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Before you start planning your event

Athlete canoeing in a river

Knowing your purpose

Before you get started on in-depth planning for your event or bidding to host an event it is essential that you know your purpose. 

What is the event aiming to achieve? Why do you want to host the event?

There are a variety of reasons why an organisation may consider hosting an event and once these have been defined and articulated, this information should guide many of the planning decisions and guide the organisation of the event. 

Some reasons you might consider running an event:

  • Promote an activity (sport) to new participants
  • Provide an opportunity to showcase an activity (sport) at the highest level
  • Provide an opportunity for competition 
  • Raise funds
  • Obtain media coverage 

The next key consideration is who is the event for? Who are you expecting to benefit from or participate in the event?

Your audience may be:

  • Local community
  • Members of a club or association
  • Elite athletes
  • Potential members
  • Spectators
  • Sponsors
  • Media

When you understand why you want to host the event and who the event is for, ask yourself is there another way of achieving that aim?

The next important question to consider is, is there room in the sporting calendar for your event?

For many sports the season is already full of activities, events and standard competitions. It is important to understand whether there is room in the calendar for your event or if event intends to replace an existing activity. For example, if your event is being held on the same day as a pre-existing or established event or activity is it going to achieve the outcomes that you are hoping for?

Concept Planning 

Managing an event (even a relatively small event) can be a complex task with many stakeholders (participants, volunteers, facility owners, local council, police, equipment hire companies, sports governing bodies, first aid etc.). 

Before committing to hosting an event there are a number of other questions you should ask: 

  • When will it be held?
  • Where will it be held?
  • What human resources are available for the event?
  • What financial resources are available for the event?
  • Who will be responsible for running the event?
  • Who else needs to support the event?
  • How will the event impact on others not attending the event? 
  • What benefits are you expecting from the event?
  • What are the barriers to hosting the event?
  • What legislative compliance is required for the conduct of the event?  
  • Is the event likely to achieve the objective?
  • Is there sufficient time for planning?

For more details about considerations see the NSW Event Starter Guide.

If you decide to proceed in hosting an event, it is advisable to set up an event committee with people from your organisation who are skilled and are who are willing to work on delivering the best possible event in addition to other roles they may already hold or seek new volunteers specifically for the event to create an event committee. 

Bidding for an event

Event Rights 

The rights to hold some sporting events are owned by a particular organisation (event owner) and offered to other organisations (hosts) to conduct on behalf of the event owner. For example, the rights to most ‘national championships’ are owned by the National Sporting Organisation and these rights are offered (in some circumstances) to State Sporting Organisations to host. The rights may be offered on an annual or multi-year basis or on rotation between Member Federations. 

The rights to an International sporting competition are usually owned by the respective International Federation and offered to National Sporting Organisations to host. 

Bid Timelines and Criteria

Organisations considering bidding for an event should understand the bid process, bid timelines and the criteria that will be considered for a successful bid.  This information can often be found in the published Bid Guidelines. For larger events, bids not demonstrating compliance with the Bid Guidelines will not be considered.  

The event owner often stipulates strict rules and regulations about how the event must be conducted, the duration of the event, what facilities are required, how entries can be taken, what additional services must be provided etc. Depending on the size and value of the event, rights fees may be required to be paid by the host to the event owner in order to secure the rights to hold the event. 

In some cases, event owners may retain the rights to certain components of the hosting of the event such as the appointment of technical officials or the right to sell specific sponsorship categories or broadcast rights. 

For any organisation considering bidding for an event, it is essential to fully understand all the hosting requirements stipulated by the event owner and to consider how these will be met. It is also essential to assess the costs associated with meeting these requirements and identify other organisations that will be required to provide support or services in order to meet the requirements. 

Prior to submitting a bid, it is very important to engage with any other organisations that are essential in meeting obligations should the bid be successful.

Major and special events often require significant government resources over and above what would normally be allocated by an agency in providing a public service. Depending of the size of the event, areas that may impact on other organisations or require support include: 

  • Transport
  • Visas (immigration requirements) 
  • Accommodation (the quality of accommodation specified and its location in relation to competition venues)
  • Security (private security or policing) 
  • Venue requirements (such as signage removal / clean venue requirements) 
  • Medical services (such as ambulance)

To ensure the success of any bid it is advisable to enlist the support of the local, state or federal authorities required to provide support in the pre-bid phase. 

The NSW Event Starter Guide

The Event Starter Guide is an online resource produced by the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet that aims to assist people in the community to navigate the many issues involved in organising events. In particular, those organising public, outdoor events in NSW should find this guide helpful.

The NSW Event Starter Guide contains information which may assist the initial scoping and planning of your event. This includes key documentation and legislative requirements, industry best practice suggestions, links to useful resources and organisations you may need to contact.

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