SportsEvents Magazine

MAY 2014

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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Page 16 of 115 May 2014 17 ▼ GAME Plan ➤ Be prepared: We want it to be a great experience for the teams and be really well organized. It takes a lot of planning. We started planning that first event six months out and con- tinue to work with a similar time period. Think of all the little things that can go wrong because chances are they may. Make sure youʼre prepared. ➤ Ask for help: A lot of times people are willing to help, so make sure to ask—family, friends, colleagues. With any big event, people want to become a part of it and I think itʼs okay to kind of look to those people for guidance. For us, it creates more of a family atmosphere for the event. ➤ Think strategically about the location of the event: Wilderness at the Smokies is a huge draw for families, par- ticularly those with younger brothers and sisters who can have fun instead of just watching their sibling play volleyball. ➤ Think strategically about the timing of the event: Our event is often the first event of the season for a lot of clubs. This will kind of be their opener for the season. Thatʼs one reason our event is popular. ➤ Ask those who have done it themselves: Talk to people who have done it before. Theyʼre a great resource. ➤ Leverage your own success: People knew who we were because of the success of our club on the volleyball court. Weʼve been ranked nationally. That helped us bring teams into the tournament. ➤ Bail, if necessary: You have to run the numbers right. If the facility rental is too high or you canʼt get the courts or the participating teams, you may have to decide the event wonʼt work. Youʼve got to make sure you can get the teams. ■ ready… set… go! ➤ Reach Out: Something like 99 percent of the teams participating in our events are not from Knoxville so we really have to reach out to them. For us, thereʼs no point in advertising in our local area. ➤ Use a personal approach: I think calling rather than e-mailing invitations has more of a personal touch so thatʼs what we mostly did for the first tournament. The clubs feel like we really want them to be a part of this new event. At six months out, youʼre calling teams, inviting them to the tournament. ➤ Use a website: Everything is on our website. People can go online and look at the information, including schedules. ➤ Consider using an outside event management service provider: We evolved into using Advanced Event Systems, which is exclusively for volleyball. Participants sign up for the tour- nament through that, and Advanced Event Systems provides additional management and communications services. We found thatʼs the easiest way to do it. ➤ Get covered: We have insurance through our sportʼs governing body, USA Volleyball, but the Wilderness at the Smokies and the convention center each have insurance, as well. We have cancellation insurance, too, which is a separate insurance. The risk of having to cancel due to weather is always there, particularly for a winter event. Youʼve got to cover all your bases. ➤ Involve vendors; they add value: A lot of vendors approach us to be involved in an event. Itʼs just been word-of-mouth. We manage all of that. We like to invite vendors with products that we think will appeal to our participants. ■ ➤ Be ready to work: When weʼre running an event, I work 16- hour days. Itʼs a lot but thatʼs what it takes. Often, the work that we do and the amount of effort we put into it, a lot of others donʼt see. But it keeps things running smoothly. ➤ Do it well: Running an event well garners repeat participation. If you do a good job then people will come back. We make sure we do a good job and that participants have a good time. ■ Christine's Words Of Advice *02-17 SE MAY 2014_SportsEvents TEMPLATE 5/15/14 12:48 PM Page 17

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