Tournaments may be one of the most under utilized forms of serious revenue generation within the ice arena industry. There are many ice rinks in populated, fun geographic areas that people would be very excited to visit, but many ice arenas are not meeting their full hockey tournament potential.
In my experience, it seems that many ice rink owners or managers feel that hockey tournaments are something you have to invest into and hire a company that will manage a tournament for a price. This is not the case. If you, as the ice rink owner or manager, feel that there is enough profitability in hiring a tournament company to organize, market and run a tournament on your behalf, that is great. They do certainly eliminate stress. However, if you are like us, we are greedy. We want to pull in as much profit for our facilities as possible. That is why we operate all of our own tournaments, and for the most part we organize our tournaments with one, maybe two staff members and execute them with four to five team members, often times gaining ice prices per hour in excess of normal fees for services.
One of the beautiful things about Ice Hockey Tournaments is ancillary income. With a little bit of ingenuity and business partnership you can add dollars each day to your bottom line. Examples of this can include rebates from local hotels, barter or trade with local eateries and even free marketing from your local chamber of commerce depending on the size of the economy in your market. Another very profitable opportunity of tournament business is t-shirts. By building relationships with other local vendors you can order t-shirts quite inexpensively and sell them for profit. Additionally, if you have a snack bar, keeping it well staffed and well stocked will add money and value to your tournament(s).
Successful tournament implementation can easily be accomplished through a grassroots marketing campaign. Utilize the captive audience you already have in your arena, e-mail blast different teams, clubs and coaches and finally learn to love forums and social media. There are tremendous amounts of well maintained, and more importantly, well monitored ice hockey forums. Facebook and Twitter are also unbelievable mediums to reach more people.