By Trish Arab
Last week Tidal League Media Inc. celebrated its 5th birthday as a company. Founder Kurt Benson posted his reflections on what this milestone meant to him and his journey to five years on our blog page. I've also been around the company for most of that time, meeting Kurt and his then-partners in March 2019. At that time, Tidal League was in the events space and were planning a large-scale NBA-focused event in the offseason here in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where the company is still based.
I cheered from the sidelines as the company pivoted with each opportunity presented to them and watched them bring each idea to life, first when the Toronto Raptors advanced to the NBA Finals. Halifax became the only official venue outside Jurassic Park (the outdoor area in front of the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto) to have a live viewing of each game. Coincidently, in a brand new viewing space called Rogers Square in Downtown Halifax, thousands of fans gathered every night of the finals, cheering the Raptors on and making Tidal League a household name. They followed up these successful block parties with a Canada Day event featuring then Toronto Raptor and NBA Champion Danny Green - where even more fans celebrated Canada's birthday with a new Canadian hero.
Things were looking up for this small east coast company, even after our founder's partners decided to move on. Two more major events were in the works, and partnerships were lined up with the Raptors and other NBA organizations. Tidal League then saw an opportunity in the offseason to move into the media space with a show featuring mothers of NBA players, "Courtside Moms," a show that gained traction and the attention of NBA mothers and their sons.
Then a pandemic hit, and the world came to a standstill. This could have been the end of Tidal League, but instead, Kurt managed to take a global shutdown and turn it into an opportunity, launching two more shows using a then relatively unknown platform, Zoom.
And from there, the company just skyrocketed. Interviews turned into relationships, friendships, business opportunities, and more shows, employees, and partnerships. It has been such an unbelievable blessing to watch it happen in front of my eyes and, at times, have the privilege of playing a part in it.
People have asked me over the years if I knew how successful the company would be. Many times, it looked like the company's days were numbered. There were times when I saw Kurt hit wall after wall and questioned, "Is this going to be the time when he says screw this and walks away?" So my answer to that question has always been honest; I always knew Kurt would succeed. Even when I didn't believe in the business (for the record, I've always hated the events space), I believed in him - I still do.
So here we are, five years and one week later, and I still feel blessed to watch the company grow, thrive, and see my friend succeed. It hasn't been easy. Kurt's favourite quote, "If it were easy, everyone would do it," is one that plays in my head often, especially when I have watched him struggle and felt powerless against it. Standing by and watching him hasn't always been easy either, but, I guess, if that were easy, everyone would have done it - bring on year six!