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Things to Do Now to Host an Amazing Competition in Coming Months

Throwdowns exists to help athletes connect with each other, train effectively, and compete to achieve their best.  If you’re planning to host a fitness competition during 2020, we want to help you organize and deliver it.  We want every athlete that signs up to compete with you to rave about their experience and be ready to sign up for your next one!

To help you achieve that, we’ve put together a list of things to plan in advance so that you can deliver a fabulous competition several weeks or months down the road.

Establish Clear Goals

At the highest level, you need to understand why you want to host a competition.  You could host a comp to help your box expand, or to help a gym member with medical expenses or disaster recovery, or to raise funds for a favorite charity.  Competitions can be used to enhance your affiliate’s brand awareness, to strengthen morale, and to celebrate fitness in your community.  Whatever your reason(s), make sure you understand your “why” as it will inform many other decisions.

scheduling your competition

Scheduling Your Event in the Setup Wizard

You also need to clarify your vision for the event.  How big do you want it to be?  How many competitors will you host?  What facilities do you have available?  These answers will also inform almost everything else that’s to come as you plan your comp, including where to hold your event (and whether it’ll be a physical event or an online competition), the types of workouts you can include, how many and which divisions you should have, and when to hold it.

One you have answers to these big picture questions, it’s time to dive into the initial stages of planning.

Start Planning Early

If you’ll be using an online qualifier to select and seed athletes, you should ideally start planning your qualifier several months in advance so there’s time to plan, announce, conduct, and use the results from it for your follow on in-person competition.  We recommend creating your online qualifier registration page five months ahead of your main comp, and holding the qualifier at least a few weeks before the main competition registration opens so you have time to send out invitations based upon the qualifier’s results.  For more information on how to create and use an online qualifier, including using its results to seed your main event by sending out easily managed invitations from Throwdowns.com, check out our separate blog post “Max-Out Your Competition: Throw a Qualifier”.

event planning
Whether you use an online qualifier to seed things or not, you should plan to create  your registration page for your main competition approximately three months before the competition is set to occur. You’ll need to think about how to build excitement for your registration open date, what sort of images to use to best market your event and how to convince competitors to sign up.  Other details you’ll want to start locking down for the registration page include divisions with their pricing and division caps, any additional information you need to collect at registration time (for example placement in the CrossFit Open if you’re using it to seed your heats without a qualifier, or maybe SWAG or merchandise information and deadlines), and any customizations you might need to make to your event waiver.

You’ll also want to plan for discount scenarios.  These can be used to achieve a great many things such as encouraging “early bird” registration, giving discounted or free registration to specific athletes or groups, and offering rate specials to try to fill divisions with lower participant numbers.  You should consider other ticketing options as well, perhaps a VIP level of athlete tickets, spectator tickets, and any other premium items you might want to pre-sell.

Prepare Sponsorships Three Months Ahead

Three months ahead of your competition is also a great time to decide on any sponsorship tiers.  Throwdowns makes it easy to integrate and highlight your sponsors in your event marketing and competition pages via the sponsorship kit. You should be talking with potential sponsors, and beginning to lock some in.  Similarly, three months out it’s time to identify and sign up day-of vendors that will help you with food and drink, body work, equipment needs, on-site apparel, and other athlete or spectator services.

If you’ve been thorough in thinking about the big picture, organizing and carrying out a qualifier if desired, setting up your registration page details, and identifying and signing up sponsors and vendors, you should now be ready to throw the big switch:  It’s time to open registration!

How to Open Registration the Right Way

We recommend opening registration about two and a half months before your competition. You’ll probably want to open it for athletes as well as judges and volunteer staff at the same time.

specifying registration open and close dates

Registration Open and Close Dates

Be prepared to promote that registration is open on your website, social media, and via email as well as flyers at your box and around your community if that makes sense. If you have sponsors, set things up with them in advance so that they’ll promote your registration via their channels, too.  If you planned any early bird special discounts, hype them up in your promotional activities.  And be sure you promote not just to athletes, but also to volunteers (it helps to have some volunteer perks, and to highlight them early and often!).

Next Steps for Your Competition

For more information on all of these steps, plus checklists for all of your top priority to dos and other details to consider from a couple months out through competition week and in the days after your event, please be sure and read our free “Host Amazing Competitions: The Guide for Organizing Successful Fitness Events.”

Start working through these steps now, and you’ll be in a great position to deliver a wildly successful competition in 2020!  When you’re ready to start, Throwdowns is here to help.

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