Preseason tournament

Preseason tournament

Events, functions and fundraising activities

While often a preseason tournament is low on the revenue raising scale, they are high on engaging club members and creating an atmosphere whereby club members want to visit the clubrooms.

This has significant benefits in supporting in house revenue streams such as the bar or canteen and can be coupled with raffles or silent auctions.  

The events typically involve a round-robin format with finals where members contribute an entry fee into a pool and the winner takes a prize.  The club then retains the majority of the pool.

Pre-season Tournaments are a great opportunity to socialise with their fellow club members and friends while practising and preparing for the season!

Why a Pre-season Tournament?

A pre-season tournament is an great opportunity for your club and community to come together for a day of competitive fun.  It can also be easily held in conjunction with other fundraising ideas such as raffles and auctions.

It is important to be aware that this fundraiser does call on your club community to donate and doesn’t give an great opportunity for fundraising dollars to be made from external sources.  This can be lessened by inviting other clubs to attend or the general public.

When should I hold this fundraiser?

A preseason tournament should be held a few weeks before the beginning of your season.  It is important to take into account any other events happening locally (for example school fetes or fairs) and school/public holidays.

Key Activities

These are the tasks you will need to consider assign to volunteers at our club:

Before the Day

  • Decide a date of your pre-season tournament.
  • Promote the fundraiser.
  • Organise the venue.
  • Organise volunteers to help and an MC if needed.
  • Organise any food and beverages that will be for sale.
  • Organise any raffles, activities, competitions or auctions that might run at the same time.
  • Sell tickets – this can be to just your club or you may open the event up to other clubs or the general public.

On the Day

  • The venue is set up and ready to go
  • Ensure food and beverages are ready to sell or serve.
  • Brief Volunteers of their roles.
  • Enjoy the day!
  • Monitor the event.
  • Take lots of photos.

After the day

  • Publicly thank everyone involved
  • Announce the amount of money raised in club newsletters, on social media, website and around the club.

Who can help?

It is important to engage your members to help in the running of your fundraiser.  
For a preseason tournament you could approach them to help:

  • Promote and sell the tickets
  • Help source prizes
  • Help run other fundraising activities on the day
  • Help logistically on the day

You could also approach current club Sponsors for any prizes you plan to use.

Recruiting your people

It is important to create a culture of volunteering at your club to help not only with fundraising but also across the day to day running of your club.  For more on how to create this at your club, click here.

Using technology to making it easier

You may like to consider using technology to reduce the workload on your volunteers and increase your fundraising dollars. For an event like this, you may like to sell tickets using a platform like TryBooking.

TryBooking lets you sell tickets, take payments and donations for events online.

This takes care of a great deal of the work that is usually left to volunteers and automates the ticket selling process.

You can set up and customise your own event page and a unique URL in minutes. This lets you easily share the event online and engage members and supporters. Your club may also like to use social media, email newsletters and your club website to promote the event.

Financial Considerations

If charging to enter the tournament, clubs should seek to pre-sell tickets and discourage people from just turning up on the day. Pre-selling tickets gets money in the kitty to cover costs and ensures catering is accurate.


One of the major costs can be awards for participants on the day.  You may have a winning player or team, best on ground or encouragement awards.

Costs also may include the hire of a suitable venue if your club venue is not big enough.   

You might consider an MC to help build excitement on the day and if so will also require a mic and sound equipment.

If running raffles or auctions prizes need to be considered.  It is a great idea to try to source these from sponsors and ask members to help source the from businesses in the community.

These donations are often in exchange for signage and promotion on the day.  The key is not to leave this to the last minute and try to organise prizes early to avoid added pressure.=

The more help your club can get from its volunteers and sponsors when organising an event the greater the return but it is important not to compromise on quality otherwise no one will pay money to attend in following years.


Club preseason tournaments are best promoted in-house using:

  • Club website
  • Newsletter
  • Noticeboard
  • Signs around the club (especially the canteen)
  • Blackboards
  • Club Facebook and Twitter.

You may also consider inviting other local clubs to be part of the event and host the day.  The more people that attend the greater the opportunity to raise even more fundraising dollars for your club.

Communication considerations

As a preseason tournament may also double as a social event at your club, you can use social media to build excitement.  You can use social media to sell tickets and countdown to the day.  You can also live stream parts of the event on the day so that those in your community that can’t attend can still be part of the event.


Social, Moral and Ethical Considerations

Supply of Alcohol

As this event may alcohol it is important to consider whether there will be limits or restrictions set in advance.  Clubs need to consider how they will manage the risks of binge drinking as well as the Responsible Service of Alcohol.


What can go wrong?

Financial Risks

There are obvious financial risks if enough tickets aren’t sold and set up costs more than is made.

Participant Safety

The health and wellbeing of those who attend your event should be a focus at all times.  It is important that your club takes time to consider all possible risks and how to minimise these.  


Licenses and Permits

Food handling and service laws need to be considered.  Liquor licencing and RSA requirements for serving drinks also need to be adhered to.  If in doubt, check with the liquor licensing and food safety authority in your state or territory.   

Clubs need to check with their state or territory regulatory body to make sure they have all the required permissions to run a preseason tournament.

It is also important to contact your insurance company to ensure your public liability insurance policies cover the event.


Additional Factors to consider


If catering food ensure you cater for those with allergies and these are clearly labeled.  Allergies can be life threatening and need to be considered seriously.


Additional Revenue Opportunities

There are many ways to raise additional funds at a pre-season tournament:

  • Silent auction
  • Raffles
  • Auctions
  • Sponsorship
  • Club merchandise sales
  • Club memberships
  • Bar and Canteen sales

Be creative in your fundraising. One club we know of allowed a sports retailer to perform a fashion parade of their apparel and the retailer was happy to pay big bucks for the privilege.

Keep in mind, the better the quality of the prizes and auction items the more likely the club is to raise significant funds.  And keep in mind your audience, an autographed Aussie Rules book is unlikely to sell at a NSW soccer club’s trivia night but vouchers for spa treatments and massages sell everywhere.


This procedure should be treated as a guide only. Your club should seek advice specific to the needs of your club and event. Seek further details from authorities and service providers; especially in regards to insurance, licences, permits, spectator and participant safety.