Running tournaments involve many complicated tasks executed by multiple people, and not everything goes as planned. However, for the best possible outcome, the tournament directors must adopt and follow the best practices, which will help even if not everything goes as planned.
Registration: Open the registration at least two months in advance. Allow both online and offline payments. Accept or decline the registration and keep them in the loop with automated reminders and sending the right messages at the right time. To do it all efficiently, adopt the right sports management platform like SportsPlus.
Staff: Hire staff members who are comfortable speaking in front of a group. Ideally, hire from organizations who got a rigorous screening process. Make sure to conduct background checks.
Venues: Select venues that have ample parking, easy to access, rest areas for families and players, and are well maintained with clean restrooms. Tournaments usually are family affairs, so nasty restrooms can ruin what may otherwise be an enjoyable family event. Inspect venues before booking.
Invite local food trucks, which will jump at the chance to cater to such a large audience, saving you the time, manpower, and up-front costs of bringing in the concessions.
Communication: Leverage all communication channels that tournament participants use: website, email, text messaging, social media, etc. Use a system like SportsPlus that offers fully integrated communication options to communicate the right message at the right time on all communication channels.
Schedules: As part of the team registration process, provide options to request schedule priorities. Make it clear that the requests may not always be honored. Publish schedules as per expectations and local norms. On publishing, send schedule notifications to the teams.
Social Media: Social media helps to spread the word rapidly about the tournament before, during, and after. Players post about the tournament they are in, parents post and brag about their kids, and send pics of the game and the sports facility. All this posting spreads further as recipients repost and retweet. To take full advantage of this phenomenon, create a hashtag for the tournament, which should be simple and memorable. The hashtags will make it easy for social media users to link to the tournament and share it.
Wi-Fi: Plan for wireless connection needs and offer a free wi-fi connection. This costs so little but will result in many benefits.
Complaints: Make it easy to complain. Provide options on the tournament website to complain. Allow complaining anonymously. Use the complaints received to improve the next tournament’s experience for the participants.
Rules: Post the tournament rules on the tournament website. Provide links to the rules page. Using the right tournament software platform will help with this process.
Team Rosters: Based on the tournament rules, communicate with the team coaches and ensure the team rosters are uploaded and complete. Lock the team rosters, and do not allow making changes once the tournament starts.
Resources: Provide all the right resources, like travel options, hotel options, and food options, on the tournament website. Add a separate page for this and provide the link to this page at all right places on the tournament website and in some messages that are sent out.
Streamline ticketing: Allow paying for gate fees directly on the tournament website. A good tournament software system should allow payment for gate fees. Post the links enabling gate fee payments on the tournament page. Consider making the tournament ticket available on social media channels as well.
Get it sanctioned: Get the tournament sanctioned, which offers legitimacy and organization to the tournament. Getting a tournament sanctioned typically requires a fee, but it’s usually well worth it. Sanctioning also comes with some insurance benefits. Depending on the sport, the governing bodies allow sanctioning through their websites.
Plan to plan: Plan for events that can result in good, bad, and ugly situations. The tournament’s success is based on the planning that goes into the event and the team created to run it.
Have backup plans ready for weather-related issues, last-minute field or court issues, staff no-shows, technology glitches, parent or player fighting, etc. Having a backup plan for your backup plan is highly advised.
Tournaments are very complex events, and organizing them requires skill and planning. The tournament director’s success lies in adopting the best practices needed for the tournament, using good facilities, hiring the right staff members, and using the best tournament management software platform.