Part 1 of a paper I was tasked with for my Sport Facility Management Course for my undergrad at Marian University in Indianapolis - Part 2 coming next week!
A SWOT analysis will be made at the beginning of every the softball season. We would look at strength and weakness within the staff. For example, Do we have enough staff to work all operations wanting to be performed? Do we have an experienced staff that is capable of running the technology? We will also look at the things we do well and the things we could do better on in the ballpark. Making sure that the spectators have an enjoyable time watching softball at Marian University. When we look at the opportunities section of the SWOT analysis, we will be looking at what we can do in the future. A big opportunity we have in the future is ticketing. Can we develop a big enough fan base down the road so that we can begin to ticket fans? Obviously the answer will not come until later when we see the consistency of the crowds, but it is an idea to keep in mind for the future as this university grows.
The last part of the SWOT analysis is threats. As a manager we want the games to run smoothly, but there are threats to this goal. Intoxicated fans can disrupt games, safety hazards with foul balls can danger the goal, and poor field conditions can cause injuries to players. These threats need to thought of before the season and a plan should be in place so we can eliminate them. In the case of obnoxious fan we can put a warning system in effect where each fan gets one warning and if they continue to be a problem they will be asked to leave the ballpark. Other safety hazard threats should be inspected before the season and taken care of before a game is played. The SWOT analysis is important to improve your ballpark year after year.
Risk Management Planning
Many risk are present at any sporting event and the event we will be addressing here is a Marian University Softball Game. First and foremost when building the softball complex much planning was thought out to prevent and avoid risk for both spectators and participants. The first risk management planning used was building a backstop and facing to create a safe barrier between players and fans. There are multiple risk that this backstop/ facing help to avoid. One preventative measure that a backstop/ facing avoids is a flying object either a ball or bat flying into the crowd and striking a spectator. The other place we can see this facing/ fencing used in the same context is in front of the dugouts. The fencing here directly avoids the risk of a ball or bat striking players or coaches. Finally, another thing the backstop/ facing avoids or prevents risk is by keeping outside objects such as cans or bottles being thrown onto the field. This is a low risk and unlikely of happening but having the fencing and backstop helps to detour fans or spectators from such behavior.
The next part of risk management used on the Marian Softball Diamond is the yellow tubing that is on the top of all the fencing. This yellow tubing helps to prevent any player or participant from getting caught on or cut by the fencing at the top. By covering the top of the fence we are safeguarding everyone from that risk. Another area where planning was carefully used is the warning tracks we see around the diamond. Behind home plate the small strip of dirt between the fence and grass acts as a warning area to players that the fence is very near to them. This risk management can be seen in all professional diamonds baseball and softball. It helps with the risk of players colliding with the fence at high rates of speed. By using a warning track the number of concussions can be greatly reduced giving the players literally a “heads up”.
Another area on the diamond that can help to reduce risk for players is the windscreen that is hung along the outfield fence. The windscreen acts as a multi use tool on the diamond. It’s first use is a batters eye, this helps batters to see the ball off of a dark surface and not background colors that distract the players. The second action the windscreen acts to help with is collision risk in the outfield. The darker color of the screen helps the players avoid colliding with the fence by highlighting the fence that otherwise can sometimes be hard to see at full speed (running down a ball). By adding a windscreen we avoid collisions with chain link fencing which can cause multiple injuries, for example: concussion, broken bones, violent skin abrasions, etc.
The area of planning we can see around the diamond is the bullpen for warming up pitchers being outside the field of play. The visitor bullpen is on the field but with the space used to build the field the home bullpen was strategically placed outside the field of play. This avoids the risk of players having to run into a mound or plate that could cause harm to players. Slipping or tripping on either plate or mound could lead a player colliding with the fence. Therefore placing the bullpen outside the fence avoids this risk allowing players the full range of play all the way to the fence. Outside of the fence we can see a few areas where risk management are used to reduce risk for spectators.
The concrete outside the fence is not just for looks but also for fans to have safe place to walk and view the game. Having just a dirt or gravel area behind the fence adds risk to fans such as rolling an ankle or falling on a rocky surface. The concrete is a hard surface but much safer for fans while viewing the game. Another area that planning was used to avoid risk is the railing that leads up to the press box. The railing on the stairs is there for people using those stairs and without a railing many risk come into play such as a fan, worker, or child falling directly to the concrete causing serious injury. Many aspects go into the risk management planning when constructing and hosting events at the Marian University Softball Field, it is important to think of risk when building such facilities in order to host and allow participants and spectators to have the best possible experience.
There are multiple jobs that have to be done before and during the pre-game of a softball game. The first thing that someone has to deal with is the field. The field has to be ready and playable before the game starts. The field has to be raked and dragged and the grass has to be cut. The grass should only have to be cut every couple of days but the field has to be dragged/raked every day to keep it nice and smooth. After the field is raked, the foul lines have to be drawn, along with the batter’s box and the bases, pitching rubber and home plate all have to be painted white. There has to be a plan if it rains or if the field is too dry. If it rains, you have to be able to take the water off the field as best as you can to make the field playable. If the field is dry, watering the field would be the best option to soften up the dirt.
There are some things that you do not have to do every day to get the field ready, these things are: edging the grass, roll the infield and outfield to keep it smooth, and put clay in all the low spots of the field. A staff member must also make sure the line up cards are ready from both coaches and get them to the press box. Electronically you have to make sure everything is up and running and works correctly. These include the scoreboard, the music, the commentary connection, mics, speakers, and cameras.