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Aug 13, 2019 11:51:00 AM by InitLive

Top 4 Sports Tournament Event Planning Fails (and how to fix them)

Event Planning, Sporting Event Management

Top- 4 -Sporting- Event- Planning- Fails- (and- how- to- fix- them)

Organizing a sporting event or tournament can be a great way to bring people together to enjoy some competition, but the logistics can become overwhelming pretty quickly. We spoke with industry expert Ruth Nicholson founder of GO!, who has worked in youth and semi-professional sports, particularly soccer, for more than 30 years to bring her expertise to this article. In order to ensure you're planning for success make sure you avoid these 4 common pitfalls when organizing your next sports tournament.

What does an unsuccessful tournament look like? 

According to Ruth Nicholson ”Unsuccessful tournaments are when people notice stuff that's uncomfortable. To put it in perspective:  the referee analogy, if you're at a sporting event and the officials, the referees, the umpires, the line judges... if they're doing their job really well, you don't necessarily notice them. When the referee makes a call that you don't agree with, you notice them, right? And then we yell at the TV or the field, or whatever.”

No Competition

Everybody loves to see a good match, but they won't have the chance if you don't have a fairly even playing field. When planning any sports tournament it is essential to make sure you've taken the time to evaluate the competitors' abilities and match opponents accordingly. “This can be tough because you're trying to match up similar skill and ability levels between teams, because nobody wants to go to a tournament and lose/win 10-0, right” Comment Ruth. One-sided competitions are great for the winners but ho-hum for everyone else. Matching up teams is just one side of the equation, the other side is the ensuring you have a fair team of referees. Whether it's a semi-professional tournament or a house league tournament,  fair play is essential to the success of your sporting event. 

Unorganized Volunteers

Volunteers are the lifeblood of any good sporting event, and it takes a top-notch organization to see that they are all able to perform their duties effectively. Nothing is worse than having half of your volunteers not show up at the right time at the right place. Ruth added “How many games does it going to take to fill up those garbage cans? Not many. Well, if the garbage is all in the can, it's not just an eyesore. But say you go three or four games and that garbage can is not only full, but it's also overflowing. No shows make a large impact on your event.”

So in order to avoid this problem providing your team of volunteers with online registration and scheduling will decrease no-shows. Scheduling in floaters can also help fill those gaps. Your volunteers will need to communicate efficiently with leaders and each other at all times. Give your volunteers the tools to succeed with a event day app. 

Planning a Sports Tournament? Check out - Tips for Planning a Sports Tournament

Hard to Find Services

Sporting events can be dangerous, but that isn't the only reason to have a medic present. Your event may have hundreds, or thousands, of spectators, and the possibilities for injuries are almost endless. Ensure that proper medical staff is on-site and are each to locate to treat minor injuries, for players or fans. It is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Tip- Ensure you have a well informed field marshall for each game to direct people when needed. 

Read More - 12 Essential Volunteer Roles for your Next Tournament


Hosting a sporting event is great fun for everyone involved, but that doesn't mean you can't make any money at it. Be sure to calculate the finances of your event ahead of time, from field rentals and concessions to prizes and parking costs. 

For example, Ruth mentions the power parents have when choosing which tournaments to attend each year. You don’t want people saying  ”Oh, come on. Let's not go there. Let's go to a different one." Right, right. It was hard to book a hotel. Eating was expensive, parking was bad.” Charging reasonable rates without gouging the and attendees will enable you not only to make the event a financial success, but encourage all the participants to come back for the next one.

Learn more with - 7 Signs Of A Successful Sports Tournament

Play to win when planning your next sporting event by avoiding these common planning fails, and you'll be sure to come out on top.


3 Tips To Increase The Success of Your Next TournamentTake your tournament to the next level!

Join tournament expert Ruth Nicholson and Julia Frame for a 60-minute free webinar where you will learn expert tips and tricks for a successful tournament every time

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