By Bruce Knittle
Organizing a sports tournament? Perhaps the most important decision for sports event planners is location. By selecting an appropriate location, the chances for a successful outcome are considerably increased. Below are a few suggestions to help facilitate the site selection process:
Geographic Feasibility — Get Feedback
Researching venues and contacting CVBs are usually the first steps in the site selection process. But why not also get input from the actual team participants? Sports team leaders can relate both positive and negative experiences they have had, and this can prove to be valuable information for you in determining the site to hold the tournament. The participants, in turn, will appreciate your seeking their opinions.
Cooperation from the host location is a must. Without it, a tournament event is destined for failure. Therefore, in narrowing your site selections, be sure your checklist includes meetings with representatives of the local community. The purpose of the meetings will be to determine what the community will do to help ensure a successful tournament and to gauge the level of enthusiasm that will come from the community. Then, match your findings with your list of requirements. Work to develop a partnership between you and your tournament event and the representatives and the community as a whole. Your goal is to work with the community as a team to achieve a successful event.
Lodging & Transportation Fit
Meeting hotel and transportation needs are crucial to a successful tournament, especially if there are numerous teams participating. Both needs must be geared toward the needs of your participants. For example, if juniors are involved, check to confirm that the hotel will have the amenities required for a younger clientele and, most importantly, assure that the hotel has experience working with groups of youngsters.
Price is also an important consideration for your participants. Attending to hotel and transportation needs many months in advance of the tournament will help ensure the best possible rates.
Review Facilities Yourself
I am a great believer in the phrase “see for yourself.” As the sports event planner, you are ultimately responsible for the tournament’s success. Thus, make time to view a potential site location in person. If you wish, you can include members of your committee in the site visit, but it is best that you are not absent during this process.
The site visit will give you a chance to personally meet the individuals involved, and get a good feel for the situation. If possible, view the facility when there is another unrelated tournament at the site in order to observe the operations at the venue and the level of participant satisfaction with the venue.
One common thread throughout these steps is that the sports event planner should use the “personal touch” in each aspect of the site search process. This will certainly help to produce the most positive tournament event experience for participants and spectators alike.
Bruce Knittle is president and founder of Knittle Sports Solutions Inc. Learn more about Bruce at www.knittlesportssolutions.com.