Cultivate Engagement with Tournaments & Events

The best tournament directors are constantly looking to generate audience engagement. These directors understand that more engagement equals more growth (including revenue). We surveyed some tournament directors and coordinators that have experienced tremendous growth through better engagement and determined theses tournaments all have 2 priorities in common:

  • Real Time Information
  • Support the Entire Tournament Experience

First, let’s define the “audience”. Audience can mean anyone that follows your tournament including–teams, coaches, volunteers,  parents/friends/families, local community, sponsors, people not in attendance. Really anyone you engage with for your tournament(s) should be considered  “audience”.

Now that we have defined audience, let’s look at the benefits to greater engagement. Below is a list of some major benefits to more engagement:

  • Increased value for sponsors
  • More opportunities for new team interest
  • Higher revenue opportunities
  • Higher retention of current teams
  • Better tournament publicity
  • More growth opportunities

We could continue the list, but you get the point.

Engaged Tournament Audience

Engage your fans.

So what are ways to create better engagement? Every tournament director must focus on these two priorities:

  1. Real Time InformationOne huge gap for all audiences is real time information. Waiting on announcements, updates, scores, brackets, field/court information, and weather updates causes frustration.  Some protest, “This is the way it is,” as we’ve heard over and over from tournaments.  Yet, for tournaments experiencing more engagement and growth, they’ve broken away from status quo thinking and are using technology to keep people informed.

Tournament technology continues to improve, and as the industry matures it will only benefit you.  When using technology to provide real time information here are some things to look for. Does the technology:

  • Segment real time updates. Coaches and teams need updates different than long-distance fans. It’s important to communicate with the right audience at the right time.
  • Integrated technologyConnect all technology so you only have to update communication in one platform. (i.e. social media, mobile alerts, email).
  • Convenient CommunicationHave the capability to send information via email, text, and push notifications or all 3 at once
  • Standard and custom alerts. Send standard updates–scores updates, game delays, location changes, parking, weather, sponsor information, local information, etc. Send custom communication such as personalized directions to a new field or volunteer coordination information.

Again, by providing real time information you eliminate frustration and reduce the burden of the audience communicating with each other to answer tournament questions. Stop the tournament telephone game! Control everything with ease by leveraging technology platforms that produce better engagement, and also make life easier for you.

  1. Support the Entire Tournament Experience (both inside and outside the tournament) – Engagement also increases when you provide your audience more information about the community and ways to make their life easy when visiting.  You probably already provide your hotel partners and maybe some local eateries on your site or your tournament packet of information. Imagine giving all of this to your audience at their fingertips with maps, directions, and suggestions on things to do (another way to create sponsor value and revenue). Again, we know some of this is on your site, but the tournaments that have proven better engagement and growth, say giving this information to the audience at their fingertips has proved successful, and the feedback is incredible.  Some of the benefits include:
    • Give your audience suggestions on things to do during downtime
    • Directions and maps to locations (e.g. hotels, restaurants, attractions, car rental or other transportation information)
    • Sponsor discounts

Let your audience feel engaged and comfortable before your tournament even starts.  Allow your audience to get “grounded” in the community and watch engagement skyrocket. With this type of service your sponsors will be more interested in working with you to ensure audiences have them top of mind.

By using technology you can easily provide your audience with everything they need to have a successful visit during your tournament at their fingertips.

There are also things your tournament can do that don’t involve technology. Don’t forget the personal touch.

Make sure your volunteers and staff make it a point to interact with your audience, say hi, be friendly, help out in anyway possible. Sometimes the smallest things can have the greatest impact. This seems like “common sense”, that being said many audiences have experienced the exact opposite when being apart of tournaments. Don’t forget to friendly and appreciative of everyone in attendance.

Bottom line, the better the experience for your audience the higher the engagement levels and satisfaction you will see. More engagement equals more growth, and growth is always a good thing.

Pick one idea from this blog and implement it moving forward. Don’t judge the ideas until you have at least tried them fully and giving them a chance to work. Best of luck!