What Does a Tournament Director Do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 19 March 2020
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A tournament director organizes and oversees a variety of competitive sporting events, ranging from poker to tennis. Tournament directors engage in a number of activities to promote the smooth running of the events they supervise. Some belong to professional and trade associations with set rules for their members while others may work independently. It is also possible to affiliate with a sports organization to access opportunities for coordinating with other tournament directors and interested parties.

The organizing stages of a tournament involve determining participants, setting up a schedule, and creating brackets or assignments for participants. Tournament directors may also be responsible for securing a venue, acquiring staff to work at the tournament, and similar administrative tasks. Some delegate these to an assistant who focuses on administrative support and details like catering, ticket sales, and so forth. Marketing and outreach are also part of the job of a tournament director, to attract competitors, spectators, and sponsors.

During the tournament itself, this job can require completing a variety of tasks. A tournament director may act as an announcer between and at events, especially for smaller competitions. The work also requires refereeing matches, settling disputes, and monitoring game play. This can require one or more assistants, as multiple matches may occur at once and the tournament director cannot simultaneously supervise all of them. These personnel need to be adequately trained and tested in the rules of the game to ensure they supervise games fairly and consistently.


Awards ceremonies may require the presence of the tournament director, as one of the event organizers. This member of the staff may hand out awards, make announcements, and recognize notable achievements. The tournament director can focus on attending the most important ceremonies, or may need to appear at all of them, depending on the size of the event and the sport.

This job requires a very thorough knowledge of the sport and all the rules, along with possible permutations and variations. Tournament directors also need to have good people skills, as they may interact with a variety of people including upset and angry athletes while they are on the job. A network of connections can be helpful in the planning stages to attract competitors and develop a large event with a diverse array of participants and spectators. No specific education or training is required, although some tournament directors hold degrees in sports or public relations and many have experience in coaching or competition.


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