Not all sporting events are played on the field and when it comes to planning non-traditional sporting events (i.e. darts, pool, archery tournaments, etc.), new considerations come into play. Financial needs and expectations are required to achieve success for both the groups and venues and finding things for the attendees to do during downtime is also important.
Planning & Location
As with all event planning, picking the best time for the event and appropriate location is crucial. Work with the local CVBs and relevant clubs to pick the time of year that doesn’t conflict with other similar events or functions your targeted audience would otherwise be attending.
Seek out locations where there is strong support through various local and regional leagues. When planning more amateur related events it is important to find a spot where you will have strong local support from participants, attendees and strong sponsorships.
Explore options in addition to the necessary and traditional monetary donations. Work with local leagues to garner sponsorships in advance to help get the dollars needed as well as support to promote the event. Sponsors can help promote the event to their customers and members, as well as secure participants and encourage the public and fans to attend the event. Solicit them for ideas on how and where to best market the event.
Working with sponsors and participants to market your event is key to guaranteeing its success. With non-traditional events, word of mouth can be a huge factor, as well as posting to social media sites. Even traditional flyers and mentions at local clubs will help gather your base attendees and give you the benefit of advance registration to help your planning.
Creating the Necessary Environment
Groups vary and many will have their own volunteer and/or local contacts to help set up and provide the items necessary, particularly when it comes to more popular sports like pool. Jennifer Simonar, Sales Manager at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center Green Bay found this to be the case when working with a tournament, “A pool tournament brought in their own lighting so we did not have to make special arrangements except for a scissors lift to get the lights to the ceiling.”
Working with the materials and equipment, as well as the volunteer manpower and staffed help, determine your needs well in advance so you can negotiate any special needs with your initial contract at your chosen venue.
Offering Activities During Non-Event Times
For the friends, families and other spectators, it’s important to offer recreational activities and options for things to do during downtime. Many facilities offer amenities onsite, from swimming to game rooms. They may also offer transportation options to local attractions. Simonar notes, “Depending on the venue and where the participants are staying, our facility offers the Oneida Casino open 24 hours. Our hotel shuttle will offer transportation to various locations such as the local mall, movie theaters, Lambeau Field/Packer Hall of Fame and other attractions.”
Local sponsors and partners can also benefit by offering specials for people attending. Ask about special coupons for food and beverage or related events available at their establishment. There is also potential to partner with them on finding entertainment for downtimes which can add excitement to the event.
The bottom line when planning non-traditional sporting events is maximizing your participants and their connections along with your expertise and past experiences on what drives overall satisfaction and financial goals.