Live events are back - 4 glorious words all sport marketers have been longing to hear...

… and none more so than me as my very first live event beckoned. Where better to begin than the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup final in beautiful Barcelona?

Here are the 10 key learnings from the event I’d like to share with you.

1. Plan, plan, plan

Never underestimate the importance of planning. A detailed content plan brings structure, and provides a good foundation for event coverage, to what can sometimes be a chaotic live environment. Use the plan as a guideline to expand upon, not one to be restricted by. Ultimately, the event and the atmosphere should lead your content.

The working days are long, the delivery fast. A comprehensive plan of action enables the most efficient (and effective) time/team management and delivery.

2. Flexibility is key

Balance planning with a flexible attitude. Live sport is unpredictable: schedules change, storylines develop, so don’t be surprised if your plan goes out of the window at some point.

It’s vital to adapt and react quickly. Swift, rational thinking guarantees that your coverage is representative of the event narrative and that the fan experience is as close to the real thing as possible.

3. Do your homework

A cliché, I know … but fail to prepare and prepare to fail.

Research what you can about the event before you go. For me, this included information on riders, pairings, horses, venues, rankings, social handles, and previous results. Live events are fast paced; having knowledge to hand made my job that little bit easier when time was short. Prepare for every scenario as well by covering all bases and preparing for every eventuality.

4. Helpful hacks = life savers

Time is of the essence: anything that can speed up your processes is a bonus.

Here’s just one example. I made notes on my mobile of rider pairings in their starting order so I could paste them into captions rather than frantically typing during the action. This saved time (some of those names are loonnnngg) and eradicated the possibility of typos.

Another? Well, let’s just say that a world without AirDrop is one I don’t want to be a part of!

5. Quality over quantity

Your adrenaline is sky high. It’s easy to get caught up in the action-packed nature of the event. You might find yourself feeling you must capture every moment. However, (1) this is impossible, and (2) you’re at risk of bombarding your audience with spam-like content.

Always have your audience in mind. Think about their experience. What do they want to see? Offer them a variety of quality content rather than an overload of lower quality information.

6. Teamwork makes the dream work

It might seem obvious, but working seamlessly with your team is essential to success.

Share the workload. Have defined roles and a clear understanding of everyone’s responsibilities, particularly your own.  It’s a stressful environment, hence the need for close communication as well as mutual understanding and support.

7. Connections are key to success

Building relationships with external teams is another integral part of successful delivery.

Set aside time to network, thus creating positive relationships; it also makes sharing content and information much more efficient. You’re all in the same boat: working together will deliver better results.

8. Embrace your inner zen

It’s go, go, go but it’s ok to take a step back, collect your thoughts, and remember the goals you’ve set. Stay cool, calm and collected to be on top of your game.

9. Stock up on snacks

A very important learning for me.

That breakfast buffet? Eat heartily! You can never have too many snacks, either – they’re the fuel you need to keep you going.

Alternatively, find yourself a Matt: a director who brings you burgers when you don’t have time for dinner!

10. Embrace the atmosphere

It might be stressful. It might be long. Above all else, though, it’s great fun. There’s nothing quite like live sport, so embrace the atmosphere. The past year and a half has certainly taught us not to take anything for granted.

My first, and (I hope!) not my last, live event. It was an incredible experience with lots of learnings and many laughs!

Want to know more about how we can support you with live event social media coverage?

Contact Jonny Murch at

Jonny Murch

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