The success of any tournament depends on the quality of planning that occurs before the event. The following information is provided to the host tournament committee to aid them with the different steps required to successfully organize a basketball tournament at any level. The following checklists and tips will act as a reference point to properly plan your event from start to finish!

6 Weeks Before…
  • Build a Tournament Committee to assist with the planning and operation of the event.  One person shouldn’t take all of the following tasks on themselves!  A committee should be comprised of; Tournament Committee Chair – oversees all aspects of the event; Treasurer – prepares budgets, collects fees – registration and admission; Publicity - advertises an event, media contact, secures sponsors, etc.; Scheduling - prepares and circulates the tournament schedule and results; Facility Manager – secures gym, sets up facility including gate; Hospitality – coordinates a canteen and hospitality room for coaches and referees; Equipment Manager - manages different equipment needs including balls, score clocks, scoresheets, etc; Technical – communicates with referees and scorekeepers
  • Reserve gymnasium space.  Get the permit booked in writing to avoid any miscommunications or problems.  See School Division contact list.
  • Prepare a budget that will address all possible revenues and expenses.  Prepare for some cost overruns.
  • Make a list of the equipment required to stage such an event (basketballs, scoresheets, banners, signage, etc).  You may need to add some items to your budget planning.
  • Contact an appropriate Referee Assignor to ensure their availability and knowledge of the event (date, time, location, age level, etc).
  • Design and print tournament flyer and registration form.
  • Promote the even to the teams you are targeting.  Ask the WMBA office for a list of coaches at that age level(s).  
  • Register the tournament with the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association if your tournament is at the High School level.
  • If the tournament is NOT a school-based one, register it with Basketball Manitoba by completing our Online Tournament Sanction Form (coming soon).  All tournaments involving Basketball Manitoba teams require sanctioning prior to the event.  You must use MABO-certified referees at the event for the sanctioning to be approved.
  • Plan the tournament format.  Most tournaments run with 8 teams.  You can run your tournament with as many teams as you wish, but we suggest going with at least 4.  See our collection of Schedule Samples for assistance. 
  • Order awards for the tournament.  You will need to account for this in the tournament budget.  Ideas range from individual medals, trophies or certificates to team trophies and banners.  Contact an area trophy store to view some samples. Ensure that you get your order in on time to avoid last-minute rushes!
  • Develop a sponsorship request letter and circulate to area businesses and groups asking for support.  Different levels of support can include financial or products.  Focus on the items you need for the event to run and try to get them covered off by a sponsor such as awards or equipment.  This can also offset your tournament entry fee to make the event more attractive to join!
  • Meet with your Tournament Committee to ensure all their duties and responsibilities are on schedule.
4 Weeks Before…
  • Process registrations collected from teams.  Use a basic spreadsheet program (Excel) to properly track and register teams.  Provide a written confirmation of being accepted into the event (email will do).
  • Design and print publicity posters and tickets for admission
  • Contact qualified first aid personnel to be in attendance at the event.  Ensure they have proper first aid equipment.
  • If you are inviting teams from out of town, compile a list of accommodation options in your area.  A good start can be the Manitoba Hotel Association.
  • Meet with your Tournament Committee to ensure all their duties and responsibilities are on schedule.
3 Weeks Before…
  • Secure all the equipment required for the tournament and check their condition.
  • Draw up final tournament schedule.  Plan for possible last-minute cancellations. Create a waiting list of teams if you have an excess number of teams.
  • Send information package to participating teams (include tournament draw, dates, times locations, and specific details on the event such as changing room facilities, warm-up balls provided, etc).
  • Provide tournament schedule to the Referee Assignor you spoke with 2 weeks ago.
  • Follow-up with any secured sponsors to ensure support is still there.
  • Circulate posters and flyers to areas schools and merchants
  • Consider developing a tournament program.  Ask teams to submit rosters and produce copies for sell – can add to your revenue stream.  Use program as an option for sponsors to advertise in.
  • Meet with your Tournament Committee to ensure all their duties and responsibilities are on schedule.
1 Week Before…
  • Secure all awards
  • Obtain a schedule of referee assignments
  • Complete the program and get it printed.
  • Obtain products from sponsors
  • Ensure the referees are aware of any tournament rule modifications to be used at the tournament.  It’s best to provide this in writing to the Referee's Assignor and have copies for the teams and on-site at the tournament.
  • Prepare and circulate a media release announcing the tournament and arrange for game results to be included in their reports.
    Prepare a first-aid kit to be on-site at the tournament. 
  • Make final equipment check (including clocks, scoresheets, tables, chairs, team benches, etc)
  • Print a number of large ‘master’ draws to be placed in the gym area.  Update them throughout the event to ensure teams are aware of the schedule.
  • If charging admission or running a canteen, ensure you are well stocked with food and drink and have change ready for sales.
  • Consider hosting a ‘hospitality room’ for coaches, referees and volunteers.  Stock it with food, drink.  Most hospitality rooms are held in a classroom near the gym.  It allows for those involved in the event to take a break from their duties. 
    Meet with your Tournament Committee to ensure all their duties and responsibilities are on schedule.
During the event...
  • Plan on being there at least 1 hour prior to the first game starting.
  • Meet with your Tournament Committee to ensure all their duties and responsibilities are on schedule.
  • Complete all payments of expenses such as referees, awards, gym rental and other administrative costs.
  • Send thank-you letters to those who were instrumental in helping with the event (teams, volunteers, sponsors, referees, etc).
  • Review your budget and make notes for your next event.
  • Make a list of what went well and what needs improvement for your next event.
Other Information
Tournament Information Package to teams
The following items can be included in your Team Package.
  • Introductory letter
  • Accommodation price lists and locations (for out of town teams)
  • Tournament schedule and sites 
  • Restaurant lists and locations (for out of town teams)
  • Specific rule modifications 
  • City map
It is important to communicate with the head referee assignor as to the exact schedule of games and any specific game modifications pertaining to the tournament.  It is also wise to tape down a copy of the rules to the score table for quick reference through the event.

  • 2 game balls (ensure you have the correct size ball for the level of play)
  • Scoresheets & pens
  • Access to the school’s Scoreclock
  • 1 score table with 2 chairs
  • 2 team benches
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