A Guide to Safe Sports Event Management

sports event management

Hosting a sports event requires the right kind of event manager

When you decide to host a sports event, one of the biggest concerns apart from the actual planning and organisation of the event is safety.  At sporting events, many activities and problems could result in your company being liable for damages to property and the people who attend.  If you adhere to the following guidelines for safe sports event management, you will significantly reduce the risk of accidents and liability.

Event Regulations and Safety Guidelines

Before your event, you need to fully brief yourself on all the safety procedures normally associated with your type of sporting events in New Zealand and abroad.  It is important for you to consider any local city or town by-laws that may affect the planning of your event and the services you can offer. When you have gathered all the necessary information, integrate the standard regulations and laws with the safety measures and regulations that you have decided to implement.

Participant Groups

Identifying the people who will be involved with your event is important; based on the functions that they have, you may need to include different regulations and purchase different types of liability insurance.

Some of the major groups of people who may attend your sporting event include volunteer workers, the spectators, players and participants, vendors and retailers, members of the press or media, and the sporting officials.

Based on the amount of people who will be participating, it may be easier to have them sign liability waivers to free yourself from any potential lawsuits.   It is important to set up regulations for each group and notify them of any special requirements prior to the event.

Spread the Rules

After you have developed all the rules and regulations and figured out how they will apply to the different groups that will be in attendance, you need to notify everyone about the rules.

Informing all the officials, vendors, participants, and the press of guidelines that are applicable to them beforehand is vital.  It is also important to alert the spectators at the events of any special liability information and disclaimers using video or audio methods.  You can also include a set of guidelines for each person as they purchase tickets or enter the stadium or arena where you will be hosting your event.

Types of Risk and How to Manage Them

There are four main types of risks you will assume when hosting a sporting event, which include:

  1. Physical – Physical injuries, damages to property
  2. Financial – Insurance, liability settlements, incorrect budgeting
  3. Ethical – Lack of quality and satisfaction for spectators, bad publicity, damage to reputation or company image
  4. Legal – Lawsuits, not following health and safety laws, breaches of contract

If you are faced with any of these risks, you need to develop a risk management strategy to help you combat them.  You can use one or more of the following solutions to treat the potential risks you may face.

  1. Avoidance
    This involves avoiding any potential risks that may arise due to particular activities at the event.
    For example, if you decide not to sell alcohol at an event, you will minimise the risk of fights and accidental falls down stairs or bleachers.
  2. Training
    If you have the time to train your employees or volunteers about risks associated with particular activities, you can avoid them.
    For example, if you have designated cooking areas, educating vendors about the safety and health standards will help to lower the risk of food poisoning or contamination.
  3. Control
    If there is no way to eliminate the risk of certain accidents or problems, you need to control the contributing factors.
    For example, stadiums with bleachers increase the chances of people falling and hurting themselves, so you can control and minimise the risk by installing railings and fences.
  4. Transfer
    This involves passing the risk on to a third party that is not directly involved in the event.  This usually means purchasing insurance or signing liability waivers with the management of the arenas or stadiums.
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