After the Final Four: Large-Scale Event Planning

Planning any event means taking a lot of tasks into consideration, but a large scale event elevates planning to a whole new level. The bigger the event, the bigger everything else needs to be including budget, teams, resources and time. Large scale events are a lot of work, but the rewards of an exciting event can be felt throughout an entire city. In Minneapolis we are no strangers to large scale events. Just recently the city hosted the NCAA Men’s Final Four. Some amazing statistics came out of that event1:

NCAA Men’s Final Four Hosted at Minneapolis US Bank Stadium

  • 70,000 game attendees
  • 2,000 volunteers
  • 23 million television viewers of the championship game
  • 24% of Minneapolis hotels completely booked
  • Estimated total revenue for the Twin Cities: $142 million

What is a large scale event?

  • Think sporting events, music festivals and political events
  • 10’s of thousands of people in attendance
  • Multi-day events
  • Expense budgets that can be millions of dollars

What makes a large scale event successful?

  1. Concept and scope. There needs to be a clear understanding of the goals and expected outcomes.
    • Outline clear objectives
    • Understand the event lifecycle
  2. Location. Super important, especially if it’s an outdoor event.
    • Size: Size is most important to consider with a large-scale event. The venue must first be able to hold the amount of attendees your event will be hosting, and also have the appropriate amount of support staff and amenities available to provide for a large amount of people.
    • Amenities: Providing appropriate amenities for your guests can help to create the best experience possible. Consider phone charging stations, areas for seating for events with lots of standing time, drinking fountains and water stations especially for an outdoor event, public wifi, parking accessibility and proximity to public transportation and hotels. An event trend right now is to provide an Uber code for guests to get home safely, especially from an event where alcohol is served.
    • Uniqueness: Create the ultimate experience for your guests by providing a unique venue where they might not have attended an event before. Creating the buzz around a special venue will leave a positive lasting impression on your guests.
    • Inclusion & Accessibility: The more people attending an event, the more you must consider the variety of guest needs you should accommodate for. It is important to focus on inclusion and accessibility for guests with disabilities. Think about ADA access, visibility and hearing disabilities. It is safe to assume closed captioning and wheelchair access could be needed.
  3. Effective planning with the right people in place. It takes lots of different skills to deliver a great event, one person can’t do everything.
    • Key people and committees include: event director, marketing director, volunteers, operations staff, vendors, police, medical, finance director, plus many more. All of these teams need to function efficiently together for a successful outcome.
    • Bucket lists. This is one of our favorite event planning tools. Put people in buckets (or a specific planning area), give them the tools they need to succeed and let them conquer it.
    • Consistent and effective communication amongst all groups – this avoids a lot of headaches, confusion and lack of productivity.
  4. Focus on safety, community and guest satisfaction.
    • Put yourself in the event goer’s shoes. What kind of experience would you expect? What would make the event go above and beyond expectations?
    • How can you make guests’ experience easier and more memorable (consider parking, transportation, capacity, mobile check-in, RFID wristbands, and sponsor engagement).
    • Contingency and emergency action plans are vital. Use your resources and defer to the safety experts you have available to you.
  5. Embrace the challenges that WILL happen during the event. No matter how well you plan for an event, there will always be some outcomes that are beyond your control.
    • Stay calm.
    • Get you team together.
    • Identify the problem and address the most critical areas first.
    • Communicate your action plan to key groups as soon as possible.

Is your organization planning for a large scale event? For all of your event planning and staffing needs, contact us at

References: 1:

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