How To Run An Elite Event: Make It A Can't-Miss

Posted on: on Apr 3, 2017 3:25:08 PM



Once you've got your tournament sanctioned, your budget set, and your field site booked, it's time to focus your attention on making your tournament an awesome experience for the teams that show up.


While it might take a few years to achieve legendary status for teams in and beyond your region, running a consistently high quality event now is how you're going to get there.


So let's dig into what you can do to make the most out of your tournament:


1. Get your cleats wet

Running a tournament is a lot of work, and you can be better prepared if you volunteer or work at a tournament before setting off to run your own.


As the Tournament Director for your team, it's a great idea to get a younger teammate involved in the process, so when you're gone, they'll have some experience to take on the position.


2. Promote the event

You should start promoting as close to the beginning of the season as possible, so you can reach captains as they start planning out their team's season.


Use your online cred

Your sanctioned event will show up on USAU, so link to that page to rep your official status when talking about your event. Teams can use that page to register for the tournament too!


Post your event to r/ultimate and email captains from past tournaments your team has attended. If you don't have an email address for a team you want to invite, try calling them out on Twitter to let them know about your tournament.


Solicit your sponsors

If you're lucky enough to bag some sponsors for your event, reach out to them to promote your event! It's in their best interest that your event gets high attendance too, so they should be happy to spread the word.


3. Take care of your teams

There are some basics that all teams expect when they're paying and travelling to tournaments. Here's a list of items that you should make sure to take care of in order to meet those minimum expectations.


Line the fields

It's a huge help to a team if the field is lined and set up by the time players arrive to warm up. Get some volunteers on your team to show up early and get those fields set up to impress the teams that paid to be there.


Provide field amenities

USAU requires that sanctioned events have food, water, and other amenities available at their events to keep players safe and reasonably nourished. See the full list here.


Refer teams to an official tournament hotel

Reach out to some local hotels about offering a deal to teams attending your tournament. Estimate a number of rooms that you can fill to sweeten the pot for them.


If there aren't any interested hotels in the area, try to come up with some other lodging options for these folks like Airbnb's or camping.


4. Create a memorable experience

To really get folks talking about your tournament and to psych them up for next year, go the extra mile to put your tournament on that next level of awesome.


Plan an opportunity for teams to hang out

While an all-night dance party might not be right for the teams competing at your elite event, having some sort of communal activity for everyone attending is an awesome way to raise the bar on your event.


The ultimate community is unique, and this is your chance to bring people together to celebrate that.


Consider bringing in some outside vendors for a dinner after games and/or hosting a talent show that teams can prepare for before the tournament, for example.


Get media coverage

Consider hiring a film crew or photographer to capture the epic plays and culture of your tournament. Not only will it make players at your tournament feel like rockstars, it'll also serve as useful promo pieces to get more teams to come to your tournament next year!


For a photographer, Ultiphotos does a fantastic job, or if your budget is sparse in this department, consider asking a friend or parent with a photo hobby to do it for free or on the cheap. Amateur photographers are often looking for more subjects to shoot to practice and build up their portfolio. If you can find a sports photographer - even better!


Offer sweet prizes
  • Spirit prizes for players

We like to provide spirit prizes for teams to give to individuals on their team, to promote spirit and give more folks a chance to win something.

  • Team prize for winning

If you have some room to spare in your budget, teams love cash prizes for winning tournaments.

If you can't afford to give away cash or something valuable, make something homemade that'll mean something special to the team.


Sell custom tournament gear

A great way to establish the legitimacy of your event is to get teams repping merch from your tournament after it's over. If the hype is big enough, players will throw down to get some sweet gear to commemorate their experience.


If you're interested in getting some Five gear for your tournament, click here!



over to you!

What did we miss? Got ideas for sweet team prizes? Let us know in the comments below!