There are no golden rules or answers set in stone here, every Worlds is different and there are hundreds of ways of doing things the right way.
I haven’t touched on half of what hosting a World Championship is, but I hope this does answer some of the questions I have gotten up to, during and after Worlds in Copenhagen.
Host Application for Worlds
The first thing you should do, if your club is thinking about hosting Worlds, is to get your hands on the Host Application. It sums up the requirements nicely and will make it easier for you to get an idea if you want to do this or not. The Worlds Operating Committee (woc@.ifpa.footbag.org) will be more than happy to send it to you.
The second thing you need to do is to commit to the idea of hosting Worlds. First the core organising team have to commit to the idea and then you need to get the rest of your club to do it. Organising Worlds isn’t easy and it isn’t always a lot of fun. I would estimate that between us we spent over a thousand hours on Worlds even before it started. That is a big commitment and everybody has to sign off on it.
We were 5 in the core team and around 15 more volunteers. That is the absolute least you will need. Twice as many volunteers would have been great.
The skills you will need are the following:
- Graphic and webdesign
- Video editing
- Strong writing skills in a serious business language
- Two people with driver’s license and cars
- A problem solver
- People with big networks
- Experience running tournaments
A thing I would have done differently, if we had been a bigger team and knew what we know now, is assign some people to not work during week and only take care of the aftermath. The clean up, delivering back borrowed items, etc.
Getting the Venue
My tip on how to get an awesome venue for Worlds would be to become an officially recognized organisation. Obviously, how this is done and what you can get out of it varies from country to country, but here are some of the advantages you might get from it:
- Easier to seek grants
- Support from local government and municipality
- Ability to open bank accounts etc.
- Looks professional
- Tax advantages
Because FootbagDenmark is an officially recognized sports organisation, we can apply for indoor training facilities in Copenhagen. The municipality owns most of the gyms in the city and also the venue we used for Worlds. Indoor training facilities are not usually used much in the summer holidays which made it easier for us. We wrote an application to them. Here is the table of contents:
- Audience / Target Group
- Estimated number of athletes
- What is footbag?
- What can we offer you
- About us
After that there was a couple of meetings and then a contract was signed.
Sponsors and funding
When you have found the venue, you will have to raise some cash money. The player registration fees and donations will not be enough. It was about a third of what we spent AND we got the main venue for free.
We did not have a lot of success attracting sponsors and I think that could have gone better with a more focused effort by assigning one guy to focus solely on this. Preferably a person with telemarketing experience.
We did however have a lot of success applying for grants and funding from foundations. How things like this work of course varies from country to country, but it is definitely the route I would focus on.
One of the foundations had focus on development and implementation of socially beneficial initiatives and activities, the second one focused on supporting organized citizenry, research and social and cultural purposes. The last one supports activities and events that are helping to strengthen our district of the city’s social and cultural resources and which brings together citizens across social and ethnic backgrounds.
Getting media coverage was one thing we definitely failed at. Early on we got a lot of verbal commitments from print and tv media that they would like to cover it, however once crunch time came we were too focused on actually getting the tournament up and running and following up on these verbal commitments took a back seat.
A World Championship in footbag is definitely newsworthy and getting coverage should be possible. A way of avoiding our situation would be to have a person solely focus on this. The best would be if that person were a communications officer or journalist with experience in writing press releases.
Footbag lives in small pockets around the world and on the internet. During a very special week in late July or early August a big pocket appears wherever Worlds is hosted, but an important thing to remember is that there are still more people sitting waiting on updates on facebook or modified than actually at the championship. It is an important job for the organizing team to cater to them – not only because they are footbag but also because it makes the sport look much more professional if we have a strong online presence.
I think we took some good steps in this direction, with frequent updates in text, pictures and videos during the week, a great website and online streaming of the finals.
What I would like to see in the future is:
– Online streaming of all events (with commentary during Finals)
– Social Media Officers
This could be players that in exchange for not having to pay registration fee instead had to make X numbers of posts each day on different social media apps and websites.
I have more ideas in regards to this but I have to put some more thought into them.
Just to clear something up:
We considered prize money at Worlds but finally decided against it. We even considered only giving prize money only to Doubles Freestyle since we had a sponsor who for unknown reasons really were into that event.
Let me do some math that shows why I think that was a wise decision.
If we take every official event (except the masters net competition, intermediate competitions, golf and women’s sick trick since there was only two competitors), there are 16 events that should get prize money. This means 16 first places, second places and third places. 12 times the prize money is shared between two players because of doubles. So, if nobody got first through third in more than one event 60 players would get prize money. However only 34 players ended in the top three in any of the events. Let’s say number one(s) get 100 euros, number two(s) get 60 euros and number three(s) get 30 euros. That would add up to 3040 euros. That is a lot of money.
Where could we find that money? It is pretty much exactly the same same as it cost to give every (170+) players a free meal every day. Or it will would have been the same as raising the registration fee for over (170+) attendees with 50%.
So we decided to benefit 170+ players instead of 34.
Organising Worlds is a hard and often thankless job. It is also one of the best experiences of my life. It feels amazing to give a lot back to the community that has given me so much. Not only do I appreciate footbag and footbaggers much more now, I also feel like I know them much better and I even feel like I know my own strengths and weaknesses much better. Would I do it again? Maybe. Would I recommend others to do it? Definitely.
You are more than welcome to post questions here, if you questions you don’t want others to see you can PM me and I will answer to the best of my ability.
Written by Asmus Helms