Author: Jackie Holbrook
Archery tournaments are a great way to bring like-minded people together. Whether archers participate in the spirit of competition or camaraderie, tournaments are fun for everyone. Family, friends and community members make connections as they share their love for the sport. As a bonus for businesses, hosting tournaments increases foot traffic and boosts sales. If you’ve never hosted an event, give it a try. It’s easy with the right resources.
ATA’s Event Planning Workbook helps archery shop owners launch and manage events like tournaments. The book is a step-by-step guide to making the event go smoothly and operate at a profit. It includes information on budgeting, building awareness, and equipment and supplies. Here’s some advice from the workbook in addition to other tips that will help you put on a profitable and fun event.
Partner with an Organization
Partnering with an archery organization is beneficial, especially when hosting your first tournament. Organization representatives can provide you with rules and regulations, advice and guidance along the way.
“Any shop that is licensed with the National Field Archery Association can host a sanctioned tournament,” said Erika Jones, the outreach project manager at NFAA. “The support provided by the NFAA for hosting sanctioned tournaments depends on the event. In the past, we have provided rebates for registered archers, target faces, scorecards and more for virtual events.”
By partnering with an official organization, you agree to host the tournament based on that organization’s rules. This is beneficial as it can attract archers who seek out these events, but it also means you’ll need to be prepared to understand the required target size, how to score each target, range layout and more.
To start, learn more about these national organizations by visiting:
Analyze Your Resources
“Hosting events is a great way to bring new and existing archers into your storefront, and advertising for the event in your community even brings awareness of your offerings to potential customers,” Jones said.
Hosting a tournament brings in money, but you will also need to spend money to make that happen. Before committing to the size and type of event, take a look at your resources. It’s also important to address your goals.
“Is your goal to make money, drive sales, attract new customers, increase brand awareness, provide a fun opportunity for community members or a combination of the above?” asks ATA’s Event Planning Workbook.
Understanding your “why” will help you take the next steps, like considering your capacity. If hosting an indoor event, how many archers can you accommodate comfortably in the shop and range? Is there a nearby outdoor venue that would be suitable? You will also need to make sure your range size follows the organization’s regulations. Also, consider different divisions, such as youth shooters or varying equipment that may shoot from a different distance. Any adjustments to the range will take time to execute.
Understanding your capacity limitations will guide you in setting limits on the number of participants. Capping the number may be necessary but can ensure a smooth shoot. It also allows for a safe and stress-free experience for everyone.
Consider the costs associated with the size of the event. You might need to buy permits, trophies, scorecards, targets and target faces, as well as print flyers/invitations and hire judges. You might also have to pay a fee if you work with an organization. The Event Planning Workbook has a sample budget guide that can help.
Calculating the costs will allow you to set an appropriate registration fee. Smaller competitions typically cost less for participants than larger events that require more resources. It’s never a bad idea to do a price check with other area competitions to make sure your fee is comparable. Also, check with organizations to see what they recommend or if there are rules for what can be charged.
You’ll also want to start looking for volunteers. USA Archery recommends speaking with club leaders, coaches, judges and parents. However, be sure to do this early because people have busy schedules.
Make sure you advertise your tournament on your social pages. Photo Credit: Koteewi Archery
Get the Word Out
People won’t attend if they don’t know about it. Before setting a date, make sure it doesn’t conflict with other events in the area like graduation, holidays, concerts, hunting season, etc. Once the date, format and budget are set, it’s time to get the word out. Be sure to do this several weeks, if not months, in advance — especially if you’re hosting a summer event, as people’s schedules often fill up fast.
Advertise your event in the shop, on social media, with local clubs and at any nearby ranges. Flyers should include the date, time, address, fee and instructions for how to sign up and where to ask questions. Note any organization partnership. Archery tournaments have the potential to attract new customers to the shop. If you limit awareness to just your shop and social media, you risk missing these new customers. If you’re capping the number of participants, this is very important to note on the flyer. People need to be aware that they might not be able to participate if they sign up too late.
Even before COVID-19 sent a lot of events online, organizations like USA Archery and NFAA hosted virtual tournaments. Such tournaments are an excellent opportunity for archers to experience the excitement of national events and compete with the best archers, all while doing it at their local pro shop. These organizations rely on the help of clubs and pro shops to host successful events. Virtual events take place over a set date range. Archers will come in and shoot in front of a host. They are also a great icebreaker for hosting tournaments because they’re cost-effective and a great way to learn the format before hosting larger events. Partnering with national organizations gets you access to their resources and information for rules, divisions, scorecards, age classes and more.
Make sure you're ready to accommodate the increase in foot traffic during the tournament. Make sure your shelves are stocked. Photo Credit: Hall's Arrow
Tips for Success
If you’ve never hosted a tournament before, some prep work will go a long way to help you be prepared. During the tournament, partner more experienced archers with newcomers to reduce the number of interruptions and questions. Shadow another club or shop to see the format, process and timeline.
Richard Johnson III, general manager and co-owner of Hall’s Arrow in Manchester, Connecticut, has been hosting tournaments for more than 20 years. In “5 Tips for Planning an Archery Tournament,” he encourages other shops to host tournaments as a way to bring in business.
“Increased revenue is the biggest advantage of hosting a tournament,” Johnson said in the article. “Not only from the registration fees collected but also because people purchase equipment when they are in (the shop).”
To use the free event workbook, log in to your MyATA member dashboard and click “Download Free ATA Resources.” Search for Event Planning Workbook.
If you have additional questions, please contact Nicole Nash, ATA’s range and retail programs manager, at (502) 640-0944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.