How to organise a sports competition?

How to organise a sports competition?

To organise a sports competition is to share one’s vision of the sport with enthusiasts, to challenge oneself. The atmosphere should be friendly provided that the event was planned well. 

Before diving in this adventure, it is essential to follow the 4 essential steps of good event planning.

Set specific goals

Take the time to set the objectives of your competition. These will serve to define its identity.

  • Target attendance rate: how many participants? How many supporters are expected?
  • Target reputation: do you want to attract a local or international audience? Do you expect amateur participants or professionals?
  • Target image: which values are you promoting? Is the goal purely sports-related or do you support a good cause? Are you trying to attract new customers for your business?
  • Financial target: You will not organise your event in the same way depending on whether you are doing it for profit or not. This last point is essential to the creation of your budget — to which we will return later.

Targeting your audience

Then set the target audience for your competition.

  • Type of participants: Are you targeting students, employee representative committees, children or animals?
    • Everything is possible, provided you think about the associated activities. For instance, students will enjoy a party after the competition. For children, prefer a playground or a tea party, etc.
  • Define the teams: any sports competition requires checking key elements such as physical fitness for the sport in question. Do not forget to ask your participants for this information at registration, and to provide supporting evidence, in order to create teams and organise the different stages of the tournament. To do this, you can create a customised registration form. The same applies to the information concerning performance levels, the prize list, etc.
  • Contact the right media: You should also search for media outlets that might be interested and write about you. Contact them early to give your competition some visibility and attract more participants. You should not aim too high. Adjust your media search to your image and reputation targets as discussed above — local media to increase attendance to the event or conversely national media for greater notoriety. The bigger your media coverage, the more sponsors and partners you can attract for the next event.

Choose a suitable venue

  • Accessibility: Does the venue have parking spaces? Is it easily accessible by public transports? Is it accessible to people with reduced mobility?
  • Capacity: it sounds obvious but is there enough room to accommodate your target attendance? Include your teams, the participants but also the supporters. If you do not privatise the whole venue, consider the average usual crowd of the place and how your competition will fit in the space.
  • Available equipment: how many water fountains? How many toilets? For a predominantly female competition, plan for more toilets with doors. How many fields? Does the club provide the jerseys? How are the locker rooms? How is the space for the audience? Think of the comfort of both your participants and supporters.
  • Insurance/licenses: check with the venue manager if they have licenses to sell food, alcohol and to host the type of event you are organising. Think of the insurance that you will need to contract in addition to those covering the venue.

You should not necessarily book the very first venue you like. Visit several, choose two and keep one in mind as a backup.

Create a forecast budget

Your budget can evolve throughout the organisation process. You may obtain grants, financial support from sponsors or income from ticket sales and other related products.

Your budget will be created according to the objectives set beforehand (brand awareness, image, fundraising…). If you are organising your first sports competition, you should first test things out, taking each element of your planning and asking for several requests for quotes to familiarise yourself with the costs of this type of event. It is only with experience that you will assess the impact of certain expenses that are important for your attendees to be satisfied (a real asset).

  • Your resources: in addition to your initial capital, include partnerships and exchange of services already in place and consider adding them as you go.
  • Your needs: include all expenses, fixed and variable costs — venue hire, security, insurance, administrative costs, staff (national insurance contributions), equipment, transport, catering, accommodation, cleaning, communication and promotion as well as all taxes (VAT, PRS for Music, etc.). Anticipate on potential risks — need for protection from the weather, additional inventory … — by including a cash reserve of about 15% of your total budget.
  • Your estimated revenue: public subsidies — after estimating the necessary budget, make an application to your local government —, sales of food and drinks, broadcasting rights, help from partners, etc.

This budget must remain available at all stages of the planning process. Enter all the expenses – even small ones – and all the revenues (Weezevent’s ticketing solution offers, for instance, to pay the revenues from ticket sales every 15 days).

Your actual costs may be different from what you expected. To help you with future events, add a column for the actual costs of your organisation, this way you will improve your planning skills for this type of event.

These four steps done, you can move on to the following steps (while keeping this part in mind). Soon we will explain how to communicate effectively about your sports competition.

Ready to plan your own sports competition? Start now with Weezevent:

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