach. We are most excited about the innovation and fresh perspective that Savage brings to our event as already demonstrated through the 2019 logo design. In addition to the quality merchandise, they have some great ideas and surprises to build engagement and even more memories for our teams.
Savage: What can players expect of the parties?
Adam Levy: We used to organize a Friday night welcome party or coordinate schedules with the AUDL’s Chicago Wildfire, but we found that teams have preferred to take advantage of downtown Chicago. Teams have hosted their own spirit and SWAG design parties or just getting out on the town. The best Saturday night events have been in historical Wrigleyville outside the home of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field. We are focused on getting us back there where we have taken over huge venues with bag board/cornhole tournaments, photo booth activations, karaoke rooms and great tunes to get down and back up again. Our past generous partners have included Pabst Blue Ribbon, Goose Island, Seattle Cider Company with special thanks to Tito’s Homemade Vodka for their product support and an equally generous financial donation to our not-for-profit partner, Imerman Angels.
Savage: Any tips for folks who are coming to the tournament from out of town?
Adam Levy: There are many great beach ultimate events available to players, but beyond everything you have read above, what sets us apart is the amazing location as the city of Chicago and is our focus on quality over quantity. Our home of Montrose Beach on the north side of Chicago limits us to just 68 teams which is a great problem to have as we can focus on driving player value without having to balance constant recruiting of teams to expand the field. Another focus of our event is providing everything a player could need on the beach…team/player bags with goodies and giveaways, breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks, athletic trainers and so much more! Is it July 13th yet?