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  • Writer's pictureNigel Rushman

Gross Over Engineering of Major Events

Updated: Jun 6

So who is the person sitting at the top of Organising Committees of Major events such as the Olympic Games and Rugby World Cup and Cricket World Cup, Commonwealth Games et al who thinks these events need staffs of hundreds or thousands?

How can it be that just a few years ago these events were run by small dedicated teams and contractors on minimal budgets — and run very well — and now they have casts of hundreds and thousands? Why is that necessary? How has it come to be?

The proliferation of journeymen freelancers and jobbing event ‘experts’ is what has swelled the workforce but they are not to blame. These Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. Of course you need an HR department Sir . . . just to handle all of us!

No they are not to blame, they don’t see the full picture sitting in their silos. They also don’t see the budget.

They don’t care about the overall cost, there is a taxpayer to foot the bill. The total waste of money due to the ridiculous staffing levels is not the only factor.

The organisations are actually less efficient. They may have glitzier (temporary) offices (in themselves a total waste of money) but they are not as streamlined, not as motivated, not as vital not as accountable and just not manageable.

It is a transient existence hopping from event to event and swelling along the way. Like a rolling stone gathering moss these people pick up more ‘essential’ people along the road.

The people to blame are those in charge of Strategy and Planning. So, who are these people, Event Management Experts? They may call themselves that, but they are actually accountants and consultants dressed up as such. Almost to a man/woman/company, they have experience of one event (usually an Olympics — the biggest culprit of them all). So their experience of ‘events’ is the enormously over-engineered, over-staffed, and over-expensive ‘insert major event here’.

So what has changed? — Not a lot.

What can possibly justify this ridiculous new ‘industry’- There is none.

What has changed?

There is more TV revenue, less Media (due to consolidation), and a proliferation of technology.

Sponsorship has increased. Sometimes there is more sport.

Numbers of Attendees have, in some instances, increased, but a stadium still has a capacity.

There are hundreds more people organising the event, bumping into each other and doing their best to look like stressed senior executives burning out on the stress of it all when in reality they have so long to do their work they are likely to reorganise everything two or three times.

There is no change here that needs more people.

Justification for the increase in Staffing Levels?

Well, I can’t answer this, and I look forward to the streams of justification from the accountants, estate agents, and consultants turned ‘Event Experts’ after their one stint on an overblown event such as London 2012.

They are just working with the freelance ‘Event Junkies’ to create more work and fees for themselves and more expense and confusion for everyone else.

This view will be enormously unpopular in the industry — of course it will. But if people really think it through, anyone with half an ounce of experience gained over more than fifteen years in the event business will know that this is fact.

The organisation of major events is hugely over-engineered, over-staffed, and costs far too much.

It's totally unnecessary, extremely old-hat, and inefficient. I know of no other business that would tolerate such ridiculous and unsustainable staffing levels. The Governing Bodies of World Sport would do well to put a brake on this before they are unable to find hosts for these bloated and ridiculously expensive spectacles. The returns (whatever ridiculous ‘Economic Impact Study’ is invented to justify it) will not be worth the investment.

The investors — The Public in most instances, may just start asking questions . . .

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