The world of sport event management stretches far and wide from the PGA Tour’s Ryder Cup in Sheboygan, Wisconsin to the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Auckland, New Zealand. Two major sporting tournaments featuring completely different sports literally halfway around the world from one another, with not much in common right? Well if you were able to sit the event manager down from each of them, you’d find that they deal with many of the same frustrating (and avoidable) challenges each and every year as they build out their events.
- Creating and managing credentials for athletes, media, staff, security, VIPs, and sponsors
- Tracking and managing assets before, during, and after the event takes place
- Providing media access amidst lockdowns and restricted travel, especially for international audiences
- Successfully navigating COVID-19 testing protocol to protect the integrity of your people and your event
- Onboarding and communication hurdles when working with all different types of constituents
These are all problems that have either been exacerbated by, or directly created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sports event managers and media teams were forced to face the unknown and call an audible on their event management strategy in order to meet the ever-evolving demands of the “new normal”.
Planning, managing, and executing a live sports event is a monumental task. Eliminating the unnecessary stress and complexity wherever possible is not only essential for your mental health, it’s also a way to increase the efficiency and profitability of your next sports event.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the four ways sports and media teams can transform their event operations to adapt in a post-COVID landscape:
- Streamline your credentialing process—authenticate, authorize and account for everything in one system.
- Simplify asset management to minimize overspend and manual errors.
- Unite distributed media staff and maximize reach with tools to aggregate critical content, replays, communications & alerts.
- Eliminate paper-heavy and manual processes to maintain COVID-19 protocols, mitigate risks and stay CDC compliant.
- Centralize and simplify onboarding & communication so that all your crucial data and interactions live in one place.
1. Streamline your credentialing process—authenticate, authorize and account for everything in one system.
Providing security for any sports event is absolutely essential. Without it you can, at the very least, put the success of your event in jeopardy and in the worst case scenario, end up putting high-profile people in harm’s way. That’s why it is critical to have a proper credentialing process in place to manage your people.
Sports credentials are the first line of defense for every event. This means controlling access points and managing zones for individuals based on their needs and and function within the event apparatus. Add in the additional pressure to effectively manage crowd flow to eliminate the health threats presented from exposure across crowded areas is even more critical. As the credentials manager you have to create an access control system in order to manage your credential types, and you need full autonomy over your printing and issuance of said credentials on-site. Without this control, you will run into serious problems when the inevitable last minute changes occur.
Major sports events involve thousands of people behind the scenes. For example, the Super Bowl last year had 1,050 people work to put on the half-time show alone, a fraction of the workforce they normally employ most years (due to Covid-19 restrictions). Each and every one of those employees has to be vetted and then issued their credential badge based on their specific level of access and applicable zones.
“What surprises us the most is when a client makes a large investment in credential operations, but lacks the proper vetting or distribution to know who receives a credential.” - Deborah Cahn Scott and Rick Scott of EC Solutions
What to look for in a solution
You need a dedicated sports management software that can serve as your database for all of your people and everything that goes into the credentialing process. A database that can handle all:
- On-boarding docs
- Requests & approvals
- Badge Printing & RFID Integration
There’s one software that does all of that and more, and it’s called the Lennd Event Portal.
"We are creating operational partner portals where they will be able to submit COIs, W9s, credentials, equipment, and supplies. Being able to request all of this information through the platform is allowing our staff to be more efficient with our time." - Nick Schling, Director of Operations at Century Club for The Farmers Insurance Open.
2. Simplify asset management to minimize overspend and manual errors
Once you have all of your people on-site vetted and credentialed, you need to make sure they have everything they need to get their job done. This is a muti-step process that must be managed from start to finish, from the initial request stage all the way through to the final buzzer.
Golf carts, walkie talkies, tables & chairs, signage, storage space… the list goes on and on for what your groups need. Trying to track it all with multiple spreadsheets and through endless email chains is messy and a recipe for under-ordering or over-spend. Either way, you end up with unhappy people on-site or unhappy people in the finance department.
It’s hard enough managing assets for thousands of people on site, but due to supply chain disruptions from the pandemic it’s become even more challenging. Assets like golf carts are in short supply, so knowing what you need accurately ahead of time is absolutely vital. Imagine there’s an injury on site, and you don’t have an available cart to get them off the field. That could prove to be detrimental to the player and their career, and to the career of the asset manager as well. Who knew a glorified go-kart could make or break a career in sports event management?
Eliminate room for error with Automation
Obviously you don’t want to go out like that, so if you’re in charge of assets you need asset management software in place to direct the flow of equipment. Lennd Event Portals allow asset and equipment managers to collect, review, and manage asset requests all in one easy to view place. From there you can access a real-time dashboard and run reports for exact numbers of items and verify who to whom they are assigned. No more discrepancies on-site, and no more wasted budget on over-spend thanks to the power of the portal. Centralization and automation mean less confusion and increased ROI.
3. Unite distributed media staff and maximize reach with tools to aggregate critical content, replays, communications & alerts.
As we’ve seen over the last year and a half, Covid-19 is becoming a regular part of life that we all must deal with. Lockdowns and travel restrictions, especially international, can happen at any moment with the sudden surge of a new variant. The delicate nature of in-person gathering presents an on-going conundrum for those in sports event planning.
For sports event management, this is a unique challenge specifically when it comes to providing sports media the necessary access they need to cover live events. If your media members are not able to cover your event, you are losing out on the publicity needed to fuel it’s reach. Fans live for their favorite sports and athletes and the inverse of that is also true. Sports, athletes, and their sponsors need fans or else our athletes are playing for nobody and no money. The fragile balance between athletes, fans, media, and sponsors becomes broken and the results for the live sports industry are devastating.
Of course, the loss of live event coverage has dramatic financial implications.
Bridge the gap between your teams with a virtual media hub
So with media dramatically limited onsite, how do you provide the adequate coverage they need to do their jobs?
When the PGA Championship decided to go on with their in-person tournament in the late summer of 2020, the caveat was that they had to keep the onsite personnel to an absolute minimum. So how did they do it? They used Lennd’s Virtual Media Hub.
The Virtual Media Hub provided remote media the ability to:
- Join press conferences
- Request interviews with specific players
- Watch interview replays
- Access transcripts from player interviews
- Receive real-time alerts & reminders via email or text
The result was unprecedented access to sports media members, arguably even greater access than they typically have in-person. There was approximately 50% Cost savings on overall media operations budget from the prior year and media, fans, sponsors, and the PGA were all incredibly pleased with the outcome. In fact, multiple major sporting events are making the Lennd Virtual Media Hub a permanent fixture of their media management software.
4. Eliminate paper-heavy and manual processes to maintain COVID-19 protocols, mitigate risks and stay CDC compliant.
The newest challenge to sports event planning is, of course, Covid-19 protocols. CDC compliance has naturally evolved over the last year and a half, and industry experts have had to do everything just to keep up. The initial shutdown was absolutely devastating to the industry as a whole and such dramatic measures must be avoided at all cost in the future.
Speaking of cost, Forbes estimated that the cost of the two-month long sports shutdown was at least $5 billion, factoring in lost sales of tickets, concessions, sponsorships and TV broadcasts.
But for most in sports event management roles, a failure in CDC compliance could result in athletes and personnel getting sick onsite and a huge backlash of negative press coverage tainting their event. The pressure is immense to do everything in your power to avoid this outcome, but with so many people traveling in from all over the world to participate… how can you possibly mitigate risk and liability?
Transform your processes from manual to modern
The key is to implement infrastructure for testing, tracking, and tracing for all of your athletes and behind-the-scenes personnel. A daunting challenge when you have no system in place, or you’re trying to build one from scratch. Thankfully, the Lennd Health Pass has you covered.
The Lennd Health Pass is a feature of the Lennd Event Portal, and functions as your best line of defense when it comes to Covid compliance on-site. It’s Covid-19 management software that’s built into your sports management software. The Dew Tour recently implemented it to tackle Covid-19 protocols just as the Delta variant had started ravaging the country.
Dew Tour's Director of Event Operations, Mary Rich, explained how they tackled Covid-19 protocol using the Lennd Event Portal and Health Pass, "We were looking for a program that had everything in one place, and Lennd was the answer to that. With so many moving parts, all the administrators, and constant changes to COVID protocols, Lennd’s features made it easy for us to stay on top of things. We would have been in over our heads with spreadsheets and physical paper copies."
5. Streamline onboarding and communication with any key constituent
Another huge hurdle that can be highly disruptive to the ultimate goal of a smoothly run sports event is onboarding and communication.
The problem typically originates within the depths of a clunky, disjointed workflow. Perhaps you collect documentation by instructing your constituents via email or text to upload the forms into a google drive folder. From there it needs to be manually entered into a spreadsheet, followed by a manual entry into an internal database. But of course, you realize you’re missing a key document, and now you have to sift through your email chain to see if you missed it or if they didn’t send it.
It’s excruciating, tedious, and some variation of this occurrence happens over and over at every single event. Oftentimes it’s not the event director’s fault, but it still ends up being their problem. This costs time, money, and sanity. All three of these resources are in short supply, even more so thanks to the never-ending pandemic.
Simplify and centralize onboarding and communications
Streamline all of your event's onboarding and communication within one single portal.
Lennd’s Event Portal is where you can issue and collect all of your documentation from your constituents in one place with the ability to track their real-time progress. From the power of the portal you can also communicate any message individually, or in bulk to all of your people. It’s simple, seamless, and satisfying.
The impact on your efficiency is a night and day difference from the troublesome systems of the past. When you eliminate the confusion and wasted effort you build a better event for everyone involved.
Imagine if you could…
- Create a more pleasant experience for your vendors, sponsors, athletes, and volunteers.
- Save money so you can stay on budget
- Save time so you can be more present and proactive throughout the event
- Gain peace of mind knowing that your entire sports event is right at your fingertips in one intelligent portal.
Being an event director is challenging enough, there is no need to purposely make it any harder. Embracing technology is essential… and inevitable. The Lennd Event Portal is the most comprehensive tool in sports event management when it comes to streamlining your onboarding and communication workflow.
Take Back Control With The Power Automation
Now is the time to focus on solutions, as Nick Schling, Director of Operations at the Farmer's Insurance Open notes:
"With the lapse in events it gave us a pause and the ability to determine what worked but ask if there’s a better way to do it. I've seen a greater adoption of technology and the need for a structured system to operate by is in higher demand. I think initially people thought the digital way would be hard for people to accept and comply with, but that hasn't been the case."
Find the new way forward and set yourself up for an incredible finale to 2021, and an even better year in 2022 by adopting a powerful and comprehensive event management software.
Adopting one centralized system will help you uncover new solutions to these common pitfalls holding festival and live event operations teams back.
No matter your sport, the world of sports event management is filled with difficult challenges that have become tougher in the face of Covid-19. If you’re ready to streamline your entire event operation into one platform, chat with our team today about the power of Lennd’s Event Portal Software.
Lennd is a technology company that builds infrastructure to help bring events of every size to life. From small music festivals to major conferences, sports gatherings and everything in between—event leaders across the globe trust our software to manage their event operations and provide their people with one streamlined experience.