How to effectively plan and organise a sports event

Andrew Stuckey | Posted on Wed 27 February 2019 at 12.00PM
Categories: Tips

planning a sports event


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Planning, managing and organising a sporting event or tournament can be a daunting concept, especially if you’re working on a shoestring budget. Here we present 14 ideas and considerations to think about to help you plan and create a fun and enjoyable sports event.


1. Get organised

The first thing you need to do is write down all the details of the event. What is the event for? What practical elements will you need? Which type of space will you require? What is the budget for the event? What is the purpose of the event?

Having everything down on paper will help you consider all the event’s requirements from the very start and give you a clear direction on how to proceed. Using a handy online project management tool, such as Trello, can help you plan your event from start to finish.


2. Select dates

Choosing the right date or dates, is vital. You want to make sure that they don’t clash with other local events in your area, and more importantly, you have enough time to pull your resources together to make the event a success. The more time you leave yourself to plan your sports event, the more time there is to promote and gain traction for it.

3. Choose a venue

Thanks to the planning you did in step 1, you should have a good understanding of which boxes your venue needs to tick for you to pull off your sporting event. Your venue should have enough capacity for your needs, should be secure and should be convenient for your attendees to get to. Consider if traffic and parking could be an issue beforehand, especially if you have participants and spectators travelling to attend your event.


It’s also important to make sure that you have all of the necessary permissions to hold an event.


Always check which services the venue can provide to you that fall within your budget, to potentially take some of the added planning responsibility away from you.


Read more: Create your own venue seating plan

ice hockey venue example

4. Determine sport event style

Now is the time to decide on the type of sports event you want to host. Will it be a one-off match, a tournament, a league? How many individuals or teams will you need? Will you include multiple sports or a single sport? What will the format be?

Plan a layout for what your day will look like and how you can make that happen.


5. Plan supplies

Make a list of any supplies that will be required for your event. This should include equipment and items too - so think about things like scorecards, certificates, posters, whistles, medals, awards or anything else you can think of that will be needed on the day.

6. Insurance

It’s always worth getting valid public liability insurance for your event. This will cover sports event organisers and help you by paying damages, claimants costs and expenses which may arise as a result of and in connection with the event relating to accidental bodily injury or accidental damage to a third party or their property.

Failure to get the appropriate insurance could see you having to pay out a hefty sum should an accident occur!


Always ensure you read the terms of the insurance carefully before purchasing to make sure that it covers your needs, and make sure the policy is accounted for in your budget.


7. Health and Safety

You are responsible for the health and safety of your workers, any contractors you have working and all the other members of the public in attendance. Make sure you understand and follow the required health and safety measures to protect everyone in attendance of your sports event.

The Health and Safety Executive website has a comprehensive guide on health and safety for event organisers, so be sure to do your research and understand the steps you can take to ensure the health and safety of all attendees at your event.


8. Assemble staff/volunteers

Assembling your staff is the next step to planning a successful event. By now, you should understand the scope and size of what you’re hoping to achieve, which will help you to determine how many volunteers or staff members might be appropriate.


If you’re planning a sports event for a school or team - why not ask the parents to help out and volunteer? If you have a budget set aside for staff, try making your budget go further by contacting your friends and offer them a small donation in return for their help. Alternatively, you can put the budget into some snacks and make sure you feed your staff on the day.


All staff should be briefed on exactly what the event is hoping to achieve, to understand that they are to remain professional while having fun, and able to answer any questions on the day of the event too.


9. Start selling tickets

Using a free online event ticketing platform, such as TicketSource, to create, promote and sell sport tickets is one of the easiest ways to manage your sports event. With a variety of useful features and a dedicated support team, your event could be up and running in minutes.


sports event page example

10. Promote your sports event

Take the next step by actively advertising your tournament. Use social media to raise awareness and promote your event - if you have some budget you could even do some paid advertisements to attract new customers.


Advertise the event on email, send out flyers to local schools and clubs, or you could even advertise in a local newspaper!


TicketSource can help you to promote your event online with a range of event promotion tools, such as MailChimp email integration and a Facebook app.


Read more:


11. Reserve officials and referees

Be sure to reserve the sports officials you will need in the tournament. If you want a legitimate event you need legitimate referees and officials. Contact local referee organisations at least a couple of months before your event so that they can send enough officials to cover your event.

12. Reach out to participants

Now is the time to finalise the teams participating in the tournament and send them the details of your event including the rules and regulations of the tournament, a timetable of the day and an accurate date, time and location of the event. You’ll be able to gather all this information from your event listing page.


If you have teams attending from a different region, make sure you include nearby accommodations so that teams can book in advance. Event ticket purchasers can find suitable accommodation near the venue thanks to our Stay 22 partnership.


13. Review the plan

Go through all the details of your sports events plan with the venue management, organising committee, and volunteers so that everyone understands how the tournament will proceed.


Assign all tasks beforehand and ensure everyone knows their roles and what you expect from them so that the day runs as smoothly as possible.


14. Invite local press

You’ve worked hard to plan the event - so consider inviting local press to show off the success of what you’ve achieved! Not only that, but you’ll get great traction and will be able to tangibly measure the success of your event. You may even be able to put forward a case for the next event based on the success of this one!


If you follow these careful considerations, you’ll have the understanding of how to plan and create a successful sports tournament that ticks all the boxes. The more time you spend planning and preparing beforehand, the smoother the day will run - and the more time everyone will get to enjoy it!


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