Do you know how to run a wrestling tournament? A well run wrestling tournament can make a lot of money. If you are part of a youth wrestling club or your child wrestles for the high school wrestling team, a wrestling tournament is the biggest fundraiser you can put on during the year. Since I started creating wrestling websites five years ago, I have seen clubs that have lost money and I’ve seen wrestling clubs that made well over fifteen thousand dollars!
Let’s talk about some of the key components of a successful and profitable wrestling tournament.
Get Lots of Volunteers
Ever heard the saying it takes a village to raise a kid? The same applies for a wrestling tournament. You need as many volunteers as you can get. There are so many jobs that need to be done to run a wrestling tournament. Here are some typical jobs.
- People at door to take money
- Hospitality room
- Table workers
- Set up and Take down of mats
- Help with Brackets
- People to get food donations from companies
As you can see there is a lot to do! If you are running the club, I would force every parent to help. If they don’t want to help, then have them pay a buyout fee. I would suggest that fee should be around 50 bucks. This way they are at least helping the club financially.
Use Your Website to Create Wrestling Brackets
Creating wrestling brackets can be one of the most time-consuming parts of running a wrestling tournament. It can easily take someone two or three days to finish the brackets. It is one of the toughest tasks that a tournament director will take on.
If you have one of my wrestling websites, then you can use your website to create a blind draw or seeded tournament brackets. You can create a FREE site and try it out for 30 days.
Don’t Make Massive Changes after Weigh In
You will inevitably have changes that need to be made after weigh in. You will run into situations where you have no shows or a kid can’t make weight; a coach forgot to enter a kid, etc…
If you run a small tournament(less than 1000 entries), then you will need to make some minor changes. If you run a larger tournament or a seeded tournament, you need to set a deadline when no more changes are made to brackets.
When you start making changes, you need to resist the urge to completely redo brackets from scratch. There are ways to make bracket changes without making huge impacts on your timeline.
Start Your Wrestling Tournament on Time
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a wrestling tournament and it starts a couple of hours late. Starting a wrestling tournament late is the quickest way to make parents mad and I guarantee you will lose entries next year because you didn’t start on time. Once you finish weigh-ins, your number one priority is to start on time!
Make Sure You have Plenty of Food
Here is an area where a lot of clubs/schools mess up. Your concessions are a major source of income and if you don’t have enough food, you will lose money! It’s better to have too much food than not enough. Here are some ideas I would suggest. You have a captive audience that will definitely get hungry. Make the most of that opportunity and increase your profit.
Have Breakfast ready after weigh in – a lot of kids will cut some weight to get down to the desired weight class. After a kid weighs in, the first thing a kid (and parent) want to do is get something to eat. If you have good breakfast options, it is almost guaranteed you will make a profit at breakfast. If you don’t have breakfast food, they will find the nearest fast food place like McDonalds.
Have a game plan for lunch food – parents and kids will get hungry throughout the day. Make sure you have something for them to eat, such as pizza, barbecue sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs etc… If it is stuff you can cook yourself, then it’s even better. That way you can keep the right amount of food stocked.
Do not run out of Pop or Candy – Nothing is more irritating to a wrestling parent than trying to buy a pop or a candy bar and they run out. These items are cheap and have a high-profit margin. If you see that you are running low, be prepared to run to the store if you need to.
Ideas for Food
Looking for ideas to maximize your concession stand profits? Here are a few ideas to consider.
- Have a pancake breakfast. Wrestlers will be ready to eat right after weigh in. Pancakes are easy to cook and cheap to make.
- Hot dogs, Hamburgers, and Barbeque Sandwiches are always great sellers. They are easy to make. You can make them as you need them.
- Never run out of candy, chips, or pop. These are cheap enough that you can stock up.
- Ask local businesses to donate food. You’ll be surprised how many businesses will donate food if you ask.
If you need to purchase concession stand food, then Amazon is a great choice. We have done some research and found great products that would be beneficial to your concession stand.
Get Kids their Awards Quickly when a Bracket is Complete
At the end of the day when little Johnny has wrestled all day and just won his bracket, the only thing him and his parents are thinking about is getting the medal and getting home. I’ve been to numerous tournaments where I’ve had to wait for a couple of hours to get a medal. This is irritating and shows poor management. This is an area that can earn you brownie points if you do good or complaints if you don’t get them out quickly.
Keep a Notebook
You will notice areas that need some work the next year. Keep a notebook, so you can run your wrestling tournament more efficiently next year.
Additional Wrestling Tournament Resources
Running a wrestling tournament can be tough. You need to make sure that you have adequate supplies, volunteers, and equipment to run a wrestling tournament. Running a smooth wrestling tournament can be the difference between making money or schools/clubs take their teams to other tournaments. Here is a list of resources that you might find useful in running a wrestling tournament.
Wrestling Bout Sheets – The National Wrestling Coaches Association(nwcaonline.com) has numerous forms to help you run a tournament. There is a decent bout sheet on this page.
Wrestling Tournament Manual – Matthew Mercurio has written a great book that goes into great detail on how to run a wrestling tournament. He covers everything from insurance coverage, team registrations, concessions, hospitality, to handling awards.
Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Concession – this article is not geared towards wrestling, but it goes into great detail on how to run concessions for a tournament and make money.
Wrestling Ankle Bands – Not having enough ankle bands can slow down a tournament. Ankles bands are cheap enough, that you should make sure that you always have extra ankles bands to keep matches running smoothly.
Large Wrestling Bracket Posters – if you are looking for some really nice bracket posters to hand out during your awards, Worldwide Sports Supply has some brackets that look really nice.
Digital Scales – Having good digital scales for weigh-ins is important. Depending on the size of your tournament, it might be worth it to have additional scales to complete weigh-ins in an efficient time period.
I hope you enjoyed the article. Do you have a story about a wrestling tournament you would like to share? Do you have advice on running a wrestling tournament? We would love to hear from you. Post a comment and let us know what you think.
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