A Short Introduction to Sports Event Management

Gain insight into how sports event management works and how to effectively manage a sporting event.

sports event manager watching over sports players

What is Sports Event Management?

Sports event management refers to the planning and organization involved in executing sports-related events and activities. It encompasses the time before the sports event, the event itself, and the documentation and processing after. Some tasks involved here include venue selection, logistics, budgeting, marketing, security, and recordkeeping.

What is an Example of a Sports Event?

A sports event is a gathering or competition where athletes or teams participate in various sporting activities, such as games, races, tournaments, or matches. Common sports events that require large-scale event management include the following:

  • Football matches
  • Basketball games
  • Marathons
  • Tennis tournaments

These events can range from local competitions to international tournaments and are organized to showcase athletic skills, entertain spectators, and promote sportsmanship. Some of the most well-known sports events around the world are:

  • The Australian Open
  • The Modern Olympics and The Paralympics Games
  • Football leagues for different countries and continents, such as the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup games
  • Cricket World Cup
  • The US Super Bowl
  • The US National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals

What is the Difference Between General Event Management and Sports Event Management?

The difference between general event management and sports event management lies in the specific focus and requirements of each field. General event management involves planning and organizing a wide range of events, such as conferences, corporate gatherings, and cultural festivals. Meanwhile, sports event management is a specialized type of event management, and it refers to the tasks specialized in planning and executing sporting events and related activities.

Usually headed by sports event managers, sports event management professionals deal with factors unique to sporting events such as stadium or court selection, logistics tailored to sports competitions, athlete coordination, and sports marketing. The business needs and goals related to sports events are also different from other events, as there are different sporting seasons, leaders, sports clubs, and stakeholders to consider. Different localities may also have specific regulations in place for sports events, depending on the weather conditions of the place and the event plans proposed by sports event managers.

Sports event managers are also required to have other skills and knowledge that differ from other event managers. They need to be aware of the ideal seasons to hold events, the best venues for the sport to be done, and the fans’ preferences. The facilities and equipment needed for the event also need to be researched well, for each sport has different needs and technicalities to be considered, which can affect budgeting, planning, and operations.

How to Plan for a Sports Event

Not all sports events are the same, but the method of planning for one is similar for many. The steps are as follows:

#1: Define the event goals and identify your audience

Sports events managers should begin the planning process by identifying their goals and audience. They must first decide on the type of event, whether it’s a competition, social gathering, or marketing opportunity. After, they should consider what their audience would want and in what format.

#2: Establish a team and a budget

Depending on the stakeholders involved, a sports event manager will then have a working team to help with sports event management. Together, they will calculate the expenses such as venue rental, equipment, marketing, staff, prizes, and any other costs associated with the event.

Tools such as sports event management software can facilitate a seamless planning experience with the help of checklists, analytics, and integrations.

#3: Select date and venue

Sports events managers and their teams must then choose their ideal date for their event while allowing ample time for planning and promotion. They must consider other sporting events that may coincide with their planned events because this can impact fan turnout and sales.

The ideal venue for any sporting event should be one that has enough seats, parking, restrooms, and emergency exits in case of emergencies. They must be safe, accessible, and large enough to accommodate participants and spectators.

#4: Obtain the necessary permits

With a set venue and budget, the sports event management team will then move on to securing the necessary permits to proceed with the event. This involves coordinating with the sports club or association’s legal teams, the local government where the event will be held, and the legal teams of sponsors and stakeholders.

This process can be streamlined with help from an operations platform with cloud storage so all documents and checklists are easily accessible, ensuring compliance with legal requirements.

#5: Plan and promote

Once all the necessary documents and permits have been accomplished, the sports event management team can begin properly planning for the rest of the event. With cooperation from stakeholders, they will create a comprehensive plan that outlines all the logistical details of the event while considering information such as the:

  • event schedule;
  • competition format;
  • participant registration process;
  • equipment requirements;
  • transportation;
  • medical services; and
  • security measures.

Included in the planning process is developing the right marketing strategy to promote the event. The team will work to create awareness and generate interest in the sports event through social media, websites, local media, posters, and word-of-mouth to reach their target audience. Training the staff who will be working with the team is also included here.

#6: Execute the sports event

With all marketing plans and event procedures finalized, it’s time to proceed with carrying out the sports event. This can take weeks or months to complete, depending on the scale of the event.

Every process should be recorded for safety, compliance, and documentation for future events. Part of this stage is preparing the right technology to assist with the event day registration procedures, communications, food and beverage concessionaires, equipment management, and employee tracking.

#7: Assess the sports event

After the sports event is held and executed, the sports event management team will come together with their stakeholders to discuss wins, losses, and points for improvement. Findings from this discussion should be documented and stored in the cloud for future reference.

How Technology can Help with Sports Event Management: Australian Open

One famous sports event that uses technology to streamline its management and operations is The Australian Open. Here is a video detailing their experience with it:

Roselin Manawis
Article by
Roselin Manawis
Roselin Manawis is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture. She has experience in news writing and content marketing across different fields of discipline. Her background in Communication Arts enables her to leverage multimedia and improve the quality of her work. She also contributed as a research assistant for an international study and as a co-author for two books in 2020. With her informative articles, she aims to ignite digital transformation in workplaces around the world.