Updated June 2012
The Major Issues in the Staging of a Large IC Event
This document is designed to help those charged with the responsibility of arranging large IC events. It is intended for guidance only and each international club should adapt its use according to the resources available and the customs and culture of the country
It should be appreciated that the reputation of the IC is at stake when staging these events and it is expected that the management of the event be equivalent to that of achieved by the ITF .
Before starting arrangements, approval of date and duration is necessary by The Events and Player Liaison Sub-committee of the IC Council, so that the event fits into the International IC calendar. A 3-year lead time is usual for an IC Week , while 2 years is sufficient for Columbus/ Junior Challenge/ La Carreta and 1 year for other events.
The organisation would normally break down into the following main groups with a separate individual appointed to lead each one:
Finance , budgeting and sponsorship
Facilities, equipment, site(s), prizes, officials, tennis programme, Health and Safety, Insurance
Accommodation and Travel arrangements ,
Marketing communications, official programme and other printed matter, web content, photography, videoing
Press Officer for pre, during and post event media responsibilities
Entertainment, official and social programme/functions
The Steering Committee.
To be effective in progressing tasks within the headings above, it is absolutely essential to establish a small working group for each subject. The leaders of each of these sub-groups make up the Steering Committee.
A member of the IC Council or Executive committee or their delegatee should be appointed as adviser to the steering Committee.
It is important to ensure that task responsibility is shared, for two reasons
1. to prevent the same people from doing most of the work
2 to give more members satisfaction by being involved in staging the event.
The Tournament Director
An overall coordinator of the steering committee needs to be appointed, to progress activity of every aspect, pull the steering committee together and monitor progress towards the target date.
Finance , budgeting and sponsorship
Without finance in place the event will not run, so it is best to get the finance sorted (or plans to obtain it) at an early stage in the planning. Please note that to run a large IC Week it will take at least 2-3 years to organise and raise the finance.
These financial plans should then be sent to the Council at least 9 months before the event, for general approval (especially if the event qualifies for a Council grant).
Most large events will need to provide accommodation for their invited teams which is often the greatest expense. It is a good idea at the start of the financial campaign, to get the person appointed as the Accommodation and Travel leader to sound out likely hotels to establish what room rates can be obtained for a large booking. This will help you to budget.
The other main expectation of the participants is the provision of lunch each day, (usually by the issue of vouchers for food and drink) and two to three organised dinners in the evenings. A Welcome Dinner or Cocktail, an informal supper and a Gala Dinner later in the week are usual for big events. The informal supper avoids the need for each club to make a speech at the closing gala event, and with inexpensive and imaginative food and drink provided, gives an opportunity for clubs to say thank you, give gifts and ties and even entertain.
Each social event can always be individually sponsored if you can find a willing partner. Visitors also enjoy being free for a couple of evenings.
Looking through the totality of this guide , you should be able to pick out all the items for which you need to budget (unless you are doing something additional which is not normally done)
The expenditure items fall under the same headings as used in this guide.
When you have assembled all the elements and costed them, you will need to assess the viability of running the event. A Financial Controller should be appointed to monitor costs as the planning progresses into reality.
You will need a firm plan to raise the necessary income to be able to run the event. It is at this point that you should involve the IC Council.
This will be dependent upon the amount required. It can come from any company or organisation - your national tennis federation, or individuals, who can be given event publicity and recognition for their financial support.
It is not unusual for IC events to obtain help anonymous donors.
A number of sponsors should be approached and several should be signed up so that you are not reliant on one source of income (in case one has a serious financial problem later).
A binding contract should be entered into. This can be an exchange of correspondence. Quite large sums of money can be at stake.
Many of our major events now feature clinics for handicapped or underprivileged children. We encourage these activities to be staged, and they are also particularly appealing to companies as part of a “Corporate Social Responsibility” or “Commitment to the Community” programme. This may facilitate the finding of a sponsor and will improve the IC’s status for this purpose. Photographs at IC events can feature on corporate websites, or in company annual reports, which assist the sponsor in treating these contributions as part of their Marketing budget.
The list of benefits to sponsors needs to be tailored to fit each particular sponsor’s needs. However, they are supporting an organisation whose aims are :
· to encourage good sportsmanship and fairplay, particularly among young people
· to give handicapped and underprivileged children an enjoyable tennis experience
· to organise their events to a very high level of quality consistent with the image of the sponsor
· to have a willing army of unpaid volunteers to help
· to enable the sponsor or their clients to take part in some aspects of the event
· to promote the sponsors’ objective of being seen to be supporting activities as part of a Corporate Social Responsibility programme
You may have to be innovative to interest companies in sponsoring. For example, using your contacts to offer a package linked to seats at a local ATP event, or other sporting event, or participation in a pro-am, where the sponsor can entertain, or play tennis or golf with his client.
You now have the possibility of interesting sponsors by using the IC Wimbledon Experience packages available on the IC Council website. There is 2.5% IC discount available which can be either passed to the sponsor, retained by your IC, or built into a scheme of your own devices to encourage sponsorship.
The following grants are available by application to the IC Council:
IC Week - $6500 (over 12 teams)
Columbus - $3000(over 12 teams $3500)
La Carreta - $3000 (over 12 teams $3500)
Regional Challenges , per continent $1000 each
Finals - $3000
Potter Cup - $4000
Juego de Pelota - $2500
Others, eg centenary and special events - ad hoc, but generally $2000
Facilities, additional site/s , equipment, prizes, officials, tennis programme, social programme, Health and Safety, Insurance and Risk Management
The facilities are determined by the size of the event and the number of courts/golf courses required. You will need the exclusive use of a computer and printer for the referee/tournament director.
One of the key factors in choosing a site is its proximity to the accommodation. The closer it is the fewer the problems you will have with transport. Some very successful events have been run at Resort hotels which have courts and all accommodation on the same site.
It goes without saying that the standard of court surfaces and general facilities should be high and include such things as separate changing rooms (men and women) with shower facilities, centre tapes for the nets, singles posts (if applicable), sufficient chairs for players to sit at change of ends, water dispensers (or bottles) and proper backdrops as well as umpire’s chairs for the finals.
For courts such as clay and American Har-tru, which need maintenance at the end of each match ( or set), staff should be recruited to “dress” the courts as applicable. Lines should be swept at the end of each set.
It is also important to cater for viewing positions for spectators, with temporary seating where necessary. If in a hot climate, sunshades may be required for players at change of ends.
Tournament quality balls should be supplied ( recommend 4 per court, per match), as well as towels and drinking water. Stringing and physiotherapy services should also be made available to players, at their own cost. A designated Doctor should be on call
Each court should have stand-alone score system which can be changed by the players, thus keeping informed captains and spectators trying to follow more than one match at once.
Notices should be displayed on each court describing which countries/teams/players are playing.
Opening ceremonies can be included, with the national and IC flags of the countries concerned being displayed during the event, and/or on the major courts as desired.
Provision should be made for the banners and flags of ICs who may wish to bring their insignia with them, to be displayed at the facilities.
A practice day before the event should be included in the schedule, with a Captains’ meeting in the evening.
If there is a disability clinic, an indication of the role expected of the players who are taking part should be included in the invitation or programme ( this may become the norm for our events in the future – both adult and junior)
Where appropriate, an IC Sportsmanship award should be considered for junior events for which monitors from amongst the officials will be required.
This is dependent upon the category of event.
Most major events have a trophy. It is the responsibility of the last winning side to return the trophies to the Council in London or to leave them with the organisers for this purpose.
Normally the trophies are returned to Wimbledon for display during the year. The IC Council should be able to tell an organiser the whereabouts of a trophy. In some cases, the former winners may need chasing! Also, all results are on the Council Website so you can see who won the last event and contact can be made with the appropriate IC Sec or President to arrange for its safe return, if the trophies have not already been returned for display at Wimbledon.
In some cases a memento is created especially for the event for all players and this is very much appreciated by recipients. Remember to add these to the budget. Some clubs have provided their guests with a shirt or a bag in the colours of their club. These are very popular.
Because the IC spirit should prevail, official umpires are not deemed necessary, but they do make a final more official. This is an optional extra.
There are two appointments necessary: Referee and Tournament Director.
Rules for all competitions can be found on the IC Council website www.ic-tennis.org
If any disputes arise they should follow the procedures laid down in the document “Rules of the Council of International Lawn Tennis Clubs,” posted on the IC Council website and which have been circulated to IC secretaries.
The referee should be involved in the planning at an early stage and be consulted over the expected format of play expected. Please note rules of all IC competitions must be adhered to, or permission granted by the Player Liaison and Events sub-committee of the IC Council, to depart from them. A Captains Meeting is usually held the evening before the start of the event. It is desirable that the seedings and the draw of the events should take place , if possible, with the team captains present and certainly with the Council nominee present. In addition, the meeting should be used to confirm the rules of the competition and any relevant variation.
In the event of a dispute, the official IC Council representative at the event must be consulted and, if necessary, he/she will arbitrate.
Daily Captains’ meetings are a very useful means of ensuring that everyone is informed about decisions which affect them.
The referee should have a separate office and an assistant/or two (depending on the size of the event) whose job is to ensure that matches are started after the regulatory period of knock-up and that results are collected , entered and displayed for all to see.
The Tournament Director and his committee (which will include the referee and Council representative/s) should not only pull together the preparations for the event, but should be involved in the staging of the event full time while it is taking place.
If an IC has difficulty with player availability from their own IC, it is permissible to utilise players who are Honorary Members of their IC provided they were elected before the year of the event.
ICs can also combine to form one team and the Tournament Committee should encourage teams who are short of a full team of players to do this.
Printed Tennis Programme
An official programme should be produced by the Marketing sub-committee, containing the names of each member and reserve of the teams present, with a photo and CV ( and which would include a computer-generated document-insert for late team amendments), It should set out the aims of the event and include the names of all the sponsors with their logos plus the IC logo of at least the host IC, the colours of each IC and the IC Seal. This is a useful document to use both during and after the event (sometimes, to gain more sponsorship for the next one)
It should also and be circulated to all players involved. One of the key ingredients in an IC event is to ensure that everyone knows everyone else, despite the fact that different age-group players may be playing at various local centres. In many cases players’ paths will have crossed before and it is good to be reminded of names so that acquaintances can be renewed and friendships developed in true IC style.
This should also have details of local rules and conventions such as dress codes for clubs and for the social functions.
It is useful for a daily insert to be produced for the programme, giving details of the days’ matches, naming the Captains and players (after the Captains’ meeting for the first day’s play and thereafter daily)
The Social Programme
This is usually in the form of a separate letter to competitors and guests and includes details of functions for supporters and officials, as well as participants and should list cocktail parties, dinners and sightseeing tours with starting times, venues, transport arrangements, eating arrangements and finishing times. Sightseeing tours would fall into this category. Tours which finish late in the evening should be avoided.
The opening ceremony to welcome and present the teams and the prize-giving ceremony should also be choreographed according to the wishes of the host IC, by the Tournament Director in liaison with the remainder of the steering committee.
Throughout the event, volunteers manning Help Desks at the hotels and the tennis centres should be briefed to keep visitors informed and at ease. Notices of orders of play, tour starting times, changes in plans, messages left etc should all be posted on a notice board at the hotels and the tennis centre.
Health and Safety
It is advisable for someone to be appointed to oversee all aspects of health and safety for the event. He or she need not sit on the steering committee, but H. and S. implications need to have been studied. In the case of a problem arising in this area, it should be resolved by the person appointed.
Insurance and Risk Analysis
Injury liability and public liability insurances should, where possible be taken out for the event, if deemed necessary, otherwise losses will have to be borne by the host IC or the organising committee. The Council takes no responsibility for the actions and organisation failures of the host IC. Host ICs are recommended to tell all those travelling to an IC event that they should take out their own insurance for medical expenses, accidents and general travel insurance risks while they are in the host country. They can also seek to limit their liability to their guests but should ensure they have taken legal advice as to the effectiveness of such arrangements within their country.
There should also be a risk analysis of the event, which will show the downside risks of finance, security, cancellation, strikes, industrial action ( particularly, impact of flight delays), sponsors and player accident/injuries. There are probably many other areas to be considered, which will depend upon the specific event.
It is essential that one person is appointed “Transport Co-ordinator” as this is a very fraught area. If players or supporters are stranded in a foreign country, or at a facility away from their hotel, after a long series of matches, it can lead to bad feeling. It has been the experience of past events that no matter how good the catering, the tennis and lodging facilities , if transportation fails, the perceived reputation of the event suffers.
The transport organiser should maintain a close liaison with the transport company and group of volunteers selected to provide this service. Contact with the drivers at all times is essential (by mobile phone if possible) including coach drivers, to ensure that information on waiting times is passed to those awaiting transfers.
A back-up local taxi service should also be made available on standby, in case of the primary company failing at any stage.
The Transport Co-ordinator, or his staff need to be present at the point of all transfers – to “despatch”, to “count out”, to ensure no stragglers and to liaise with event organisers to complete the circle of information. This will inevitably mean shift patterns for transport volunteers.
Transport to and from the airport
This is an option that Clubs may prefer not to undertake. It can be done either by a professional “meet and greet” company ( they often have access to airport areas to solve problems – like lost baggage- which outsiders do not, but are expensive) or by a series of volunteers who have cars and are assigned to meet and greet specific incomers and transport them to their accommodation.
It should be remembered that tennis players carry more luggage than other travellers, so allow enough space per car, mini-bus or coach
During the event, information must be obtained by the Transport Co-ordinator, as to departure schedules for participants so that transport can be arranged accordingly and communicated to those concerned. There is always a rush for the airport at the end of an event.
Transportation to and from the hotel/ tennis facility
A large coach or series of coaches before matches and after matches is the most efficient way to transfer large numbers but the coach company also needs to be able to respond to times other than those scheduled in the case of sudden inclement weather. (Be aware that coach companies are very good at fitting in school runs between jobs at beginning and the end of a day and instead and they may be required by the Transport Co-ordinator urgently, during the afternoons)
Transport to and from the social events
This has to be arranged specifically for each event by the Transport Co-ordinator liaising with the captains of each team and can be carried out by either of the two methods above. Volunteer “dispatchers” and “counters” are always required to ensure no one is stranded.
Liaison with the organisers , the hosts of social events and/or the location manager of a social event is always essential as delays can be managed if people are aware. A stock of umbrellas on the transport ( sometimes available from a sponsor) is always useful on these occasions (for sun or rain).
A Catering Director from the host IC should be appointed so that everyone knows who is responsible and there is a central point of reference. This is an area where local volunteers are invaluable.
Lunches should be light and healthy so that players do not need a big delay for digestion purposes. They should be available until late afternoon as some matches take a considerable time to finish.
It is customary to provide each team member with a voucher to cover lunch and a drink. The voucher system works well as a means of controlling costs.
Welcome dinners or cocktails are up to the host to decide but the most important thing is that if a proper meal is not being provided, teams should be told in advance, so that they can make the necessary arrangements.
There may be sponsorship opportunities for both the above.
There may be a need for separate work groups to be appointed for each social event if the numbers are large as these take a lot of arranging. You will also need someone to take charge of each of the work groups.
Accommodation , Travel arrangements and Payment
A person from the local IC should be appointed to take responsibility for Accommodation and Travel arrangements
Because, bookings and travel are so inextricably linked, one person needs to co-ordinate both aspects for all teams.
Host ICs will require the participants to make their own arrangements to travel to and from the event.
For accommodation, most events should cater for team members , a reserve and a captain. This is , however, a discretionary area for each host IC. For instance the host may offer to pay for only one reserve or a non-playing captain but not both. ( Also check on rules of each competition on the IC Council website)
It is critical that there is good communication between the host and participating ICs on arrival times and this needs to be passed on to the hotel contact to ensure rooms are available at the intended arrival time. Where advanced payment is required for hotel deposits, whenever possible this should be arranged via the host IC.
If funds are required, there should be a limit on the time lag between payment and the event- suggested is minimum four months.
Terms and conditions of acceptance to an event should include a forfeitable deposit which , in the event of withdrawal, can be confiscated by the host against claims from a pre-booked hotel to cover expenses incurred.
Buying hotels rooms
Despite what you may expect , most hotels will not be interested in almost 100% occupancy by one client, partially because of the risk of cancellation and partially because they always want to keep rooms for regular clients.
From experience, the right size of hotel to approach for the best deal is one with 30% more rooms in total, than you require. Start by asking them what is their “rack rate” (highest rate). This shows you are aware that the full rate is only applicable to last minute clients and also infers that you know something about buying hotel bedrooms!
A guarantee of a large number of rooms can demand a very high discount, so start your negotiations with a very low offer. You can always go higher!
Teams will often be accompanied by supporters who pay their own way. It is important that a rate be negotiated for them as well and that clear instructions are issued to Honorary Secretaries so that they are passed on to those intending to support. The host IC should obviously not be held responsible for the reservations and payments of supporters.
There should be someone nominated by the hotel group to communicate directly with the team captains about dates and times of arrival /departure. It has been found useful to use a travel agent for this as they can then arrange flight changes when necessary. The travel agent may actually suggest alternative hotels for supporters which will accommodate different budgets. This is usually a messy business with many people wishing to change flights/rooms and dates at the last minute. Name changes also take place when teams have to change their players at short notice.
There should be a close working relationship between the person or agent finalising the accommodation/flights and the IC member appointed to look after Accommodation and Travel.
The hotel foyer is often an ideal place for a registration and information desk. Volunteers will be asked to man the desk to ensure that everyone has been checked in and that they have been issued with all appropriate information and welcome packs for the event. Times of play, catering, transport, useful addresses and contacts need to be described to ensure continuity.
There is also a need for the IC person responsible for accommodation to be at hotel checkout at the end of the event to ensure language problems and billing difficulties are surmounted.
It is not a good idea for the host club to be responsible for individual hotel bills. This is an area which frequently causes difficulty. Either the individual takes responsibility for his or her own hotel bill, or the team captain should do this for all members of the team. The first alternative is probably the safest. It should also be made clear on the entry form that all expenses incurred by any team member, apart from the vouchers and accommodation costs if provided, should be paid before leaving the event/hotel.
However, it would also be useful for one of the host team responsible for arrangements with the hotel, to be present at the time of checking out, so that queries can be explained and mutual solutions achieved.
Marketing, PR and Communications, official programme and other printed matter, web content
You will need a person responsible for marketing, PR and communications so that this can be maximised. A separate Press Officer is advisable.
The first part of the process is to issue and circulate the date of the event at the earliest possible stage, in order that ICs around the world can plan their trips (many of which are long distance flights/tours) and assess cost and their player availability. There are so many matches/events and tours on offer these days, it is difficult to get agreement from players if they have already committed elsewhere.
This can be done by email. A website or specific event web page of the host IC should be established at an early stage.
Your key organiser will be invited to attend the Annual General Meeting of the IC Council, in addition to your President, and this is a good opportunity to make a presentation about your event, canvas interest and keep Council advised as to progress.
The next phase is to issue and circulate a Data Sheet (and update the website). This should be updated at regular intervals before the event and should have the following details:
Name of event
Event Liaison person
Indoor back-up facilities if applicable
Date of Draw
Captain’s meeting date, time and venue
Accommodation, indicating how much of the bill, if any, will be paid by the host
Club restaurant facility and prices
Dress code for tennis
Tennis shoe restrictions (eg for indoor facility)
Social events/function list, cost and date/time of departure ( & cost for supporters)
Dress code for each social event
Fitness centre availability
Medical facilities (on-call local doctor to standby)
Racket restringing arrangements
Mobile phones restrictions
Contact information for officials and the venues
Entry details - entry closing dates, target numbers of teams, names of Captains (incl their email addresses) and team members, with CVs where possible, latest dates for supplying the above, costs of hotels (and room share with single supplements) date payments required. ( As an example, hotels may only need a captain’s credit card number for reservation, or they may ask for either a deposit or a full payment. The latter should be avoided where possible so that payment can be made at the end of the event) It is always up to the organising IC to get the best arrangement for their visitors
A check list for visiting teams may also be useful to them:
Gifts for hosts, IC flag, IC ties for presentations and formal occasions and a reminder of our wish to encourage predominantly white clothing.
As previously mentioned under Travel and Accommodation, an official programme should be produced just prior to the event as well as posters for local display to encourage spectators.
A final draft of all results should be prepared and sent electronically to The IC Council for archival purposes and future publicity.
Throughout the event and prior to it, the Marketing officer should act in close liaison with the Press officer.
Press Officer and Media
It is advisable to appoint a Press Officer , so that all details of the event are recorded before and during the event and reported to local and national newspapers and that stories/Press Releases are provided for all media - TV/radio and written press journalists . The Press Officer should also ensure that results are passed to the IC Council for their website and archival records. It is advisable to appoint a person, preferably from one of these professions, to do the basic groundwork for the reporting of the event.
A website or website page, needs to be established for the event if appropriately large enough and updated daily by a webmaster.
Sponsors, court-side banners and flags should be displayed sympathetically, bearing in mind the sponsors involvement in the event. It is essential also to think of the impact of these as the background to photographs
(accidental or posed) which will enhance the sponsor’s image and make him aware of your efforts to give him maximum exposure.
You may also prepare posters for distribution to interested parties to spread the message.
Throughout the operation the Press Officer needs to be liaising closely with the Marketing officer and the remainder of the Steering committee.
To have a video record is extremely valuable and serves not only as a record but has added value in soliciting funds for future projects.
Still photography is an important aspect of your event and if possible a professional should be allocated to the role. Do not underestimate the huge demand from players and officials to see reports and pictures of themselves in print.
Ideally, a photographer who can upload images to a website (password accessed by participants) is the best way to manage this. Images can then be purchased direct, without the event committee’s involvement. Sample images should also be displayed during the event , immediately after they have been taken. Images of each IC team are usually highly sought after and will in any case be useful to the organisers for IC archival records.
Social and Official functions and entertainment
You should appoint someone to be responsible for each social and official event, so that it can be co-ordinated in detail.
The staging of a Gala Dinner is not covered here in detail, as each function will be different. It is not a small job. If large numbers are involved such things as menus, drinks (local or otherwise) for toasts, place names, seating plans, microphones and the running order for speeches should be well-thought out, choreographed and prepared beforehand.
Usually, teams will want to sit together at the end of an event, to celebrate or commiserate with each other on the trials and tribulations of the matches. However, mingling time (with opponents or members of other ICs) should be allowed before and after the function. See page 5 for recommendations on how to choreograph “thank you speeches” and the presentation of honorary memberships by various ICs. If these aspects are choreographed before the event, (and communicated to Captains) it makes it easier to arrange on the night.
Other social events can include visits to local IC members’ houses, private dinners, sightseeing and boat trips, local custom displays, all of which will require a co-ordinator to make the arrangements and report back to the steering committee on progress.
During an event, a large number of seemingly small problems are bound to arise and solving these quickly makes for a smooth-running operation and happy participants.
This is because the volunteer is more likely than the visiting participant to know where to go or who to contact to solve the problem.
Depending upon the size of the event, a number of volunteers should be recruited to be available for various duties throughout the period.
There should be a volunteer co-ordinator appointed, who marshals the volunteers into teams, gives them the briefing as to their specific tasks and ensures that they are giving the correct level of service during the event.
In a large event, with many teams, it is sometimes more efficient to appoint a volunteer (or volunteers) to a specific team or teams. This builds rapport, is a single point of contact for all queries to be resolved and has been known to establish life-long friendships.
The number of volunteers required is usually underestimated by event organisers. To give an idea, in 1999 for the IC Week at Wimbledon, 39 teams were involved with 38 volunteers.
Volunteers can be recruited from all walks of life but if they are connected with the host IC ( a player or player’s wife) they are more likely to be effective. Volunteering is also a great motivator for club members, who are thereby included in the event.
Volunteer Transport car drivers can be non-tennis-connected, local men/women who have a good knowledge of the locality and route network.
I hope this has been helpful, if for no other reason, than to provide you with a checklist of subjects to cover when organising an IC Event. Some of the topics covered may seem daunting but, in our experience, can be overcome through a few willing helpers and without huge expense.
Good luck with your organising!
If you have any suggestions from personal experience, which may improve this document, please advise me and I will update it where required
Remember that you can always seek help and support from the IC Council members.
Julian Tatum firstname.lastname@example.org
IC Council website: www.ic-tennis.org
Appendix 1 Sample Budget
Court fees (including indoor back-up where necessary)
Social events/Sightseeing tours
Transport (to and from airport/ hotels/tennis centre/social events)
Referee fee/Umpires fees
Gifts for competitors
Flags and flag poles
Physiotherapy/Medical emergency cover
Disabled clinic costs
Difference between income and expenditure