Project Management Framework for Sports Events

1. Introduction
In this paper, we offer a project management perspective to sport events management in spite that the sports
industry considers that those events should be treated differently from other types of events (Fanjul-Suárez &
Magaz-González, 2012: page 140). Moreover, the methodology applied to the organization of sports events has
been mainly marketing oriented, treated as processes that are organized in a series of stages and sections. Project
management has not a dominant role in the organization of sports events. One explanation for the marketing being
the alpha and omega in this field is in the training of the events managers around the Sport Business Schools (SBS).
Therefore, today sport marketing, as an extension of the traditional concept of marketing, as well as the
process-based approach –as opposed to project-based- cover all the phases of the organization of a sport event.
Taking this context into account, the aim of the paper is to use the project management approach for the
management of sports events. To achieve this objective, we explain how this could be done –could be extended to
any kind of event-, and we start by asking whether a sport event is a project, and what must be fulfilled for it to be
so. Then we suggest managers adopt mainstream project management standards and methodologies. In particular,
we advocate using PM2
, the project management methodology developed inside the European Commission
(European Commission, 2021). PM2
has specific characteristics that made it interesting in sectors where managers
do not have extensive experience using project management standards and methodologies, as it is the case of sports
events. In particular, it specifies in a simple way what has to be done on a project, who has to do it and when. The
Guide advises on how to tailor and adapt the methodology to the complexity of a particular project.
proposes a governance model with well-defined roles concerning the responsibilities of each participant in the
project. It proposes a live cycle and a swimlane diagram describing all the activities to be done in order for the
project to succeed. PM2
includes a set of “artifacts”, that is, a set of predefined templates of almost all documents
a project team can need.
Other predictive methodologies like PMI or ISO 21500 could be also appropriate for managing sports events
projects, but in practice, they need more effort from “novel” project managers. Likewise, competence-based
methodologies like the one developed by IPMA can be used complementarily to PM2
. PM2
has been developed as
general purpose methodology and has been developed to be used for any kind of project. However, it is opened to
changes and extensions to cope with the particular features of some kinds of projects. This is the case of event
exports, as we explain in this paper.
But sports events as projects have some specific characteristics, like the role of some stakeholders or the phases in
which sports events can be structured. Thus, in this paper, we propose some modifications to the original PM2
Guide affecting the governance model and the project lifecycle phases. The most relevant innovation is that we
consider an additional phase, by dividing the original execution phase into two: deployment and execution (stricto
sensu) phases.
The rest of this paper is organized as follows. In section 2, we summarize the current mainstream approach to
managing sports events, usually based on processes and marketing. In section 3 we argue that sports events can be
considered as projects, benefiting from the project management methodologies that we review in section 4. We also
remark on the relevance and advantages of using PM2
for managing sports events. In section 5 we explain our
proposal for extending the original methodology to sports events and we end with the main conclusions of our

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Project Management for Sports

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