Running sports events and tournaments can be a struggle when it comes to making enough revenue to be profitable and generally worthwhile to continue. While our article on 10 ways to drive additional revenue can be a big help, sometimes it’s equally important to find a way to cut certain costs to increase the bottom line. Below are 5 ways we think you can accomplish this without affecting the overall quality of the event at the same time!
Finding volunteers to assist with your events can be very helpful and cost cutting, if not downright essential for larger tournaments. Finding and managing volunteers can be a chore though, as they may be less reliable that paid staff members to show up or be as dedicated, but a good volunteer is worth their weight in gold. For sourcing volunteers, we recommend local colleges through their sports marketing and media departments, local charities (a donation may be in order, but typically less than hiring staff), along with reaching out to the city who may have resources for events they source volunteers from on their end. While they probably shouldn’t be put in a decision making role, volunteers can help immensely with check-in, gated entrances, parking, field monitoring, score keeping and other time consuming tasks that can free up your staff to deal with more high level initiatives.
Finding sponsors for your event can be a time consuming task, and it can be hard to get people to pay you cash to be a sponsor, but requesting in-kind donations can oftentimes be much easier to get and provide added value to your participants and/or save costs for your organization. I would recommend making a list of items that your events could use that would save money, like bottled water, food, sports equipment, electronics and other goods that can be a big swing financially or used as giveaways if possible, and reaching out to local companies who may be able to assist without much needed from them in terms of budget, shipping, or staffing needed.
Food vendors can be a source of revenue and a value to your participants, but it can also help cut significant costs for some events. Oftentimes when running events that span across lunch or dinner times for 6+ hours a day, it’s a good practice to feed your staff and officials and negotiating with food vendors to cover that cost can both be cost cutting and a timesaver for you.
Support through Sports Tourism
The sports tourism world is booming, and as such there are sports tourism departments in most cities with accessible sports venues looking for high quality events to fill their calendar. Oftentimes these city or county supported sports tourism departments, whether it be the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Sports Commission or another similar organization, are willing to help offset costs and/or provide funding to the right events and event owners if they will bring in tourism, i.e. fill up their hotels. The better you can track your events history for generating hotel nights and driving in traveling teams, the more likely you may be to get assistance with covering field costs, hotels, and other possibilities.
Some regions are more apt to support events than others, but we definitely recommend checking out some of the top sports conferences made for connecting event owners and destinations if you’re interested in or already experienced in hosting traveling team tournaments and events.
Avoid the Middleman
A good practice for all of business, but still very applicable for event owners that can be a big help in cutting costs. Don’t want to pay for your staff food or have access to vendors? Grill burgers and dogs for them and save some significant revenue! Looking at purchasing apparel, championship rings, sports equipment, banners and signage, medals and other goods? While supporting your local businesses is a good idea and oftentimes a necessity on quick timelines, you can also save a ton of money by going directly to the source, especially in large quantities and with ample lead time, through companies like Alibaba and other international sourcing companies. There’s more risk in ordering from overseas, but also has potential to save thousands versus local pricing.
Every event is different and can have their own unique ways to save money or drive revenue that may be more applicable, but hopefully the above tips can be a help to those trying to cut costs for their tournaments and events! Let us know what ideas and suggestions you have in the comments below!