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Sport Event Management Case Study
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The event that is being covered in this case study is the 2016 Major League Baseball
World Series. The World Series is a best of seven series where the best team from the American
League takes on the best team from the National League, to determine who the best team in
baseball is for the season. For the 2016 season, the two teams that played in the Series were the
Cleveland Indians of the American League and the Chicago Cubs of the National League. The
team that hosts the Series is determined by what league wins the All-Star Game played in July.
This past season, the American League won, which meant that four out of seven games would be
played at Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians. The World Series started on October
25, 2016 at Cleveland with an 8:00PM start. One more game was played at Cleveland the
following day at 7:00PM, before the Series was shifted to Chicago for three games. The players,
coaches and media had a travel day to get to Chicago from Cleveland, so games 3-5 were
scheduled for 8:00PM start times on October 28-30, 2016. Since the Series was not decided after
these 5 games, another travel day was taken on October 31, 2016 to go back to Cleveland, where
games 6 and 7 were played on November 1-2, 2016, both with 8:00PM start times (CBS, 2016).
The World Series itself is the last round of the larger entity of the MLB playoffs, being
the ultimate deciding series on who the best team in Major League Baseball is for the year. The
playoffs start with the Divisional Series, where there are eight total teams, four from each league,
playing against the other in a best of five series (Two National League Series, Two American
League Series). After this round finishes, there are two teams from each league left, and the
format stays the same (American v. American, National v. National) but in a best of seven series.
After this round is over, the two remaining teams (one American League and one National
League) play in the World Series, which is also best of seven (first to four wins is the champion).
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The participants in this event would include fans in attendance, umpires, players, managers, as
well as radio and television broadcasters. The event serves all of these people, along with fans
watching at home, because it brings heightened awareness to each team, especially if something
that extends beyond winning the World Series itself is at stake for one or both teams. For
example, before winning this past World Series, the Chicago Cubs and their fans had suffered
through 108 previous years without winning a championship. Conversely, the Cleveland Indians
had gone 68 years without hoisting the World Series trophy. It is this factor that makes the 2016
World Series so memorable, because two teams that had been known as lovable losers finally got
the chance to duke it out to be the world champions of baseball, and ultimately, the team with the
longer drought won. Businesses also took advantage of the Cubs’ 108-year World Series drought
coming to an end. One example would be Adidas, who sponsors Cubs star third baseman Kris
Bryant. After winning the World Series, Adidas Baseball designed a shirt that read “Kurse
Breaker” playing on Bryant’s initials and the fact that he recorded the final out to end his team’s
World Series woes (see appendix).
The World Series is run exclusively by Major League Baseball. The facilities that are
being used will have been booked based on what teams make the playoffs and the results of the
previous rounds of the playoffs leading up to the World Series. As teams get eliminated, the
venues they play at will become open to host other external events.
The internal stakeholders for this event would include both teams, along with the
manager, general manager, CEO, president(s), and owners of both teams. External stakeholders
would be fans as well as businesses. The biggest interest that the internal stakeholders have is
winning the Series itself, as it would validate their team as the best in professional baseball for
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the 2016 season. Winning would also provide increases in revenue that other teams would not be
able to have. After each round of the playoffs, apparel that commemorates the team winning
each round is sold to the general public. If you win the World Series, you will have three extra
revenue streams (apparel from winning the World Series as well as the previous two playoff
rounds before it) that all 29 other teams would not have. The biggest interest of external
stakeholders such as fans would be wanting to see their local team win because it is a boost of
pride and morale for sports fans in that area of the country. That boost in pride and morale will,
in turn, cause some fans who don’t want to wait on packages to be delivered or to pay for
shipping and handling to rush their local sporting goods stores to get all of their team’s World
Series championship gear. This not only helps the stores themselves, but the entire local
economy of the championship team, as revenue that was originally spent on this apparel will
continually change hands in the local economy, benefitting multiple local businesses (Matheson,
The World Series operates with event staff hired by each individual major league team.
The first area of event staff that fans see when they attend a game would be parking attendants,
who are set up in zones in the stadium’s parking lot as well as several franchise-owned lots that
are within walking distance of the stadium. These people are very important because it is their
job to streamline parking for the event so that when the event is over, it quick and efficient for
the fans to find their cars and exit the stadium.
Another area that would be necessary for the World Series is the use of ushers as it would
be much harder than usual to find your correct seat in a playoff atmosphere than it would be
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during the regular season. Attendance was no lower than 38,091 people and got as high as
41,711 people (MLB.com, 2016).
With so many people in attendance, they are all bound to get hungry at some point. This
is where the role of concessions would be huge, is it presents an easy opportunity for the team
hosting each game to make a good profit on overpriced hot-dogs, nachos and even drinks like
water, soda and beer.
Another even more important sector of staffing would be security. With so many fans in
one confined area, a good portion of which are probably consuming alcohol, it would not be
uncommon for security to have to intervene when fans of both teams begin to get rowdy. Fights
in the stands during games occur frequently during the regular season, so when there is a world
championship on the line, having top notch security at both venues would be an absolute must.
When fans attend such a meaningful sporting event such as the World Series, they would
naturally want to have something to remember the day by. Some may settle for photos at the
venue, but most people combine picture-taking with going to the team store and buying a
souvenir. This is where having people to run the store is very important, and having multiple
checkout stations to make the purchasing process as quick and efficient as possible is a must.
When fans buy tickets to the biggest series of the baseball season, they expect everything to be
top of the line.
Without a competent maintenance staff on-site at both venues, fans would not receive
what they know as a “major-league” quality experience when attending such prestigious games.
If you have a department dedicated to making sure the concourse and seating areas top notch, a
similar group should be made responsible for doing the same to the playing field itself. This
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where the grounds crew come in. They mow the grass, drag and wet the infield dirt at every
position. In this year’s World Series, during game seven, it began to rain late in the game, and
the grounds crew had to pull the tarp over the infield so that it wouldn’t become muddy and
deemed unplayable. Last, but certainly not least, it is extremely important to have umpires to
officiate the game.
Umpires are booked directly though the MLB itself. Everyone else, with the exception of
the independent food vendors, is hired by through the individual teams. Any independent food
vendors that are sponsors of the team pay to have their brand seen at the stadium. After paying,
these sponsors get to have signage for their business put up throughout the stadium along with a
small stand, so that their business can benefit from the large masses of people that attend MLB
Security and medical personnel at the World Series are required to be CPR and First Aid
certified. Security personnel must also take in-depth training courses to be ready for an event of
this size and importance. United States Sports Academy offers physical and online courses.
FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security offer free training courses. The other type of
training everyone on your security team needs is security exercises. According to Homeland
Security, there are seven exercises they need to perform. Some of these are discussion-based.
Seminars, game simulations, and table-top exercises all fall into this category. The other type is
operations-based. Actual security drills and exercises are considered operations-based (Redwire,
2016). The rest of the event staff would need to have a good understanding of where everything
in the stadium is located, such as bathrooms, concessions, the team store, as well as first aid. Any
food vendors would have to be in possession of a license to sell food and beverage, especially if
they are selling alcohol.
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Activities and Elements of the Event
In addition to the World Series games themselves, there are several things offered to fans.
One ancillary event that is offered for fans of the winning team would be the parade that begins
shortly after the World Series concludes and the champion is crowned. Normally, the city will all
but shut down for the day, several streets being closed off as the players ride around their home
city in either duck boats or double-decker busses, hoisting the World Series trophy for all fans in
attendance to see in person. After the Cubs won the World Series, their celebratory parade drew
5 million people to the city. After compiling some data, it was reported by Fox 23 Chicago that
this parade was marked as the seventh-largest gathering in human history. This can draw back to
the earlier point made about pride and morale for the fans of the winning team (Flosi, 2016).
A lot of times when attending major league games as a whole, it is more common for fans
to park their cars in a commuter lot and take a train or bus that will drop them off at or within
manageable walking distance of the field. In Chicago, they strongly encourage the use of public
transportation, as it will help limit the gridlock of cars trying to leave the ballpark and its
surrounding area after a game (ChicagoCubs.com, 2016). However, for fans who insist on
driving themselves to the game, there are three lots that are all under 1.5 miles away from the
stadium that charge no more than $15 to park your car there for the game (ParkingPanda.com,
2016). In Cleveland, they have a very similar system, but they also include a free trolley system
as a way of transportation to the ballpark. For parking, Progressive Field is conveniently located
near several parking lots and garages, ranging from a cost of $5-$20 (Indians.com, 2016).
Major League Baseball along with the NFL share similar crowd control policies. When
scanning tickets to enter into the ballpark, there are typically between three to five kiosks at
every entrance of the stadium where fans assemble in lines to wait their turn to be buzzed in
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(Cotton, Wolohan, 2003). The lines may get long at times, but the process only takes a few
seconds per fan, so the lines tend to be quick moving. Also, at the top of every section of seating,
there is typically an usher tasked with watching that section to make sure that fans behave
themselves. Security officers can also be seen at field level, typically next to the camera well.
They are tasked with detaining any fans that run onto the playing field before, during and after
the game. Any fan caught doing this or acting insubordinately according to the rules of the
ballpark where the game is being played are told to vacate the premises immediately and are
followed out by security to make sure nothing else goes awry upon the fan’s ejection.
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act? According to Sport Facility Management:
Organizing Events and Mitigating Risks, The ADA “specifies what employers, government
agencies, and managers of public facilities (including sport facilities) must do to ensure people
with disabilities are not unfairly excluded from social life” (Ammon, Jr., Southall, Nagel, 2016,
p.133). Even though Wrigley Field is the second oldest ballpark in the country, it is still very
accessible for those that have disabilities of some kind. Cubs fan Juli Ann Patty wrote an article
on ADA compliance and recalls:
“I was just there the other day, and I noticed what a good job they're doing. There was
someone in a wheelchair in front of me, a man who'd broken his leg. Now, Wrigley Field
is nearly a century old, so its structure contains none of the accessibility considerations
we're accustomed to in modern buildings, but the owners of Wrigley Field have made as
many structural adaptations as possible” (Patty, 2010).
She goes on to highlight that in order to accommodate wheelchairs, Wrigley has made ramps by
pouring concrete over areas that used to be occupied by stairs. She noted that what impressed her
the most was that the staff had gone above and beyond to help the fan she saw in a wheelchair, as
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two customer service representatives accompanied the man that sat in front of her, making sure
that he was able to easily access his seat. She concluded by saying, “It just showed that there's a
lot you more you can do than just make structural changes to make people feel comfortable and
well served” (Patty, 2010).
Conversely, The Indians installed 610 handicapped-accessible seats in a variety of
configurations. There are accessible seats at the end of a row without an armrest, seating for the
visually impaired behind the screened area, and wheelchair seating featuring either an open spot
or a pivoting seat for easy access (Reichard, 2009). Both stadiums have gone above and beyond
in regards to accommodate fans who want to attend a game to see their team win a championship
for the first time in a least over half a century.
One of the popular associations with the game of baseball is sitting down with some
popcorn, a hot dog and a beer to watch the game. Although this is considered the norm at
baseball games, the subject of alcohol at sporting events is very controversial. Drunk fans will
often times break out in fights, causing anything from injury to simply ruining the fan experience
for those around them. According to the study titled, “Baseball and Beer: An Analysis of
Alcohol Consumption Patterns Among Male Spectators at Major-League Sporting Events”,
“Forty-one percent of all participants tested positive for alcohol. The highest
consumption occurred in the 20- to 35-year-old age group. In this age group, 50.8% had
consumed some alcohol, and 10.8% had a blood alcohol level of .08% (intoxicated) or
higher. Almost 5% of all participants tested during the fifth inning collection were
intoxicated and claimed to be driving. Conclusion: Of the spectators tested, those in the
20- to 35-year-old age group were most likely to have consumed alcohol and to be legally
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intoxicated. A disturbing number of spectators who had blood alcohol levels of .08% or
higher late in the game claimed to be driving home” (Wolfe, Martinez, Scott, 1998).
These staggering numbers help confirm why there is a heightened need for security at
ballparks. Officers are posted nearly everywhere and are much more likely to nip drunk driving
or fighting incidents in the bud and not have them end in serious injury or worse.
One final amenity that is offered to fans would be concessions. Although the food may be
costly, it can also be seen as more efficient because eating at the venue itself will save families
from having to make an extra stop when they are on their way to the event or after they have left.
Obviously, if you host any sort of event, you want to cater to all in attendance. It serves sports
well because it not only is a big part of “fan” experience, but is one way that organizations try to
make fans spend the maximum amount of money they possibly can at an event, by catering to
their every need and charging for the fulfillment of these needs.
One of the most notable contracts that the MLB holds is its uniform contract with
Majestic. According to Maury Brown of Forbes,
“Majestic Athletic and Major League Baseball Properties have reached an extension of
their agreement that will see the manufacturer continue to provide products to players and
consumers.” (Brown, 2015).
However, after the 2019 MLB season ends, Under Armour will be taking over as
producer of MLB uniforms, as reported by Darren Rovell of MLB.com. This will end the
partnership with Majestic that will have lasted 15 years (Rovell, 2016).
One final contract that the MLB has that is exclusive to the World Series is the
broadcasting rights. According to Mark Newman of MLB.com:
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“Major League Baseball's national television landscape is set through 2021. MLB
announced an eight-year national media rights agreements with Fox … meaning the
World Series and All-Star Game will remain on FOX, while the League Championship
Series and Division Series will be shared across FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG), TBS
and MLB Network” (Newman, 2012).
This calendar year will be big for FOX Sports, as they will have televised both the MLB
World Series along with the NFL Super Bowl 51.
There is a lot of preparation to making the World Series an aesthetically pleasing event.
Before the game, the bases need to be spotless and dirt-free, so they are spray painted white.
Finely-ground white chalk dust is also rolled out in perfectly straight lines to represent the foul
lines. The grounds crew also has the responsibility of watering the grass and dirt. Along with
watering, they are responsible for mowing the grass, sometimes mowing different images or
patterns into the outfield grass, typically in centerfield. As mentioned earlier, the infielders of the
home team will tell the grounds crew exactly how wet or dry they like their area in the infield to
be, and the grounds crew will follow the specifications they are given. The dirt on the infield also
has to be dragged before and periodically throughout the game. This helps remove cleat marks
and divots that could influence the way the ball bounces on the field. One other responsibility
that is done pregame is the World Series logo being spray painted into the grass behind home
Right before batting practice starts, the bases need to be set out and locked into place by a
metal bar that is on the bottom of the base itself. Right as the game starts, a rosin bag is put on
the back of the dirt pitching mound for the pitcher and infielders to help them get a better grip on
the ball when they have to throw it. The home plate umpire will come out carrying several spare
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baseballs in case a foul ball goes into the stands or if a pitcher requests a new ball. There will
also be boxes of extra balls kept in the home team’s dugout, in case the umpire runs out. Finally,
the national anthem will be sung before the start of play and God Bless America and Take Me
Out to the Ball Game are sung during the seventh inning stretch.
After the game(s) end, the infield dirt would need to be re-dragged, taking out any cleat
marks that were made after it was dragged mid-game. The bases would then be removed and the
dirt watered. All entry points would be locked once the last crew member leaves the premises.
From a fan perspective, one major source of revenue at any sporting event would be food.
When large masses of people are at a venue for an extended period of time, the grand majority of
them are bound to get hungry at some time during the event. One adjustment that sports teams
have made in the past decades to improve fan experience is placing live stream monitors at the
concessions area. This makes serving food at the venue benefit both the fan and the team because
the fan won’t have to leave the stadium and potentially miss any action, and the organization will
make more money than just simply the ticket price. To build on that, tickets are the main source
of revenue for any sports team. This is how they get fans in the door to make all other ancillary
purchases. Apparel is another very big revenue stream for sports organizations. As mentioned
earlier, when fans attend an event, they will want a memento to remember the day by. This is yet
another avenue where both the fan and the organization benefit from the purchases made.
Another source of revenue would be TV contracts. In the case of the World Series, FOX and the
MLB have a contract where FOX pays a share of what they receive from their ratings to the
MLB in exchange for the rights to broadcast the games. One final source of revenue would be
sponsorships. At every MLB stadium there are signs plastered everywhere, promoting different
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companies that have signed contracts with the individual major league teams to advertise
One big expense for the World Series would be player salaries. No matter if a team
wins or loses, every player makes a bonus for helping bring their team to the “Fall Classic.”
Obviously, the winning team gets a bigger bonus, but it isn’t much larger in comparison to
what the loser receives. Another expense would be travel. There is a maximum of two travel
days during the World Series. Booking the private jet for not only this round of the playoffs
but the two previous rounds as well can prove to be very costly. One final glaring expense at
any sporting event would be the facility utilities. The World Series games are always played
at night, so the larger demographic won’t be at work when the games are going on. This
combined with the tens of thousands of fans using the facilities will cause excessive funds to
be allocated for electricity and sewage costs, in particular.
Risk Management, Liability, Negligence
One of the biggest and most dangerous risks at any sporting event is a person bringing a
weapon into the stadium. This is mitigated with the use of metal detectors at the entrances of the
ballpark(s), with trained security staff stationed at them. Another risk would be fans running on
to the field of play. As previously mentioned, there are security personnel stationed next to the
camera wells on both the first and third base side as well as a few in the bullpens to stop fans
from entering the field of play. A third risk that could potentially fall under liability would be if a
bat or ball came flying into the stands and hit a fan. To mitigate this, buying a ticket to a game
also is a waiver claiming that the venue will not be held responsible for these sorts of accidental
injuries. Another way that they have tried to stop these occurrences is by extending the protective
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netting behind home and along the first and third base lines, to lower the likelihood of instances
where spectators would not have time to get out of the way.
The 2016 MLB World Series was one for the ages. Fans got to see the longest World
Series drought broken, and a record-breaking amount of people attended the celebratory parade.
A lot goes into planning and organizing the championship for the game known as “America’s
Pastime,” from maintenance, ticket sales, parking, apparel sales, concessions, and so much more.
It is Major League Baseball’s hope that after the proverbial show that was put on by the Chicago
Cubs and the Cleveland Indians during this year’s World Series, baseball’s ratings will go up
again and be able to compete with the three other major American sports.
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Adidas Kris Bryant “Kurse Breaker” shirt referred to on page 3, line 15
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Adidas. (2016, November). KRIS BRYANT KURSE BREAKER [Digital image].
Retrieved November 21, 2016, from http://www.adidas.com/us/kris-bryant-kurse-
Ammon, R., Southall, R. M., & Nagel, M. (2016). Sport Facility Management:
Organizing Events and Mitigating Risks. Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.
Brown, M. (2015, March 19). MLB Properties And Majestic Athletic Extend Exclusive
Partnership For Uniforms And More. Retrieved November 21, 2016, from
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Chicago Cubs Parking - Find Reserved Parking Near Chicago Cubs - Parking Panda.
(2016). Retrieved November 21, 2016, from https://www.parkingpanda.com/chicago-cubs-
Cotten, D., & Wolohan, J. T. (2003). Law for recreation and sport managers. Dubuque,
IA: Kendall/Hunt Pub.
Flosi, N. (2016, November 16). Cubs World Series celebration ranks as 7th largest
gathering in human history. Retrieved November 21, 2016, from
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Getting to Progressive Field - by Public Transit. (2016). Retrieved November 21, 2016,
Matheson, V. (2006, October 1`). Mega-Events: The effect of the world’s biggest
sporting events on local, regional, and national economies.
Newman, M. (2012, October 02). MLB has reached an eight-year TV agreement with
FOX, Turner Sports. Retrieved November 21, 2016, from
Patty, J. A. (2010, June 30). Understanding ADA. Retrieved November 21, 2016, from
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Reichard, K. (2009, July 10). Progressive Field / Cleveland Indians. Retrieved November
21, 2016, from http://ballparkdigest.com/200907102006/major-league-
Rovell, D. (2016, October 17). Under Armour, Fanatics win MLB uniform deal.
Retrieved November 21, 2016, from http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/17817780/under-
Transportation to Wrigley Field. (2016). Retrieved November 21, 2016, from
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Wolfe, J., Martinez, R., & Scott, W. A. (1998). Baseball and Beer: An Analysis of
Alcohol Consumption Patterns Among Male Spectators at Major-League Sporting Events.
Annals of Emergency Medicine, 31(5), 629-632.