The 2016 Rio Olympics Games haven’t started yet, but there have been a lot of hiccups so far. In addition to the political, security, and infrastructure issues that have come along with this year’s event in Rio de Janeiro, there’s a lot of questions being asked about how athletes are planning on navigating these potentially turbulent waters. "I'm optimistic about the games, but I have to show reality," said Francisco Dornelles, the acting governor for the games. "We can have a great Olympics, but if some steps aren't taken, it can be a big failure."
So how can your organization stand to learn about how to properly conduct an experience that leaves a positive impression? Obviously the stakes for a collegiate game are much lower than a large scale event like the Olympics, but the lessons that come from their mistakes could translate into big wins for your organization.
Invest In Yourself
One of the biggest issues that faced Rio de Janeiro was the fact that state and federal governments were not very invested in the games. Running up to the actual event, Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, insisted that state and federal governments' investment in the games were minimal.
Everyone in your school should take pride in your athletics department, from the faculty all the way down to the student body. Having them invest in your team doesn’t always require a dollar amount. An investment could be as simple as painting your face or buying a foam finger. What you need to do is create a culture where investment in a team is seen as a net win. People like feeling like they’re a part of something bigger than them.
How often have you heard your student body complain about how long it takes to get to the stadium? It’s necessary to keep your stadium at a safe distance away from your classrooms unless you want students to get distracted by the tailgate, but how you control the flow of guests has a lot to do with the gameday experience. In Rio de Janeiro, the metro line that was meant to ferry tourists to the main Olympic venue is still not ready. Not only does this mean a huge sunk cost for the government, but now the fans won’t be able to reach the sport.
Planning an event on the scale of the Olympics has historically always been difficult, but that same degree of work doesn’t need to go into a collegiate athletics experience. By investing in your sports program and considering the way that students are able to get to and from your stadium, you’re ensuring that your athletics program won’t be an Olympic-level mess.