A high school soccer tournament is an opportunity for young players to showcase their talent and get some well-deserved recognition. As an organizer, planning and promoting the tournament is a task that’s as important as it is daunting.
There is obviously a ton of prep that goes into making an event like this happen. So many things have to come together in the right way at the right time. But it’s definitely not impossible. And if you’re strategic about it, you can easily pull off something truly remarkable.
High schools typically have a limited budget when it comes to sports events. Therefore, the trick is to do as much as you can without breaking the bank. This guide outlines some important, cost effective organization and promotion strategies for you to host a winning soccer tournament.
How to organize your tournament
1. Create a budget
School administration will often ask you for an estimate for costs before they give you the money. Make sure the quote you give them is as accurate as possible.
Do your research beforehand, and try to piece together all the different elements that you’ll need to make the tournament happen. Individual prices can be ballpark figures in the initial stages.
Use a convenient online platform like Google Sheets to calculate your budget. Once you have all your numbers in the spreadsheet, add them up and come up with a figure for the budget.
2. Calculate individual costs
Once you have your budget, it’s time to see how much everything is going to cost. Talk to vendors and salespeople. Get a price quote on trophies, food, drinks, personnel, and any other essentials you require.
Once you have exact figures for costs, you’ll be able to gauge how much you can spend on non-essential items and if you need to cut costs anywhere.
Make sure you’re organized in your calculation, and that you don’t accidentally misquote numbers.
3. Create a tournament schedule
IMake a schedule for the tournament to get an idea of the things you’ll need each day. This will help you decide the timings of each event, and it’ll help you incorporate any smaller events that you need to.
All your other arrangements will be made based on your schedule. So make sure to get this right. This is also the schedule that you will be making public to your teams and to fans.
Making a schedule doesn’t have to be a hassle. Use PosterMyWall’s special sports schedule templates to create your schedule and customize it according to your requirements.
4. Choose a location
Most high school tournaments take place on site, especially if the school has a soccer field. However, not all schools will have a field big enough to host an entire tournament with multiple teams. You may have to budget for an outside location, perhaps a small local stadium.
Based on your budget, land on an adequate location, and then make sure to visit it prior to the tournament. You will have to make sure that everything is functional. The grass should be cut and neat. The bleachers should be painted. There should be adequate changing rooms for the players.
5. Find sponsors
Sponsors are a great way to get some extra money for your tournament, while also being able to gather some free publicity. Reach out to local soccer clubs or organizations looking to support young talent.
Make a list of all possible sponsors. Then prepare a pitch or a proposal that you can show them. Finally, email or call various representatives and set up a meeting. Even if you’re able to secure one or two sponsors, that should be good enough to help you run a successful event.
Do a quick google search to find potential sponsors. For instance, search for “soccer clubs in my area”. This will show you a list of clubs and their contact information. Note it down, then recruit volunteers to cold-call them one by one. In your call, you should talk about your tournament and what they will gain if they work with you.
Also find sponsors in your neighborhood. Decide on a day to visit local businesses. Make an elevator pitch to them (keep it short and straightforward) and give them your contact details so they can get back to you.
Conduct follow-up calls on everyone you reach out to every two days.
6. Decide the name and rules
Your tournament will need a catchy and appealing name to bring in sponsors and hype up fans. Spend some time brainstorming ideas, or get a couple of people on board to help you. You can even get input from students and get them involved in the process.
You’ll also need to put together a list of rules for your tournament. For this, do some research online and get help from the soccer coach at your school.
7. Arrange security
Finally, you will need special personnel to help with security of the tournament. You will have to assign security personnel to players as well as coaches. Bodyguards will also be needed for some crowd control.
How to promote your tournament
1. Put up flyers
Now that you’ve organized your tournament, it’s time to market it. And you can never go wrong with flyers. Use flyers to advertise the tournament all over the school, in neighboring schools, and in any and all public places.
Email digital flyers to soccer clubs and organizations, inviting them to the tournament. Put up flyers in parks, malls, and anywhere you think people will see. Just make sure to check with relevant authorities before you paste your flyers on public property.
Flyer making does not have to be a painfully expensive process either. PosterMyWall has incredible soccer flyer templates that you can browse through. Customize your poster template according to your tournament theme and make something truly amazing in just a matter of minutes.
2. Create a tagline and hashtag
The best way to create hype around your tournament is to have people talking about it, both online and offline. Make it easy for people to share posts and interact with your promotional content by coming up with a special hashtag.
Something inspiring like “#ItsNowOrNever” or “#ItsOurTimeToShine” will get people revved up for the team that they support. It will also give people an opportunity to root for their team on social media. Attach the hashtag to all promotional content, and encourage people to use it as often as they can.
You will also need a tagline for the tournament. The tagline can be a variation of the hashtag you use, or it can be something completely different. Whatever you choose, your tagline should be front and center during all promotional campaigns.
3. Get local influencers on board
Reach out to notable celebrities in your area and ask them to help you promote your tournament.
A good way to go about this would be to reach out to relevant celebrities, for instance, other big name soccer players in your area. You should ask these people to record a message wishing all teams good luck, or asking people to buy their tickets. Incentivise them with free tickets and local clout, or set aside some money for this in your budget.
Also, get a sense of the kind of influencer or local celebrity your students would get excited by. In fact, reel students into the process and ask them to do a local search for prominent faces to put on the promotional campaign. Students love being involved in extracurricular activities, and this would give them the perfect opportunity to use their vast pop culture knowledge.
4. Introduce online ticketing
Your goal should be to make it as easy as possible for fans to be a part of your tournament. Accessibility for attendees is a key feature of any successful event, and yours will be no different.
Instead of having to collect their tickets in person, fans should be able to buy e-tickets online from the comfort of their homes. This will reduce the hassle of buying tickets at the venue, and make it easier to keep track of ticket sales.
There are plenty of online sites you can use to sell your tickets. For instance, Billetto allows you to sell your tickets from their site, and keep track of sales all on one convenient platform.
5. Do a video promo
Make the tournament as personal and engaging for players and fans as possible. Shoot behind-the-scenes videos of players practising for the event. Have them record testimonials and their general thoughts about the tournament.
The more you post about the participants of the tournament, the more hyped people will be to see them perform on day one.
These videos don’t have to have a huge budget. All you really have to do is ask a student to film practise and testimonials on a phone or a small camera, and then post it to your social media. The more real a video looks, the better it is anyway.
This is everything you need to know about organizing and promoting your high school soccer tournament. And you get to do it all on a budget. So whether you’re a high school teacher or a student volunteer, implement these strategies for a smooth planning and promoting process.
The key takeaway here is to start your prep as early as possible. And make sure you don’t go over-budget. As far as promotion is concerned, the idea is to go big or go home. Use all avenues available to you, especially the ones mentioned in this guide, and create as much hype as possible around your tournament.