Back to Business…?
As we are entering the third month since widespread COVID-19 restrictions were put in place, the country is slowly starting to open back up. Most businesses are now able to resume trading or can see a pathway back toward trading and have a timeline provided to them. Most businesses, with the exception of my own industry, major events…
In mid March as the true threat of COVID-19 was realised and the resulting public gathering bans began to impact the events industry we had to learn how to live with overwhelming uncertainty. Uncertainty about how the pandemic might impact our world, including our day to day lives, the public health system, as well as our events industry. Overnight, the public gathering bans caused massive impact in the live event industry, including sport where we operate, meaning that thousands of workers were suddenly without income for the foreseeable future. Event after event was cancelled and so too the contracts that many of the industry’s ‘gig workers’ rely upon. Our own event portfolio was not immune.
Despite the impact to my business and the events industry as a whole I was, and continue to remain, supportive of efforts to curb the spread of this virus. I published a statement at the time highlighting the importance of caution while also acknowledging the impact on all of us in the event management space. We, like many businesses, found ourselves in a challenging predicament and were forced into making quick and very difficult decisions. We also wanted to reach out to those affected to say “you are not alone”.
From a public health perspective, I am proud of our response as a nation and how well we have managed the situation across our state and federal governments. I am proud of how we have ultimately helped our health sector. Any comments or observations I offer in relation to how urgent the situation is for the ‘live events’ industry, are made through the lens of public health, and I acknowledge the huge gains achieved by ‘lockdown’ and public gathering bans.
However the events industry continues to stare down that continued uncertainty. Specifically, mass participation and live sport, does not feature in the federal government’s framework for easing restrictions, even at step 3. As a result it is hard to predict when the green light will be given for our core business: large scale events. Because of this uncertainty, we continue to have clients cancel and consider cancelling events. We were even forced to cancel our own event, Race the Train, last week. Beyond the ‘work from home’ instructions, many event management offices will look like this for months to come….
In this time of uncertainty it is vital that the events industry draws on our shared experience and work to support one another. The experience most of us can relate to most strongly is the abrupt disruption to our business. The revenue that has dried up overnight, for us as event organisers, but also the many suppliers, sole traders and freelancers that we do business with. This all translates to people out of work.
But there are actions the government can take to help save our industry. I have recently written to both the Federal and the Victorian State ministers for tourism proposing an action plan. However the more people who put forward our case the stronger it is, so I would encourage all event professionals to write to their relevant members.
1. Safety & Survival
a) We need the Federal Government JobKeeper program (or alternative targeted support) to
extend beyond September. It is crucial.
b) Small businesses employed and deployed by government funding, should
be supported despite there being uncertainty around an event proceeding.
c) Explore ways to re-deploy event management expertise on other Government projects, which demand project planning, logistics, risk management and operational expertise.
2. Investment in the Future
A dedicated and targeted major events fund should be designed and established, to
encourage businesses and governments to invest in new events and continue investing in
existing events, to ultimately assist with the recovery of the tourism industry.
3. Commercial Tenancy provisions
Additional commercial tenancy provisions allowing businesses without a ‘back to business’
timeline, who are unable to operate due to COVID-19 to exit commercial tenancies without
penalty. Alternatively, an extended commercial tenancy relief scheme should be instituted.
4. Green Light Plan
A roadmap to the ‘green light’. At the moment there is not a defined date, advising that
events like ours can’t be held, let alone an indication on ‘back to business’. Making a
distinction between the various events (indoor v outdoor, size of gathering, traceable
participation vs spectator based) will be important as part of this process. Event industry
expertise can assist with this.
We are in a unique category, which does not have any sense of roadmap, guidelines or timeline to work towards, through no fault of our own. Our core products and services cannot be deployed. When will we be ‘back to business’?
Sport Projects are on the move!
We are happy to share the news of our recent office move, to a new premises in Cheltenham. The move to Unit 34/337 Bay Road Cheltenham, 3192, sees a change to a brand new, light and bright office, signaling a new and exciting phase for Sport Projects.
Moving from Frankston to Cheltenham means most of our existing, and future staff, will have a much shorter commute. We are also much more accessible to our clients and suppliers, ensuring a deeper collaboration. There’s so much to like about the location, we’re only a short ten-minute walk to the nearest train station, or Southland, and a little closer to the nearest cafe (and craft brewery). The proximity to Beach Road places us in a ‘cycling corridor’ which means more bikes than cars parked at the office.
It’s also a very practical space. The office features a larger office floor space, which provides more room for our staff to work in comfort, particularly in our peak phase across the summer. With bike racks, dedicated shower and kitchen facilities, storage facilities, as well as breakout, lunch and leisure spaces, the office is a marked improvement on our previous space.
The Frankston office played a crucial role in the early phase of the business and allowed us to grow and develop, with lower overheads. However, we had certainly got to the point where we had outgrown what was an ageing premises. We are all enjoying the change, and the new spaces, where we have upgraded our ability to collaborate as a team. The table tennis table also promises to foster some friendly rivalry amongst the team!
Don’t forget to update your address books and we hope to have you come and visit us soon.
Sport Projects new organisers of ‘Race the Train: The Goldfields Steam Train Challenge’
Reflections on a successful Olivia Newton-John Wellness Walk and Research Run
Our team had already been involved in the course and traffic management planning and delivery for the event for the previous two years, but in 2018 our role was stepped up. With a new fundraising and events team on board and limited experience with the previous editions of the event, it made sense to de-risk the all-important event delivery, by contracting an event operations team.
Furthermore and perhaps more importantly, the management team at Austin Health recognised that their expertise and skills were best channelled into promoting the event, generating registrations, attracting sponsors and maximising fundraising. As we would always say, “leave the booking of the toilets to us”.
Since our involvement commenced we had always tried to forecast, as part of our proposal, the benefits of leaving the operations and logistics to us. This is the booking of the toilets sure, but also, contracting specialist marquee, staging, fencing and audio suppliers. Perhaps even more importantly, ensuring there are a team of staff and workforce deployed on event day to ensure everything is run smoothly, including the stage management of the day.
With Austin Health making the leap and extending our involvement to wider production management across the event, they have been able to reap the rewards as an organisation and as a team.
Lauren Stewart was the lead project manager for Austin Health and we couldn’t have put it any better ourselves; “Having Sport Projects set up the logistics and event management this year has meant that we were able to spend a lot more time raising funds with the WWRR community. When we look at the increase in the number of participants, sponsorship and donations this year it has been time very well spent”.
With a record number of participants in 2018, more than 4,000, as well an overall fundraising figure of more than $600,000, the positive results are compelling. And for Steve, after the death of his mother in 2013, this event means so much more than simply having a happy client.
Read a bit more about what services Sport Projects can offer as the road event specialists, here. The ONJ Cancer Centre press release is here. Get in contact with us and we will be only too happy to discuss your objectives and whether an event like the Wellness Walk and Research Run is something that can benefit your agency or cause.
Sport Projects are proud to be the event organiser for the upcoming Australian leg of the Six-Day Cycling Series. This event combines the best in track cycling with an electric party atmosphere. The lights are turned down low and DJs pump out tunes before, during and after the racing. If you would like to be part of the action the Melbourne event takes place on 07-09 February 2019 while the Brisbane event takes place on 12-14 April. You can purchase tickets through Ticketek here.
03 October 2017
Sport Projects appointed as the event management supplier for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race
Visit Victoria has appointed Sport Projects as the event management supplier for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, for 2018 and 2019.
Visit Victoria General Manager, Major Events Mr Damien de Bohun congratulated Sports Projects.
“We’re delighted to appoint a highly experienced and respected company to deliver one of Victoria’s most important major events, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race,’ Mr de Bohun said.
‘Sport Projects offers international experience in delivering cycling events, and knows the rigour required for delivering a major event in a public space, using public roads‘.
Steve Peterson, Managing Director of Sport Projects, said: “We are excited at the prospect of taking on the organisation of this world class event. Our experienced and dedicated team look forward to working hard to achieve the event’s objectives over the next two years, helping to position the event to further develop, grow and innovate into the future.”
The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race was established in 2015 and has quickly grown into one of the most popular events on Australia’s sporting calendar. Featuring one day in Melbourne and two days in Geelong, the event has grown into an iconic weekend of international cycling, featuring a UCI World Tour men’s race and UCI 1.1 women’s as the feature events.
The event features a true festival of cycling appealing to all ages and abilities.
With Belgian kermesse style racing on the iconic Formula One circuit at Albert Park, a Family Ride along the beautiful Geelong Waterfront, a People’s Ride and two days of action-packed ‘classics’ racing across the Geelong and Surf Coast regions, the event allows all cyclists, novice to elite, to share the roads in a celebration of cycling.
For more event details, check out the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race www.cadelevansgreatoceanroadrace.com.au
For more details on the event management services supplier, Sport Projects, check out their new website at www.sportprojects.com.au
For more information on the appointment of Sport Projects and the organisation of the event, contact the Event Director Steve Peterson from Sport Projects email@example.com or 0466 485 670
We’re delighted to appoint a highly experienced and respected company to deliver one of Victoria’s most important major events, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.