Account Management

Showcase Game Manual


PART 1: WHY - What are your goals? Why put on a showcase game?

PART 1: WHY - What are your goals? Why put on a showcase game?
You need to be clear on your goals for having a showcase game. Ultimate games are generally showcased for two main reasons: to increase exposure/awareness and to generate revenue.

Reasons to Host a Showcase Game:
  • Highlight a top-level game
  • Shine a spotlight on a specific team, organization and/or division
  • Demonstrate high-level play for your community
  • Impress potential partners and sponsors
  • Broaden the reach of the sport

A showcase game provides value, and event organizers can charge for that value to generate revenue. Organizations can use the revenue to cover expenses, pay staff, provide funding for teams or local disc organizations, or donate to charity.

Potential sources of revenue:
  • Admissions or parking
  • Food and beverages
  • Merchandise
  • Advertising and sponsorship
  • Vendors
PART 2: WHO - Who do you want to showcase?
Organizers are faced with decisions when choosing which teams to showcase. Choosing the top-level teams may help draw the largest crowd. Organizers may, however, want to prioritize having an evenly matched game over choosing the highest-performing teams. Exciting games with closer scores can be more entertaining than a blowout.

Other fun options for showcase games may include:
  • Bringing an out-of-town (or even international) team to play a local team (athletes/team from abroad could add complications and costs, including transporation, housing and others)
  • Putting together an all-star team to compete against local competition
  • Creating a charity event with "celebrities" from the local community

Another choice to consider is what division(s) should be showcased. Youth, adult or masters?  Club or school-based teams? Female, male or mixed-division play? In accordance with our Gender Equity Policy, USA Ultimate believes representing both male and female athletes equally in either single-gender play or mixed-division play is important, demonstrating that there are opportunities for all to not only participate, but also to compete at a high level. USA Ultimate encourages organizers to showcase play that highlights all players, regardless of their gender identity, through similar presentations of single-gender and/or mixed-division competition. It is important for attendees, especially young kids, to see athletes who represent them competing in showcase game settings. People need tole models to inspire them to achieve.

Regardless of who is participating in the match(es), it is important to discuss expectations for behavior with players, coaches and officials ahead of time. Participants should be clear about the purpose of the showcase, as well as the audience, so they can play their important part as role models while providing the appropriate kind of entertainment. There should be clear discussions about expectations for language, game tempo, calls and resolutions, Spirit of the Game, media, timing and other important factors.



The first group that comes to mind when thinking about who will watch an ultimate game is the ultimate community. This group is already invested in the sport, interested in watching ultimate matches, likely to know the participants and will be fairly easy to convince to attend. This is a great way to leave positive impressions as well as strengthen community bonds.

In addition to the ultimate community, consider targeting other groups.

  • Under-Represented Groups: Perhaps there is a group of people in your area that is under-represented in your ultimate community.
  • Non-Ultimate Athletes: Is there an intramural league that participates in your area? Local colleges or universities? Summer camp or church organizations that have large groups of engaged students? Reach out to them to provide an opportunity for a group trip or team bonding event.
  • School, Athletic and Government Administrators: Perhaps you want to convince physical education teachers that ultimate should be taught in schools or government officials that you are deserving of more field resources. A quality showcase game can help with those efforts.
  • Friends and Family: In many instances, parents are involved with their children’s activities superficially, but they do not view them as recreational events or as possible athletic activities for themselves. Inviting them to a showcase game is the perfect opportunity for them to relax and enjoy ultimate from a different perspective. They will get a chance to experience all of the wonderful aspects of the sport and see just how grand in scale ultimate has grown.

Regardless of your intended audience, you should network and promote your game to the people that you want to attend. Consider promotions such as group discounts and complimentary tickets for family and friends of players. Promotions can build momentum and spur conversations as various groups help market the event to their members.

Players and Event Staff
You will need help putting on your showcase game.
  • Athletes: First and foremost, you need teams to play in your game. Perhaps you already have a home team to showcase; you still need to provide them with a quality opponent. Many showcase games are associated with tournaments that bring other teams into the area. Make sure the teams have distinct uniforms with clear numbers, so they can be identified.
  • Observers: While not absolutely necessary for any ultimate game, observers help the players manage a game, especially in a showcase setting. Their use of hand signals can help your crowd understand what is occurring on the field, especially during stoppages. Observers can be recruited via the Regional Observer Coordinators. Their names and e-mails can be found at If your game is filmed and you have commentators who are discussing the game, observers are very helpful in creating a smooth broadcast.
  • Access Control Personnel: Control the boundaries between the public and the location of the game, as well as between your attendees and your participants. While fences and gates are important to that effort, the points of access will need to be monitored by people. Choose people who can be assertive while also being friendly.
  • Security: If people should break venue rules or disrespect your boundaries (see above), having professional security on hand will help when dealing with those situations.
  • Medical Staff: USA Ultimate medical staffing standards can be found at Note that the number of people at the event includes spectators, not just players or staff. Medical staff should be on hand to handle pre-game needs, such as taping, as well as in-game injuries for the athletes. They also need to be available to help with any other medical situations that arise at the event in general, including with spectators.
  • Public Address Announcer: A public address announcer or announcers will keep your attendees informed about what is going on in the game. They can welcome the audience and relay messages (including marketing messages); introduce the teams, athletes and observers; relay observer calls; announce the names of playmakers (the players who pull, put the disc in play, get blocks, throw and catch scores) and more. Your announcer(s) should understand the sport, the rules for the game and observer hand signals. They should also learn about the teams and players in order to pronounce names correctly. In addition to providing team rosters and information, you should script some items such as welcome messages, introductions and sponsor announcements to make the announcer’s job easier. Your public address announcer(s) will be the voice/face of your event, so choose someone who is comfortable on a microphone, knowledgeable about ultimate and able to explain the sport to newcomers while not alienating others. Having a younger voice incorporated into the public address plan could help make the game more relatable to young athletes in attendance. Kids love getting on a microphone, but be sure they understand the need to speak appropriately.
  • Scoreboard Operator: A scoreboard operator is important to help keep the crowd informed of the time and score. Make sure this person tests out the system ahead of time and understands which elements of the scoreboard to use and not to use. If keeping time, be sure the operator understands when to start and stop the clock, and that they are in touch with on-field officials. Your public address announcer(s) can also be your scoreboard operator, but make sure they are comfortable doing both tasks.
  • DJ: A DJ will engage and entertain the crowd during down moments (before the game and during timeouts and halftime). They can utilize the public address system to play music (if you do, be sure to look into licensing) or assist with spectator games and giveaways. This is a role the PA team and/or scoreboard operator may be able to handle, but you may need some additional staff or volunteers for this role.
  • Spotters: In addition to the PA announcer, having one or two "spotters" will help identify players quickly and relay their names and numbers to the PA announcer(s). Spotters can relay information from the field via radio or use binoculars in the press box. 
  • Media: Utilize media to help you promote and broadcast your event. You can prepare, distribute and display flyers and signage at places likely to be seen by potential attendees (including social media channels). You can also try to promote with local broadcast channels (television and radio) and print media (magazines and newspapers). Broadcasting your game on television or the internet can be expensive (and can potentially reduce your attendance if people choose to watch remotely), but it is worth exploring. The media channels on which you promote the event may also be interested in reporting on it. You may want to have a writer on hand to do articles or features. You should also look into having photographers cover your event to go along with your written coverage.
  • Venue Preparation, Breakdown and Cleaning: You will want your attendees to enter a clean venue that is ready for the game. Therefore, have clean seating areas, clean and fully stocked restroom facilities and signage displayed, among other things. The venue may provide labor for cleaning before and after your game, but you will likely need to recruit people to set up and break down signage and tents. The venue should open at least one hour before opening announcements and the first pull, so plan enough time for setup prior to the gate-opening time.
  • Field Preparation and Painting: Have your field look sharp by keeping it properly mowed and maintained. To help make your field lines look clear and bright, paint them thicker than normal, so they are more distinct for your attendees and any remote audience. Also, painting over other, already existing lines on the field will make the field clear and distinguishable from other fields (soccer or football, for example). Painting additional lines and marks will help let players know where they should and should not be. Any paint used should be appropriate to the surface. The venue may provide labor and equipment as well as purchase the paint. If not, contact local sports teams to find out who paints their fields. If your surface is artificial, the venue may require you to provide insurance that your paint can be removed from their surface without damaging it. Some, if not all, artificial-field-surface paint companies will offer insurance providing that you meet certain requirements (example: using their paint and cleaning solutions).
  • Admissions StaffIf you plan on charging admission, you will need people to accept payment and/or collect tickets. They can overlap with your access control personnel. Be sure you have a written protocol for handling money, especially cash. Determine ahead of time whether you will accept credit cards or if there will be online ticket sales ahead of the game. A great website for handling online ticketing is

  • Vendors: Ticket sales are certainly not the only potential source of revenue from your game. Other sources include the sale of merchandise (discs, shirts, souvenirs, etc.), food and beverages. You will need people to help with all of these sales, especially if you are running them yourself. Otherwise, you can find external vendors to provide some of these services. Food trucks are an excellent source of "single-use" food for a showcase game. Be aware that permits will likely be required and that some venues may ask for fees associated with selling any goods inside the facility. Be sure to set up written agreements with vendors and negotiate a fair cut (10-20 percent of gross sales) or a flat fee with outside vendors.
  • Local Ultimate Organization: If you are not already working with or for a local ultimate organization, reach out to them to discuss your plans. See if they want to get involved. They likely have much of what you will need from supplies to volunteers. They can also help with licensing, handling finances, insurance and even promotion.

Additionally, your local ultimate organization may want you to do things in specific ways within the community for very good reasons. They will have experience which will help prevent mistakes, but more importantly, they also want to protect the reputation they have cultivated in the community. If someone were to run an ultimate event poorly, even if the local organization had nothing to do with it, their reputation could be damaged by association.

Volunteer Staff
With so much to coordinate, having a management layer of senior volunteers and staff could be extremely helpful. Potential roles for coordinators and volunteers can include parking, admissions, logistics, media, game management, observing, sponsor activation, vendor relations, media relations, finance and hospitality.
  • Find yourself a Volunteer Coordinator with whom you can work closely, but also who can work independently to recruit, train, schedule and manage volunteers.
  • If your site has limited parking or needs to be managed for other reasons, consider having a Parking Coordinator.
  • If you will be charging admissions, an Admissions Coordinator can oversee ticketing, payments and admissions personnel.
  • A Logistics Coordinator can oversee getting items where they need to be when they need to be there and ensure they are ready for use.
  • Consider having a Media Coordinator to run your social media and web presence, as well as get media attention before, during and after your game.
  • A Game Management Coordinator can handle caps, rules questions and other game situations. They can also be the liaison to the teams to keep them apprised of timing for warmup, introductions, play, caps and other information.
  • A Head Observer can recruit, schedule and coordinate with the other observers.
  • To help get sponsors, consider a Sponsorship Coordinator. They will need to coordinate with other key staff people to be sure sponsorship obligations are met by all parties. They can also coordinate branding, logo(s) and merchandise for the event.
  • A Vendor Relations Coordinator can help identify and contract food, merchandise and other vendors, and see that all licensing and other obligations are taken care of.
  • A Finance Coordinator can help with finance and accounting, including making and accepting payments and handling cash and change needs.
  • A Hospitality Coordinator can hire food vendors, organize a party and coordinate opportunities for the teams to meet with sponsors, vendors and fans.

You have access control and security personnel, but will they know everyone and who is allowed to be in what areas? Will the rest of your volunteers/staff know as well? Providing them with some sort of credential, wristband, specific shirt or the like will help distinguish your staff from everyone else. Paper/adhesive wristbands are probably the least expensive option, and because they are available in numerous colors, they can be used to differentiate athletes, attendees and volunteers/staff. Credentials (do not forget lanyards or similar) can also be produced inexpensively. Staff shirts are more expensive, but they make a nice keepsake.



PART 3: WHERE - Stadium

A stadium is a traditional venue for a sporting event, and therefore an appropriate place to showcase our sport. A rectangular field stadium (as opposed to a baseball diamond stadium) is an ideal choice for an ultimate showcase game, just as it is for the other sports that are contested there. Generally, a stadium will provide an organized space for competition, spectators, vendors and media/VIPs.


Important Attributes

No matter your goals for having a match showcased, a stadium complex will likely have several of the important attributes listed below:

  • Well-maintained playing surface which is best for the safety of the athletes and the quality of play
  • Stands or seating options that were constructed with good sightlines to the field and will offer the most spectators an excellent view of your game
  • Ramps and convenient viewing areas in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Lights so a game can occur later in the day, which may be a time when more people are available to play and attend
  • A scoreboard that can help your spectators keep track of the score, time remaining and timeouts
  • A public address system you can utilize to further keep spectators informed and enthused
  • Adequate parking and/or a location that is very accessible to public transportation options
  • A perimeter fence or barrier of some sort so organizers can control access to the complex
  • One or more ticket booths or points of entry for spectators
  • Adequate restrooms for spectators
  • Concession stands out of which food, beverages and/or merchandise can be sold
  • Interior barriers that serve to separate the spectators from the playing surface
  • Source of drinking water for the athletes
  • Locker rooms and showers for the athletes 
  • Benches and perhaps shelters/covers for the athletes, coaching staffs and support personnel
  • Press box with electricity and internet connectivity
  • Areas for videography: If you plan to have videography, consider where you would place your camera or cameras.



With all of the positives that might come with a stadium, there are a few items to be carefully considered:

  • Safety always needs to be the highest priority. Some stadiums will have walls, fences, elevation changes or trees close to the playing surface. Many stadiums will have permanent goal posts or goals. Be sure you can fit your field in the space and that any of the items mentioned are far enough (five yards is a good starting point, 10 yards is even better) from the playing surface and/or sufficiently padded.
  • Before signing a rental agreement with your venue, be sure you have the media rights you will need for photography, videography, broadcast and other forms of media. Not all venues will include those rights.
  • A well-maintained playing surface may also present issues. If the field is natural grass, it may be subject to a strict weather policy which could disrupt your event in order to preserve the condition of the field. If it is an artificial surface, it likely has at least some permanent lines and/or logos. While you may be able to utilize some permanent lines in laying out your field on the surface, the other lines (and logos) may be very distracting to the athletes and the spectators. Check with the field owner/operator about your options for lining your field. Some will allow painting, which makes a big difference for spectators. Some artificial surface facilities will allow this, but be sure to utilize proper paints that can be removed. Some paint manufacturers offer inexpensive insurance policies regarding paint removal when you utilize their paint and cleaning products. This insurance can be of great assurance to the field owner/operator. If painting is not allowed, or is cost-prohibitive, a portable field can be utilized. You will need to confer with the facility about using stakes of any sort that puncture the playing surface in order to hold down the portable lines. Sandbags are another option.
  • For athletes and spectators from the ultimate community, some adjustments from tournament style norms are necessary. For the athletes, the distance from the sidelines that the substitutes and others need to remain should be increased substantially to allow for clear sightlines for the crowd; five yards away from the field is a good place to start. For the spectators from the ultimate community, they are accustomed to being only a few yards from the action. In a stadium, they will likely be much farther back, even if they are in the front row. Many stadiums will even have tracks that surround the actual playing surface. You might consider shifting the field closer to the stands rather than centered on the playing surface in such circumstances.
  • Stadium rental could be expensive. That said, based on the positive aspects listed above, it can be of great value. Like all aspects of putting on a showcase game, an organizer will need to consider the costs against the benefits to determine if it makes sense for their game. Stadium cost will likely be among the largest costs (if not the largest) of a showcase game.

If you choose not to utilize a stadium, consider how you will replicate the amenities that most stadiums include. That could require a lot of separate rental expenses, including, but not limited to, scoreboard, public address, bleachers, lights and access control.



PART 4: WHEN - When should I hold the showcase game?

The ideal time to showcase a team and/or the sport can vary based on the schedules of participating teams and host stadiums. Having a club division showcase game in December, only two months after a team has finished its season in October, will likely mean the players and team are less sharp and will not put forward their best performances.

Factors influencing your decision must include whether the team is available and wants to compete. Going along with that is whether there will be a worthy opponent for them at that time. Team availability is one reason many showcase games are put on in conjunction with tournaments. Whether stand alone or part of a larger tournament, you will need to be able to describe what is at stake in the showcase game(s) to attract your audience. You will also want to host your game when you can draw a crowd. For that reason, put on your showcase outside of traditional working hours ─ in the evening or on a weekend. If you are broadcasting your game, it may be important to schedule it to maximize your remote audience. That said, generally speaking, weekend games are most highly attended.

When scheduling multiple showcase games, take into account other activities that might compete for the attention of your potential attendees. Consider their scheduling relative to one another to maximize exposure for all games, especially if the games will feature some differentiating aspects, such as different divisions (gender and/or age), a "home" team or an international team.



PART 5: WHAT - What will you need for your showcase game?

Equipment and Supplies

Discs – You will need to supply discs for the competition. Consider whether you will offer discs for sale to the public or provide them as gifts for your volunteers. Discs, especially custom discs with your logo, will take more time to acquire than most other supplies and equipment. You should check with your disc source early on to understand their ordering and delivery timeframes.

Cones or Pylons – You will need eight cones or pylons to mark the corners of the end zones. Additional cones can help demarcate areas where people should or should not go (player boxes and other off-limits areas, for example) but are not necessary.

Paint or a Portable Field – Make sure your field is lined properly. Does your stadium/field provider allow the fields to be painted? Consider where you will get paint or other lining materials appropriate for use on the fields. Discuss with your field provider if they offer lining services. If not, it is worth the time and money to find professionals to line your fields; otherwise, this can be a difficult and time-consuming task for volunteers ahead of your game. A port-a-field is another option, but you will still likely need the front end-zone lines and brick marks. On a football field that is already lined, the back lines of the ultimate end zones will be five yards deep in the football end zones (often just six or so yards from permanent field goal structures), and the ultimate goal lines will be on the 15 yard lines. Do not forget the brick marks.

Scoreboard – If your stadium/field has a scoreboard you can use, plan on doing so, as they are designed to be visible for all those involved. If not, you will need other ways of communicating the score, game time (e.g., running down time to caps) and timeout information. That can be done with other kinds of scoreboards and/or public address announcements.

Horns – A horn (and a backup) can be useful to communicate certain times, such as a cap. Some stadiums have them built in, but make sure to test them first. Regardless, having an air horn handy is a good idea. Air horns can often be found at sporting goods and boat supply stores. Be sure you have backups. Consider noise ordinances, depending on where you are.

Bathroom Facilities – Does your stadium/field location already have built-in bathrooms? Are they conveniently located, and are there enough of them? A good rule of thumb is one toilet per 60-70 people at your game. If you feel you do not have enough, arrange for porta-johns to be scattered throughout the field site. Also consider having hand-washing stations or hand sanitizer, as well as a backup supply of toilet paper on hand just in case.

Utility Cart – A utility cart will be necessary in the event of a medical issue, but it can also be used during setup and breakdown to help distribute equipment and water, as well as in other situations. Get the cargo-hauling type or utility cart or perhaps the convertible kind that either seats four or can fold down its back seats to carry equipment. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of gas versus electric; if your electric cart dies, you are down a cart until it can be recharged. A gas cart can be refilled, but plan to have extra gas on hand.

Radios or Walkie-Talkies – Radios, outside of a public address system, are a very efficient way to communicate with your volunteers/staff throughout the large area where your event will take place. If you do plan to use radios, be sure they are charged and on the same channel. Have backup batteries and/or the ability to quickly charge them available. Alternatively, cell phones can be used to communicate individually or to a group of volunteers, via text or similar applications. If you choose to use cell phones, be sure phone numbers are collected and distributed ahead of time. If you plan to use a group texting application, be sure everyone has that application and knows how to use it. Regardless, be sure you have a plan, the equipment and the know-how for communication around your field site.

Water – You need to make sure your teams (and potentially fans) can stay hydrated. Water should be plentiful and conveniently located, as ultimate players drink a lot of water. In terms of quantities, a good rule of thumb is 10-20 gallons for the athletes in your game. This can vary greatly depending on the weather, the size of the teams and the level of competition, so use this as a starting point. Have a plan for getting more water purchased and distributed should your supply get consumed faster than you anticipated.

Water is heavy and is often distributed in a utility cart. If you will be using coolers, be sure they are cleaned out beforehand. It is recommended that you use 5-10 gallon water coolers. Some stadiums may also have hydration systems you can utilize. If you do not have a portable water source on site, you may have to purchase your water. Try to get larger containers (e.g., five-gallon jugs) both for efficiency in distribution and to reduce trash. Other options include getting a water sponsor; perhaps offer free water alongside beverages that can be sold.

Be sure there is an option for spectators to stay hydrated. Concessions selling beverages is one option. If there are not concessions, be sure there are water fountains at the facility. Otherwise, provide water coolers for spectators.

Ice – You will want to have ice available, at least for your medical staff. If your stadium/field site does not have an ice machine you can use, find out where you can get ice and be sure to check on the location's hours. You will also need ice chests/coolers to store the ice (which, again, your stadium may have). If your showcase game will take place in very hot weather, you should also supply additional ice to teams and/or to your water crew to cool the water, and keep drinks on ice for your staff/volunteers.

Trash and Recycling – Make sure you have a plan in place to handle all trash. Are there bins at your stadium/field? Do you need to supply bags? Like with toilet paper, many event directors will have a supply of garbage bags on hand just in case. Will you need to collect the trash and recycling or will your stadium/field provider take care of it? Do you need to arrange for larger dumpsters to collect the trash and recycling? You may need to rent dumpsters and arrange for their pickup and delivery. It is recommended that you have trash cans around the stands, near the field’s sidelines and near bathrooms and concessions areas. Place recycling and trash bins in pairs, with clear labels on each; lone recycling bins will quickly turn into trash bins. Explore partnerships with local recycling companies who can help provide recycling resources if the local waste management company does not. Events can generate a lot of waste, and as an organizer, you have the capacity and the responsibility to help minimize that waste.

Tents, Tables and Chairs – These are often rented from the same company, so they are grouped together. Consider what you need. You should have some for a headquarters area, a volunteer rest area, athlete bench areas, a medical space, vendor areas, sponsor areas and sidelines. When considering your tent order, be sure to consult with the stadium/field provider about where the tents can go and how they can be secured (stakes/weights). The last thing you want is to be responsible for irrigation, power or sewage lines being damaged. You also do not want the wind blowing tents around, especially in a crowded space, so be sure they are secured if you use them.

Deliveries and Setup – Many of the items listed above will need to be delivered to the stadium/field site, and you or a designee will need to be on hand to accept delivery and place the items appropriately. For example, porta-johns and tents need to be set up in the proper places, and, again, you need to make sure tents are staked/weighted properly. Be sure you have thought out a plan and put together a map that can be used by you and others for reference. Utility carts need to be signed for before they can be used to help with your setup. They also need to be parked and secured in a safe spot with keys accounted for and secured.

Field and Other Signage - You and sponsors/partners will likely want to have signage on or around the field (see below).



Olivia Bartruff of Oregon Fugue scores in the 2015 USA Ultimate College Championship women's final.

Photo: Alex Fraser - UltiPhotos


2013 College Championships semifinal between Ohio State Fever and Oregon Fugue.

Photo: CMBT creative


The above photos, besides showing field signage, also illustrate a few other things:

  • Branded field with well-painted logo
  • Bright field, buffer lines and lines to help designate midfield and brick marks
  • Tents for the team bench areas (white tents) placed safely far from the field
  • Tent space for trainers and other event staff

Note that the tents are placed in such a way as to minimize the disruption of sight lines from the crowd. Also, note the lack of clutter on the sidelines. Team and player equipment is neatly tucked away under the tents. It is likely the players and observers also stowed water bottles under the signage (the teams often need to be reminded to keep the field neat and clean). The photo is taken from the grandstand/bleachers. This stadium included a press box that served broadcast, public address and other media needs, as well as organizational/headquarters space. Also not pictured are tents and spaces for merchandisers, VIP space and bathrooms. An Information Tent was also placed conveniently by the spectator entrance.

Other signage at your event could include:

  • Directional arrows (i.e.,ultimate game ahead, parking to the right and bathrooms to the left)
  • Labels for areas (i.e., press area and headquarters)
  • Restrictions (i.e., players/game staff only and media only)
  • Admissions (i.e., tickets here, pricing, and assumption of risk - see Liability and Permits section)

Basic Supplies – General tools –  such as hammers, screwdrivers, zip ties, scissors and a tape measure – and office supplies – such as paper, poster board, pens, scissors and correction tape – are helpful to have handy. So are garbage bags, sunscreen and extra toilet paper. You may also need to provide some basic first aid supplies for your medical staff, as they sometimes request to be provided with pre-wrap and tape.


Public address, scoreboard, lights

What is in your stadium's press box?

Is there already electricity? If not, you might need a generator and fuel (and a fuel can with extra fuel). You may need extension cords and power strips as well.

Is there a public address system? If there is a press box, you will need a public address system for announcements and also to play music. Check to be sure there is a microphone, either wireless or with a cord long enough for you to reach the devices, inputs or power sources you need to run it. Test the microphone in advance so you know it, and the speakers, are working. If there is not a public address system at your field site, you will need to arrange to get one. Be sure to set it up safely to minimize the possibility of people tripping on cords or being injured by heavy equipment (speaker stands can often be set at various heights, and lower is safer as conditions get windy). Again, be aware of noise ordinances surrounding the facility as some locations do not allow amplified sound.

If the stadium has a scoreboard, where is the control unit? Locate and test it to see what you can do with it. You will want to keep score, but you might also be able to use it to display timeouts and game time (consider that some scoreboards can only show double-digit minutes and seconds, meaning a maximum display time of 99 minutes and 59 seconds). You may also be able to display the teams' names or cities on the scoreboard.

Does the stadium have lights? If so, where are the switches? Whether the switches are in the stadium or elsewhere, make sure you know how to turn on the stadium lights and how long it might take for them to illuminate the field. It can take a while for lights to warm up, so be sure they are on before you actually need them.



PART 6: OTHER - What else?


There are risks in running events beyond the time, money and other resources you commit. Safety should always be at the forefront of planning any event where players, volunteers, attendees or others can become injured or ill, and where property can be damaged. It is your responsibility to minimize the risk of injuries and damages by taking steps to prevent them. It is important that you make good decisions that will protect not only your participants, but also you and your event staff from financial, legal or other ramifications.

On that note, the following list of risks will not be complete; this is meant as a starting point.  You will need to consider the risks that apply to the showcase you will be hosting. Understand the risks of what you are undertaking completely, as they are unique to your event.

Liability and Permits – Even when all best practices are followed, injuries can and will happen. For that reason, you will want to reduce the risk to yourself and your fellow organizers with appropriate insurance. Many facility providers and some vendors will even require it. USA Ultimate offers its own insurance as part of its sanctioning program. Please visit for more information.

For similar reasons, as well as to ensure you do not end up getting shut down, determine what licenses or permits might be needed to run your event. You do not want to run afoul of any local requirements that would put your event at risk, such as noise ordinances, field permits or vendor licenses.

Venue Safety – Safety is of paramount concern. Thoroughly inspect your entire site. Make sure to scan the field for broken glass and the like, as well as potential built-in hazards like sprinkler heads, utility access covers, walls or fences and other on-field or perimeter hazards. As noted, goalposts should be removed or padded if removing them is not possible. If goalposts are removed, make sure the holes in which they were secured are safely covered or filled in. Look for missing stairs or railings in the bleachers. Consider where you might need to run wires or cables through areas where attendees will walk, and take steps to cover (e.g., mats, rugs or tape) or mark (e.g., cones, tape or flagging) them safely. Again, safety should always be at the forefront of planning your showcase.

Your attendees will be assuming some risk in attending your event, and you should make them aware of it by including language to that effect wherever tickets are sold. That language should also serve to release you from liability associated with those risks. Many events also include assumption of risk or release of liability language on the back of the tickets themselves (reference the Release of Liability Sample Language appendix).

Weather – You need to have a clear understanding of how weather, especially in your specific area, can impact your event, both in terms of safety planning and contingency planning.

Wind can not only be a challenge for players, but also a safety concern. Ensure that tents are secured appropriately, dependent upon field complex rules related to staking or weighting down tents. This applies to tents that are assembled by a rental company and tents put up by your staff. Please reference the USA Ultimate Wind Policy for more details on planning for wind safety.

Immediately stop play if lightning is in the vicinity. Refer to the USA Ultimate Lightning Policy for guidance on when and how to stop play. More facilities are installing and utilizing lightning detection systems. If that is the case at your facility, be sure you understand how it works, what the facility policies are and how you and the facility will together manage decision making about lightning. Should a lightning delay occur, everyone at the event should know both where they can go to be safe and how you will communicate updates. There are many apps you can download to help you keep track of potential thunderstorms.

Likewise, you will need to consider heat and humidity conditions, specifically in regards to what types of players are at your event.  For instance, 90 degrees with 50 percent humidity (95 on the "Heat Index") may feel extreme for many players, but for athletes well-conditioned from playing in hot summer climates, it may be a relatively cool day. For more information, check out USA Ultimate’s heat-related recommendations and requirements at

Weather conditions can cause cancellation, re-scheduling or abbreviation of your showcase. Be sure you understand the facility’s policies on closing the fields due to weather or field safety concerns and that they are spelled out in the contract with your venue owner. You should communicate with your attendees about cancellation and refund policies. That can be done with signage where tickets/admission can be purchased, and it can also be printed on the tickets themselves. Many of your costs will likely not be recoverable due to weather cancellations. If attendees understand that up front, it will help to avoid confrontation and/or confusion later.

You should consider taking out an insurance policy that will cover your costs should your event be cancelled due to weather or other unforeseen issues. If the weather on the day of your showcase turns out to be especially inhospitable, your fans may decide not to attend, which could result in a large financial loss.

Equipment – Consider the kind of work associated with your event, including the use of tools and the movement and setup of equipment like tables, water coolers and tents. Be sure you are considering the safety and abilities of the people taking on these tasks, including their age and physical fitness. You should only let appropriate people (licensed drivers who are not under the influence) operate any golf carts/utility vehicles (reference the Utility Cart Operator Agreement appendix).

Medical – Injuries can and will result from competitive ultimate being played. Even on the best fields, athletes will get injured. For that reason, and because other injuries can happen, be prepared by having the appropriate medical staff and equipment at your showcase. Remember to calculate for your attendees when you are deciding on your medical staffing (as the medical staff link notes, include the number of spectators when thinking about the size of your event) for your showcase.

Food and Beverages – It is your job to minimize the risks of other injuries and illnesses occurring at your showcase and at any associated events such as a party, dinner or reception. If you are offering alcohol, abide by local laws and follow best practices around how it is obtained and served. Be sure to secure any necessary liquor licenses or permits. IDs should be checked, and people should not be over-served.

If you are arranging for food at your event, be sure to research and follow applicable health codes. Keep in mind that if you want to have food vendors at your event, they also need to have the appropriate permits and should provide you with proof of liability insurance, naming you as an additional insured. It is always best to err on the side of caution with health codes.

Youth – If your athletes include minors, there are some additional risk management and safety measures to consider. USA Ultimate’s requirements are outlined here. They include having a background-checked chaperone for each team that includes minors, as well as having parent-signed waivers for every minor. Chaperones are also responsible for carrying a medical authorization form for each minor in their care, as well as other responsibilities. It is also important to be familiar with and implement Safe Sport guidelines. The aforementioned requirements and more are covered in additional detail on the USA Ultimate website.

Finances – How will you handle the finances for your showcase? Be sure to check on whether taxes will be owed on any sales or income. You should give this careful consideration. It is a good practice to keep these finances independent from personal finances to avoid commingling of funds. You may be taking on additional liability by accepting funds into your own personal account. If you are not already affiliated with a league or organization, consider doing so, or consider forming one, so event finances are handled through an organization’s account. If you cannot find a partner, you should investigate setting up an independent way to manage finances and risks separate from you as an individual.

If you will you be accepting cash for admission, merchandise or concessions, you will need to have tills and appropriate change. The rounder the numbers of your prices (be sure to factor in any sales taxes), the easier it will be to have/make change. If you have multiple tills, having a finance manager can help collect funds and distribute change as needed. Also, if you will be accepting credit/debit cards, you will need the equipment and internet access at all of those points of sale.

 Emergencies – In addition to the possible risks mentioned above, you should plan for how you might deal with potential emergencies that could arise during your event, such as dangerous weather, medical issues, a missing child, a bomb threat, a suspicious package or an active shooter. You will need to both inform you staff ahead of time about your emergency plans and communicate efficiently with them should such an emergency occur. Be sure to include your public address announcer in your planning. They may need to calmly convey appropriate messaging to the crowd in the event of an emergency.



Consider all aspects of your budget: revenues, sponsorship, budget relief and expenses. Crunch the numbers carefully to determine if it makes financial sense to have your showcase game.

You need to consider whether there are opportunities to generate revenue other than just ticket receipts. Sponsors, advertisers, merchandise partners and food vendors may be able to generate revenue or provide budget relief. Keep in mind that relationships with partners should provide value to the event, not just to the partner. Sponsorship deals can be created that provide a package of exposure benefits to the sponsor (e.g., website, event guide, signage, booth, on-site sampling, public address (PA) announcements and naming rights). Selling advertising piece-meal is another way to include smaller or less-invested groups but is not as efficient as sponsorship deals. Food vendors and merchandise-partner deals should be based on either a percentage of sales or a flat fee. Be sure to include a minimum guarantee in your partnership agreement.

Partners can provide money, value-in-kind (VIK – donated or discounted items or services), labor, supplies (discs, water, ice, etc.), discounts (bars and restaurants might provide discounts to your participants and possibly a percentage back to the event) or entertainment (a band that needs a live audience). Remember, budget relief is just as good as cash, provided it is relief for essential items you were going to pay for anyway. If a partner is providing VIK that is not providing budget relief, be sure they are actually adding value to the event.

Once you have an idea of what revenue might be coming in, consider how much money will need to go out. You will need to have an understanding of the costs of your stadium and any other facilities, your rental equipment, your labor, food and beverage, awards and gifts, supplies and social events (reference the Budget Expense Categories appendix and the Equipment and Supplies Checklist appendix). Those are the broad categories, but you will need to delve into the details.

Take observers as an example. If your showcase will be using observers, you will need to think about money for their transportation, housing, food and perhaps a stipend. Factor in taking care of volunteers and other event staff, including snacks and beverages, meals, thank-you gifts or even stipends for higher-level staff. Often, it is possible to get volunteer assistance from a partner organization in exchange for a donation to their group. Do your best to know your expected costs early on, so you can budget appropriately.

Another cost to consider is sharing revenue with the athletes/teams. While the teams might be able to benefit in indirect ways, such as exposure and the experience of playing in a stadium setting, it is not unreasonable of the teams to expect to receive some payment and/or profit sharing since their play will be the attraction for fans. At the very least, you should consider expenses being incurred by the teams, especially out-of-town teams who will have travel and lodging expenses.

You should then consider how much profit you want your showcase game to make, or looking at it from another perspective, how many paid attendees do you need to make the event produce the expected profit? If that number of fans is x and the total expected cost (including your modest profit margin) for the event is y, then should your admission price be y divided by x? Probably not. A better practice would be to give yourself a buffer in case you do not get that many fans or in case your cost estimates turn out to be low. If your showcase admission cost sounds high to you, it probably is. You need to reconsider your budget, so you can draw fans at a reasonable ticket price. If you later find your profit was more than you expected it to be, you are in a good spot and can decide the best use for that money.

Marketing and Media 

A showcase requires a show, and that means getting a crowd to come out and see the show. If you want it to be successful, you have to let folks know about it; no one comes to an event they know nothing about. As soon as you are able to, you will want to announce your event. Be sure to include in your announcement the teams, site and date. Do you have sponsors? Do you have hotels locked in at a great rate? Do you have a great ancillary event to discuss, like an instructional clinic? Do not forget to include your policies around cancellation and refunds.

A web presence is a must. USA Ultimate sanctioned tournaments have a basic website template to convey information through, including name, dates, competition schedules and information, travel and lodging, fields and directions, logos and more. USA Ultimate sanctioned tournaments are also featured on the tournament calendar at

Take advantage of message boards, calendars and networks to get in touch with your prospective teams. Be creative and make a splash on social media. Make your announcement fun and worthy of being "liked" or "upvoted." The more creative your message, the more likely it will be shared and seen by those you want to see and consider it. You can answer questions over social media as well, but give careful consideration to your posts. You do not want to find yourself dragged down by an ongoing social media conversation of minutiae when you could better focus your energies elsewhere.

Additionally, consider exploring other ways of generating publicity for your showcase, like radio, television or posters. What sort of coverage do you want your event to receive? Do you want your showcase to be broadcast/streamed? Do you want to hire or otherwise credential photographers and other members of the press to write about your event?


Destination Marketing Organization (DMO)

DMOs can be a huge help in running an event. They can offer services such as scheduling of your showcase with the facility, hotel room blocks, marketing and promotion to the community, maps and visitor guides, food and beverage, and grant funding, among others. Do yourself a favor and at least explore those options with the appropriate DMO.

DMOs are usually a convention and visitors bureau (CVB) or sports commission. If you have not worked with one before, you might be wondering what they will want from you, what additional work they will put on your already full plate and how much they will cost. Well, here is a pleasant surprise for you – they exist to help you!

DMOs want to bring visitors and their dollars into the community, and if your event will do that, then it is in their interest to support it. Any out-of-town fans might want to eat, shop and/or spend the night in the area of your showcase.

DMOs can identify and assist in the stadium reservation process. These groups have working relationships with local facilities and can not only help you identify your options, but can often help with negotiating access, scheduling and pricing on your behalf. They will likely also know about other events that might be going on in your area, which could either create conflicts or opportunities for your event.

DMOs are experts on the hotel and lodging market. They can find out from the hotels about their availability and pricing for your timeframe. They can even help negotiate a room night rebate with the hotel(s) and/or CVB (often $5 or $10 per room night) and/or complimentary (comped) room nights (one per 15 to 30 are common comp rates). Some DMOs even have grants available that may help your showcase budget in several areas, including, but not limited to, stadium rental, marketing and transportation.

DMOs can also help with restaurant and other entertainment options. A frequent question event directors get is, "Where can my team go out to eat together?" Even if you know something about nearby options, your DMO likely knows a lot more.



Besides finance and insurance, another area where you might need some expertise is contracts. They are usually authored by attorneys for one of the parties and will reflect that party’s interests. Odds are, you will enter into several contracts related to your event; among them will likely be ones for stadium/venue reservations, team agreements, hotel room blocks, rental equipment like portable bathrooms, utility vehicles, tents, entertainment and security.

It is in your best interest to have someone with relevant expertise review these contracts. An attorney of your own is definitely worth considering, or at the very least, someone who understands the fine points of the specific agreements, so you do not find yourself entangled by something like a hotel’s attrition clause in a room block agreement. Do you want to pay for rooms that went unoccupied during your event because you guaranteed them (that is pretty much what an attrition clause binds you to)? Probably not. Many contracts have language in them that can be removed or otherwise altered or amended. Remember, a contract is an agreement between two parties, so it needs to contain mutually agreeable terms. As often as possible, enter into contract discussions from a position of strength. If you have options, and someone wants your business, they will be easier to work with than if they know they are your only option. You also want to be reasonable because you are creating a partnership for the event. It does not hurt to ask for changes, and it is not binding until you have signed it.

What agreements should you have in place before announcing your showcase? Your venue and your teams. You should, at the very least, have a document confirming the stadium is yours for your date and an understanding of the price. Be sure to consider and communicate any setup/clean-up time when reserving your fields. Be sure your contract includes language about cancellation policies and the impact of cancellations on deposits and refunds. In your contracts with vendors, try to get mutual indemnification language included, or get named on the company’s insurance policy. (Note: This can be tough for field providers, especially from government organizations, but it is often possible with other partners and helps share risk and responsibility.)

Try to maximize your own flexibility while minimizing the other party’s flexibility within your agreements. Contracts can give you leverage and assurances. If you communicate to fans about your event before you have the site confirmed, what is to stop the venue owner from changing the price for the stadium? The same can be said about the room rates with hotel room blocks for events that will require some teams to stay overnight or with rentals for tents.




Equipment Return and Payments – Be sure to pay attention to closing out the final details of your relationships with those who may have rented or loaned items to you. Be prompt and professional in your dealings. As stated before, disclose any damage that may have occurred, and make whatever payments you might owe on time, if not before.

Vendors – Even if you were able to thank your vendors in person before the end of your event, thank them again after for partnering. Talk to them about final sales data and whether they enjoyed themselves. Check in with them on when you might receive any commission or other payment due. They have likely been to many other events, so ask them about yours, including ideas and constructive criticism.

Partners – Talk to other partners, and prioritize your venue provider as these were key relationships for your showcase. Find out how the event was for them. Is your provider pleased with the condition and cleanliness of the venue? Are your sponsors pleased with the exposure or sales they got from the tournament? Again, ask them for ideas and constructive criticism. Start and end these conversations by expressing your appreciation.

Staff and Volunteers – Be sure to express your gratitude again to your staff and volunteers. Hopefully you or your volunteer coordinator have already distributed whatever gifts you had to these folks, but if not, try to get those distributed soon after. If you have other items to distribute, such as any leftover merchandise you are not going to try to sell, consider sharing them with your staff. Be sure to get feedback from your staff as well.

Athletes and Fans – In conversations with others, you have collected a lot of feedback, but do not overlook the need to thank and get feedback from your paying customers as well as the athletes and teams that competed in your event. Make use of internet survey tools (e.g., SurveyMonkey and Google Forms). These tools are valuable for identifying trends in the feedback from a large number of respondents.

Evaluation – You have collected a lot of feedback, so be sure to evaluate it. How did things go?  Are there elements that folks really liked? What are some key areas that could have been done better? How did the showcase do financially? Did it meet or exceed your projections? If not, where and why did it fall short? How do you feel after running your event? If you haven’t already announced your plan to run or not to run the showcase again, now that you have evaluated the feedback and finances, you can better make that decision. Before you announce that you will hold another showcase, be sure to speak with your key partners and staff members, so you will have your fields and personnel.




Budget Revenue Categories

Event Revenues







Sponsors and Vendors


Food and Beverage








Hotel Rebates


VIK (Value in Kind)


Budget Expense Categories

Event Expenses






Meeting Space

Rental Equipment


Utility Sarts


PA System












Video Set-up Requirements


Water Coolers/Ice Chests


Storage Truck













Field Lining and Supplies


Logo Design and Painting










Food and Water

















SOTG Prizes


Player Packs


Staff and Volunteer Gifts/Discs/Shirts







Office Supplies






Game Discs


Medical Supplies


Observer Supplies


Trash/Recycling Supplies


Field Signage (both marketing and directional)












Event Guide/Program




Equipment and Supplies Checklist

  • Discs
    • Competition
    • Merchandise
  • Gifts
  • Cones/Pylons
  • Field Lines
    • Paint and lining equipment OR
    • Portable field and staples or sand-bags/weights to hold them down
  • Scoreboard(s)
  • Field (and other) Signage
  • Horns
  • Portable Toilets
    • Toilet Paper
    • Sinks and/or Hand Sanitizer
  • Utility Cart
  • Radios
    • Chargers
    •  Batteries
  • Water
    • Coolers
    • Water Source
  •  Ice
    • Coolers
    • Bags
  • Trash, Recycling, Composting
    • Bins
    • Bags
    • Dumpsters
  • Tents
  • Tables
  • Chairs
  •  Storage Space
  •  Basics
    • Hammer
    • Screwdrivers
    • Zip-ties
    • Scissors
    • Tape Measure
    • Paper
    • Poster Board
    • Pens
    • Scissors
    • Sunscreen
  • First Aid Kit and/or Other Medical Supplies
Volunteer Roles and Descriptions




Suggested # of People

Field Lining and Logo Painting

Measure/lay out corners; paint. 

Note: This should be included in facility agreement or hired out if at all possible.

1-2 days before event (plan to finish 1 full day before event)


Athlete and Staff/Volunteer Packs

Assembly and organization of participant/volunteer packs

0-1 day before event


Pre-Event Field Setup

Put up signage, cones, tents/tables/chairs and other materials.

0 or 1 day before



Water Cart

Keep water stations filled with coolers of water/ice; use utility carts (must be 16 with driver’s license); involves heavy lifting.

2 hours before game time through end of game


(1 cart)


Monitor trash and recycling receptacles; clean up sidelines and other areas; empty receptacles as needed; sort as needed into dumpsters.

Note: Some facilities provide staff for trash/recycling.

1 hour before game time through end of day cleanup

1-2 (can often be same as water; can use same cart)


Keep game score and player statistics; report live scores; report injuries.

45 minutes before game time through end of game


Entry and Access

Control access and/or take tickets.

1 or more hours pre-game through end of game

Variable (depends on venue setup)

Crowd Engagement

Play music or organize other entertainment and giveaways.

Pre-game through end of event


Field/Team Management

Primary point of contact for teams and officials on field, as well as with press box for announcements

1 or more hours pre-game through end of game



Available for random duties (e.g., run to store) or as backup for missing volunteer



Field Lining
  • Leave a minimum of five yards of buffer space beyond the back of end zones and 10 yards to anything that might be dangerous to players. If permanent goals or goalposts are present, be sure they are padded.
  • For better sightlines for your fans, consider having the player and equipment lines farther away than outlined above, perhaps five and 15 yards, respectively, if you have the space.
Instructions for properly putting down corners, brick marks and field lines

The field measurements are listed in the previous Ultimate Field Layout appendix. Here is a methodology for laying out your ultimate field with accurate right angles. It makes use of the Pythagorean Theorem:  A2 + B2 = C2 or 32 + 42 = 52 or 92 + 122 = 252 where A and B are the shorter legs of a right triangle (along the sideline/backline) and C is the longer leg (hypotenuse).

  1. Start at the back corner of the end zone (X). Run a long string along the entire length of either the sideline or the backline you want to use as the starting point for your field. This may depend on what is constraining your field (e.g., fence, sidewalk or trees). Be sure to provide the required buffer space for this first line.
  2. Run a tape measure along the string from the starting corner and make a mark with spray paint at nine feet (three yards) (Y).
  3. Run a tape measure out from the same starting corner along what you think is about the line where you will run the perpendicular sideline/backline. With the end of the tape measure secured at the corner, find the 12-foot (four-yard) mark on the tape, and holding the paint can at the mark and the tape tight, make a small (about one foot) arc with the paint in the vicinity of where you think the line will cross. The bigger the arc, the more room for error.
  4. Anchor the tape measure at the three-yard mark (Y) on the first sideline/backline and run the tape measure out 15 feet (five yards) towards the arc you just made in step three. Find the point where the 15-foot mark intersects the arc (Z). Mark that point. That is the point through which you should run the string so that it is perpendicular to the original string line.
  5. Check your work:
    1. End zone diagonals should be 44 yards, two feet and 1.92 inches.
    2. Playing field proper (goal line to goal line) diagonals should be 80 yards, one foot and 10.32 inches.
    3. Entire field diagonals should be 117 yards and 1.8 inches.
    4. Brick marks should be 28 yards and 10.08 inches from the front end-zone cones.
    5. Reverse brick marks should be 22 yards, one foot and 0.96 inches from the end-zone cones.
    6. Mid-field mark should be 40 yards and 11.16 inches from the front end-zone cones.
Sample Planning Timeline
  • One year out – initial planning and scouting of facilities
  • One year to nine months out – secure facility and teams
  • Six months out – begin marketing
  • One month out – site visit with facility manager
  • Two weeks out – dry-run-through meeting (ideally on site) with showcase director; head of volunteers; manager(s) overseeing merchandise, sponsorship, and concessions; other supervisory staff and public address announcer(s). A showcase-day timeline should be reviewed at this meeting.
Sample Cart Operator Agreement
Utility Cart Operator Agreement
In order to minimize the possibilities of both injuries and damage to property, utility carts need to be operated in a safe and responsible manner.
  • Operators must be licensed drivers.
  • Operators must be 18 years or older.
  • Operator must not allow others to drive carts unless they have also executed a copy of this agreement.
  • Operators must be completely sover and may not consume alcohol while assigned a cart.
  • Operator must remain seated and keep arms and legs inside the vehicle while moving and must insist passengers do likewise, as operator is responsible for the safety of any passengers.
  • Operator will ensure the cart is not overloaded with people and/or cargo.
  • Operator will ensure that the cart is only operated when passengers and/or cargo are safely loaded onto the cart.
  • Operator will use discretion in regards to speed, taking into account the terrain, conditions, presence of pedestrians and other traffic and the load of the cart.
  • Realizing that carts are subject to rolling over, operator will drive slowly through turns and onslopes on which they will drive directly up or down, rather than diagonally.
  • Operator will give pedestrians the right of way.
  • Operator will utilize horns, lights and turn signals appropriately.