What makes a good sports event a great event?

The line between a sports event being a good one and a great one is often quite slight, but when the event is linked to your brand you want it to be well into the side of being a great event. An event that visitors will take memories from and tell their friends, family and colleagues. So, what makes a great event, and what makes an event a failure? We take a look.

Virgin Money London Marathon
Having recently visited the Virgin Money London Marathon, the first hand experience of a great event is fresh in our minds. With a sports event like this, the Unique Selling Points (USP) of the experience are major factors in making it so memorable. This event was impressive because of the truly unique setting of closed central London roads, passing by national landmarks, and as a spectator seeing tens of thousands of gutsy runners smiling their way around 26.2miles of pain and torture. What’s more, the event was really well marketed with a strong presence in all London media, and a lot of self-generated word-of-mouth promotion, signifying a successful and well appreciated event.

Tour d’Azerbaidjan
An event we recently worked on was the Tour d’Azerbaidjan, a sports event at the other end of the spectrum. The Tour d’Azerbaidjan is still relatively new and sees racing through relatively undiscovered terrain for most people. Plus, it’s in a country that little people in western Europe know much about. The scenery together with the exciting race action once again made for a memorable event to watch.

Sports event - Tour D'Azerbaidjan

Five elements of a successful sports event

On the contrary, we’ve all been to an event that has just lacked that special something, but what is it for you that doesn’t capture your attention? Lack of fun or excitement? Poor organisation? Is it the same as every other event of its kind?

  1. The five key points every event should have are:

  2. 1. Key USPs
    – these are the points that really make the event stand out from the crowd. Be it the closed London roads, a selection of household stars in attendance, or brands that wouldn’t normally exhibit their products to the public. Good USPs will leave an imprint in people’s memory.
  3. 2. Novelty – any exhibition needs to have something that gives the wow-factor. These moments, be it the chance for visitors to get their hands on a new product, or to see something they’ve never experienced before, will be what they take away and tell others about. This will help to spread the word and get visitors back through the door next year or spectators back in front of their TV screens.
  4. 3. Good planning – small details such as lack of signage and a badly thought out floor plan can lead to visitor frustration, which will in turn lead to bad feedback. Make sure you’ve thought about the small details as these are what make the difference. Details make perfection.
  5. 4. Good communications – people want to attend or watch events that are seen as popular, so they can go away and tell people about their experiences. Making an event stand out before the doors have even opened is all in the communications. To be specific, your event has to be communicated in the key publications that your target visitors are reading, and the event must have a strong presence on social media with engaging and interesting content that reflects what your event will hold.
  6. 5. Appealing – this involves a combination of aspects, including some of the above key points. You have to step back and look at your event and think “would I want to watch or attend? Why would I?” There’s no written rule on how to make your event appealing. But building appeal starts with USPs, exciting attributes and activities to see and do, strong branding and communications, and of course ambassadors talking about your event.

Get it right and people will come. When you get it right, you will have an easily marketable sports event that you can present to sponsors; you can show them how you’re going to make sure your event tick all of the boxes mentioned above. And, what their return on investment will be.


If you want any help in your event’s communications or PR please get in touch with us. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@wearepostman).