Spiker, what is your background in sports events and how has it led to creating Tournament Guy?

I am the high school director of a baseball club in St. Louis, Missouri called the Rawlings Tigers. The Tigers have 72 total teams ranging from 6U to 18U, and one of my main responsibilities is the tournament schedule for all 13 high school teams. I guess you could call me a black belt in tournament searching. The idea of Tournament Guy came about a year and half ago. I was searching for events and I thought there had to be an easier way, a simple search engine that housed every tournament. I didn’t want a site that simply housed tournaments across the United States; I wanted it to be a powerful distinctive place that could search by unique parameters. I wanted it to sort by age, price, location and field surface.

Who is using Tournament Guy and what kind of results are they seeing?

We are amateur sports. We are the place where you can find tournaments across the United States with over 1,300 events in 38 states and we are just touching the surface of amateur sports. Outside of TournamentGuy.com we are actively communicating with the sports community on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We love engaging and answering any questions pertaining to national events, current sports topics and social media content.

What are three trends you’re seeing with technology relating to tournament planners and directors?

Three trends to pay attention to when heading into 2016 is the relevance of Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook.

  1. The easiest and most efficient way to market is going to be Snapchat. With over 100 million users, 32% of them being 13-17 years old, it’s the ideal place for a director to showcase his or her events.
  2. Twitter is email version 2.0. With the ability to direct tweet, it’s the best place to build a community and start engaging.
  3. Facebook is the grandfather of social networks and with its billion users it’s definitely the place to spend your marketing dollars. In recent years, Facebook has put many regulations on business advertising and prevents marketers from flooding a person’s newsfeed. The price for advertisement, however, is relatively cheap compared to traditional outlets.

Speaking with directors, I have noticed that there is a percentage that does not stress the internet. This is a huge mistake because there are young directors who are starting to break into the industry and putting time and money into their websites. They realize that the internet is their first impression to their customer, not their event.

In regards to social media, what can a director or sports event organization do to better connect and communicate with their teams and coaches?

Everyone loves a story, and they love it more when the story connects with them. I see it all the time with businesses asking the end user to “check this out,” “sign up today” and “for only $9.99, buy my…” Social media is not the arena for traditional marketing. People want to be entertained and connect with something before they commit to a “call to action.” I have numerous examples of tweets and posts that didn’t work from a statistical standpoint, but I guarantee it set the stage for the ones that were retweeted 45 times or shared 50 times. An engaged community who knows who you are, are more likely to share your thoughts with their community.

A misconception that most people have is that social media will save their business or increase their revenues in the matter of months. Yes, it will change your business in a positive way, but these platforms are long-run plays. It’s the opportunity to develop a relationship with current customers and make new ones. Going “viral” is a possibility, but the percentages are against the business. The stat everyone should worry about is have I positively affected one person, because that person is going to tell another outside of social.

What’s the future of TG and where is it heading?

There are huge plans for Tournament Guy coming in 2016 that will allow people to share ideas, see who is going to a tournament and allow directors to showcase their events. Our goal since Day 1 is to be amateur sports and connect coaches with tournaments. I don’t want to share all our future plans, but we are building an unbelievable community.

For more information on Tournament Guy, visit TheTournamentGuy.com, or via Twitter @TournyGuy.