Another Friday… hope y’all have had a great week and are ready for whatever weekend events you have coming your way…
Last weekend was pretty busy for Stylehawk in Southern California. We had two jiu jitsu events… The first was the Nationals Jiu Jitsu Open hosted by North American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation in Los Angeles. For this event, we helped source the venue and provided consultation services along the way. The venue was a high school gymnasium operated by LA Unified School District. The district had some very stringent and unique insurance requirements that required a lot of attention. I imagine many high school and collegiate facilities will eventually adopt some of these same policies which included requests for high dollar amount aggregate coverage, abuse and molestation coverage as well as auto insurance coverage.
The other event we worked on was the Subversiv Pro Team Jiu Jitsu Tournament. This was a really unique event. In included a team jiu jitsu competition but was also a pro- cannabis event with both CBD and THC product on display and for sale. I admittedly, have very little experience in the cannabis world, but am interested in watching the industry grow and evolve. This event was a good opportunity to witness firsthand what that maturation process looks like. From an event planning perspective, the cannabis component provided new experiences for me; it was a great learning opportunity. Venues, consumers, municipalities and others are learning how to manage cannabis events and developing policy and procedure along the way. There is a lot of “gray” right now which creates unique challenges and anxieties.
For the Subversiv event, we were contracted to:
- Source the event venue
- Act as general contractor to source the following service providers:
- Bar service
- Private security
- Party rental equipment (tables, chairs, tents, carpet)
- Site services/ heavy electrical equipment (evaporative coolers, generator, portable light tower)
- Crowd Control Equipment (barricade)
- Credentials (wristbands)
- Event Management Services
- Credentialing system
- Security deployment instructions/ dot map
- Event diagram
- Event production rider including production schedule
- Sponsor/ vendor coordination
- Onsite event management
- Signage/ Wayfinding
Now for this week’s reading suggestions:
In the last Stylehawk Streamer, I talked about my relative inexperience in dealing with severe weather. I was not situationally aware and therefore reactive in my preparation for Hurricane Florence. Fortunately, the storm was minimally impactful for us and served as a great learning experience for future severe weather preparation. I came across this article in my efforts to increase my situational awareness. “The Event Safety Alliance® (ESA) is a non-profit trade association of live event industry professionals committed to eliminating unsafe behaviors and conditions throughout our industry.” This article is a few years old (Fall, 2016) but is a summary of the 2016 ESA Severe Weather Summit. The significant insights to take from this reading are:
- “Weather is unpreventable and universal… With no means of forestallment, one’s only course of action is to be prepared to respond when Mother Nature threatens.”
- Do not rely on conventional wisdom and use common sense when monitoring weather apps. Meteorology is a sophisticated science. Amatuer interpretation of weather data can be risky. Employ multiple sources and remain situationally aware. As an example, investigators studying the Indiana State Fair stage collapse found that event organizers were using a smartphone app to monitor the incoming weather. They misinterpreted the data which delayed the evacuation.
- Part of the event planning process is to have a weather plan included in the emergency action plan. The “Big 4” weather conditions include lightning, wind, rain/ flood, heat/ cold. The weather plan should incorporate a weather decision matrix which pre- establishes weather triggers and a corresponding plan of action. As triggers increase in intensity, so too do the responses. The weather decision matrix is specific to a particular event or venue because production specifics impact threat. The weather action plan needs to be well communicated in advance of the event and rehearsed… “Emergencies don’t follow a script… Your plan should not force you to, either.”
We recently published a 4- part series on developing a great guest services program. In reviewing our posts, I realized we skipped a step… The book Good to Great, talks about getting the right people on the bus and this is also true for sport event venues. The majority of guest services staff in a public assembly facility are seasonal or part time workers. Part time employees have different employment needs and expectations. In order to have a staff that effectively delivers on the organization’s service promise, the organization must create an employment situation that caters to the needs of its employees. Two critical components to managing an effective labor pool at a sports event venue are flexibility and succession planning. Many organizations make assumptions regarding employee priorities and wants. These assumptions are often wrong because they are coming from the full- time manager perspective. It takes deliberate action to meet the broad needs of a dynamic, part- time labor pool.
Truth be told, this article could have just as easily been posted under entrepreneurship. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, the ideas from this article will sound pretty familiar. I believe in this concept and struggle daily to live by it. The big picture take- away from this reading selection is, “success is a matter of going small and repeatedly doing only that which is important.” Busyness should not be confused with achievement. Benjamin Hardy said,
“Success isn’t that difficult; it merely involves taking twenty steps in a singular direction. Most people take one step in twenty directions.”
To further clarify the point, the article talks about living your life by “priority rather than being in a constant state of reactivity.” It also emphasizes that consistency and dedication is the path to success rather than big splashes and home runs. Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken are Hall of Famers… Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa are not.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a very popular social media influencer. As a small business owner, I understand the importance of client acquisition and have fallen in love with content creation (which is why you are reading this blog). Gary Vee has been critical to my education as I continue to grow Stylehawk and develop a voice. In this video segment, a caller asks Gary about how to market the National Racquetball League. Stylehawk specializes in sport events and we typically work with more nichey or alternative sports properties. This is because we target small and mid- sized event venues but also because these irregular event types take more creativity and vision to execute. Hosting a crossfit competition in an arena has more moving parts than just flipping on the lights and lowering basketball hoops for a basketball tournament. As such, the discussion about marketing a unique sports property is directly relevant to my client base. Unsurprisingly, Gary talks about creating unique content. He uses the term OTT which stands for “over- the- top.” OTT is “the delivery of film and TV content via the internet, without requiring users to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite pay- TV service.” Since I started Stylehawk, people often ask if there is enough work for me because I “have such a specific niche.” As part of this conversation I typically talk about this same sort of thing (although the term OTT is new to me too). It just seems that in a world of unlimited access to unique content, sports consumption will become decentralized. If you like racquetball… or jiu jitsu… or crossfit… or esport… or whatever… you can find it. For me, that means more interesting event opportunities.
One of my favorite sports venues in Orange County is the Momentous Sports Center. It is a sprawling sports complex located just off interstate 5 in Tustin/ Irvine area. The 136,000 sq. ft space houses 22 courts- each equipped with “low impact Haro wood floors,” basketball standards, volleyball poles and electronic scoreboards. The center is also home to a 400 seat restaurant that serves high quality, nutritionally balanced food with menus designed around an athlete’s dietary needs. As a bonus the restaurant also has an alcohol permit which is great for supporting concessions and catering services during an event. The large venue has parking for 1500 vehicles. The space is dynamic enough to be an amazing training and tournament location as well as an incredible spectator event space. Volleyball, basketball, cheerleading, martial arts and more!