Almost every athletic field — and field manager — has handled its share of nonsporting events.
This is the case with some fields more than others, certainly, and the scale of these special events varies depending on the facility. These events can include concerts, movie nights, graduation ceremonies, weddings, corporate events and private parties — just to name a few.
Tyler Clay, facilities manager at the University of Washington, knows all about this topic. Clay and his staff have hosted commencements, TV commercials and a Google corporate event at Husky Field, the university’s football stadium (with a synthetic turf surface).
“It’s all about understanding logistics, equipment and power needs,” Clay explains regarding how to host non-sporting events successfully. “We’re on call to help whatever group is doing the event. Overtime is involved for the staff — they work anywhere between 125 and 200 hours of overtime in a calendar year. They look at it as part of the job. Special events are all hands on deck. We preach to our event management department that we need as much logistical information as soon as possible in order to properly plan and prepare for what needs to be done.”
Though it’s only a small part of what goes into hosting these special events for field managers, handling of the staff is vital to address.
“You get to a point where your staff is burned out in getting ready for some of the events,” Clay says. “But ultimately, our reward is looking out on the field, during the event, and seeing people having fun. We can think ‘Look what we were up against, and we did this.’ And then it goes even further if you receive gratitude from the outside company hosting the event.”
To make hosting non-sporting events easier on you and your staff, we’ve gathered must-have tips and some stories to learn from: