11 steps to organize a successful sports tournament


Regardless of the sport, level of players, size and other similar issues, it usually takes the same main steps to organize a successful tournament.

We’ll detail them and give suggestions on how to proceed in each one.

It’s important to note that using a free tournament management software makes a big difference. You will optimize each step, reducing time and increasing quality, without paying for it.

These are the eleven steps on how to organize a successful tournament:

1. Plan your tournament

The planning stage deserves a lot of attention, if you want a level of excellence when organizing tournaments. Having all the information organized helps making accurate decisions and optimize time.

In addition, it helps ensuring that what needs to be done will be. Basically, this is the time to stop, think and put everything in writing.

This step can be done using tools like Word, Excel or pen and paper to make notes. A calendar is also required to plan your dates.

However, using a specific tournament system, you have everything you need in one place. Information is organized and standardized, helping you to focus on the most important details.

organize tournaments

With the tools in hand and the main people involved, the following items should be defined:

  • Name of the tournament
  • Ideal dates for the matches
  • Whether it will be singles, doubles, teams…
  • How many levels will be
  • Location
  • Partners who can help you promote your tournament
  • Potential sponsors
  • Subscription fees
  • The costs *
  • Profit estimate **

* Courts; balls; banners; trophies; shirts; bottles of water; towels; general and auxiliary referees; ball boys; court maintenance; water and any other expenses you may have.

** The number of players you expect to have registered X the subscription fee = tournament revenue. Revenue – the sum of all costs = estimated profit

Searching for sponsors is always important, however, if your estimated profit is negative, this activity becomes essential to make the tournament feasible. Sponsors can invest in exchange of advertising, with their logos on banners and shirts.

They can also help you reduce costs by giving discounts on products to be used in the tournament. Balls, water and shirts are some of those items that you can negotiate with sponsors.

2. Create your art designs

Having defined all the planning items, it is time to move on to a very important stage when it comes to organizing tournaments. Creating the banners and any other art designs of the tournament to promote it as clearly and comprehensively as possible.

There are basically two possibilities that vary according to budget, time and computer skills:

The first is to hire an agency or a freelancer- the most expensive option, however, with the greatest probability of having excellent graphic material;

The second is to do it yourself – low cost, but if you are not great with basic design tools, it might take some time and not get the best result

Remember to always put essential information into your tournament banners:

  • Tournament name
  • Location with address
  • Contact details: name, phone, email, website, social media
  • Registration fees, where and how they can be done
  • Levels
  • Dates
  • Other information such as gifts and awards

3. Promote your tournament

Now that you’ve created some cool banners, you’re ready to start selling subscriptions. Undoubtedly, promoting in schools, sports clubs and academies are the best way to get subscriptions for the tournaments.

However, the world is changing rapidly, and dissemination in the digital world is also very important. In addition to posting on your website and social media accounts, try advertising on the main channels where potential players from your tournaments are present:

  • Facebook – There’s no denying it, everyone is on Facebook
  • Instagram – Social photo network, ideal to display photos of their courts, tournaments and students
  • WhatsApp – Promote your tournament to all your groups and people who may be interested in your tournament.
  • E-mail – You should use a good e-mail management tool. Do not send emails to large lists directly from gmail or yahoo for example. Use Mailchimp, Sendgrid or another similar tool. These tools are specialized in managing large lists, guarantee a greater delivery of e-mails.
  • Leegues – Free online platform to advertise and help you sell subscriptions. It is also possible to send invitations by email, share directly on social networks, WhatsApp and do all the registration control.

4. Receive and organize subscriptions

You did the planning, created the banners and promoted it well. However, the process of organizing tournaments is only getting started.

The subscription process comes with a few problems: How to organize subscriptions received in different places? From people who paid online, from those who paid in person, or even those who will pay on the day of the tournament?

This is, indeed, a delicate step. If you are not careful, you might not to charge all players, double charge someone, forget to register a player and, consequently, leave him out of the tournament.

This is one of the best advantages of using a software like Leegues, it helps you out with all that.


Online subscriptions

They are automatically organized for you by tournament and level. You inform your preferred way of receiving, like you PayPal account, for example.

Players select the levels they will play and transfer the money straight to you, attaching the transfer receipt in the system.

You approve and / or edit them if necessary. Everything organized and free of charge.

Subscriptions received by you

To get organized, for each subscription received, you can include it in Leegues, inform the player’s level, amount paid and their time restrictions.

5. Generate draws – knock out brackets and group formations

The subscription end date is usually very close to the begin of the tournament. Therefore, you must be quick to generate brackets, match schedules, and notify players in advance.

The vast majority of people use two ways to draw brackets: Excel or paper and pen. Although they have been used for decades, we realize the following problems:

Drawing a correct bracket is not as easy as it looks. Its size changes according to the number of players. As well as the seed positions, players who must leave a match behind, and other particularities that delay this work.

If you are not a very capricious person, you end up making mistakes and having to redo the work several times. You also run the risk of making these mistakes and publishing a draw that doesn’t make perfect sense.

This is the coolest phase when it comes to organizing tournaments at Leegues!

tournament brackets

It is possible to generate draws with very few clicks, define the seeds and make any other changes you want. You define the format of each category, knock out brackets, group + knock out (round robin), or a single group where everyone plays against each other.

It is also worth mentioning that players should have easy access to all draws. Make sure everyone knows where to locate it, and that it is always up to date with scores, date and time of the matches.

6. Schedule matches

With the draws generated, it’s time to organize schedules. For this, it is necessary that the following information is gathered:

  • List of matches
  • Days, times and courts used
  • Player-specific time restrictions


7. Let players know about draws and schedule

After setting up draws and schedules, your players need to be notified. Calling one by one takes a long time. Therefore, inform the players, when subscribing, where and when you will be publishing your draws the keys. The best channels for making these disclosures are:

  • Your website
  • Email
  • Social Media
  • Groups and contacts on WhatsApp
  • Leegues

This is another area take Leegues can save you countless hours. When organizing tournaments on the Leegues, everything is automatically available for your players, and you have a tool to notify them by email of draws released. In addition, the day before each match, players receive an email reminding them of their match time!

Still at Leegues, you have a specific tool for sharing your tournaments on social media accounts and WhatsApp.

8. Organize the place

Remember to leave the place in perfect condition. After all, both known and new players will pass through it during the tournament days.

Make a list of the main things that should be done, check it before the matches start. Some of them are:

  • Banners and other advertising products properly positioned
  • Courts in perfect condition, floor, lines, net, scoreboard, benches to sit and referee’s chair
  • Clean bathrooms with toilet paper, soap and disposable towels
  • Water available to everyone
  • Food and drinks for sale
  • Enough referees, assistants and ball players
  • Draws and schedules available at strategic locations

9. Register scores

We finally got to the interesting part, the big day, when it all happens! This is when people interact and exciting matches take place.

For this stage, it is important that organizers have the matches information in a well organized way. A list of matches per day is required, with information such as:

  • Time
  • Name
  • Level
  • Whether registration is paid or not
  • A field to check for for attendance
  • A field to register the score of each match

tournament scores

10. Update rankings

Don’t let your tournament players become unmotivated. As soon as the tournament ends, the ranking must be updated.

This creates a greater sense of competition between them and encourages them to play your next tournament, in order to improve their position.

Basically, a ranking should contain the list of all players in the league/circuit ordered by placement. It should display each player’s score, and a breakdown of points per tournament, showing how the total score was formed.


Using Leegues, once you finish the tournament, you just choose the scoring format you are going to use. The system itself generates the ranking update in seconds, making it available to all players.

11. Get on top of the numbers

Last but not least, we have the financial side of things. After so much work, you want to know how much this tournament has earned you, right? To analyze the numbers well, have all income and expenses organized.

With Leegues you have the income from subscriptions automatically registered in the finance reports.

organize tournaments

You can also add other income and expenses you had throughout the tournament. You will know the overall profit margin, per subscription, per match played and more!

Ready to start organizing your tournament? Know more about the best free system to manage tournaments and leagues!


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