Sports and recreation organizations often host seasonal, annual or one-time tournaments or other competitions for a variety of reasons. These event hosts may be sports sanctioning or governing bodies, private facility owners, municipal facility owners, sports commissions, schools, leagues, or teams.
From a sports insurance and risk management perspective, tournaments represent a higher than normal risk of injury and related lawsuits due to the elevated level of competition, the number of people in attendance and level of activity that typically takes place at such events. Tournaments are made up of multiple teams playing at the same time, which means more players, spectators, administrators, coaches, etc. than attend regular-season games and events. Events with such crowds typically include food vendors, photographers, sportswear and sports equipment vendors, and volunteers monitoring entrances, parking lots, registration areas, and first aid stations. Tournaments also often include unrelated activities such as bounce houses, playgrounds, music, face painting and other forms of entertainment.
Tents, canopies, stages, booths and other temporary structures are also often required for tournaments, which always pose a risk of collapse. Grills, fryers and electrical equipment for food vendors are potential hazards, as well.
Tournament hosts should engage in the following contractual risk transfer techniques:
- Tournament host agreement between the tournament host and participating teams, which includes an indemnification / hold harmless provision in favor of the tournament host and insurance requirements on the part of the participating team.
- The participating teams should be required to provide a currently valid certificate of insurance evidencing both Excess Accident Insurance with a limit of at least $25,000 and a General Liability policy of at least $1,000,000 each occurrence limit and naming the tournament host as additional insured.
- Waiver/release forms signed by participant and parent/guardian (if participant is a minor) releasing the tournament host and facility owner from liability.
Even with contracted transfer protections, tournament hosts still need their own insurance.
Even with the implementation and administration of these techniques for compliance, tournament hosts should still purchase their own Excess Accident and General Liability insurance to protect themselves against liability for the following reasons:
- The team may present a fraudulent or expired certificate of insurance.
- The team’s General Liability insurance policy may contain some unacceptable exclusions that are not apparent from inspection of the certificate of insurance. An example would be an exclusion for Athletic Participants.
- Even if the tournament host is named as an additional insured under the team’s General Liability policy, being an additional insured under the policy of a team does not offer the same broad coverage as being a named insured under the tournament host’s own policy. For example, the team’s General Liability policy may not provide additional insured status to the host if the host is 100% negligent in causing the injury.
We offer several programs for Tournament Insurance
Many sports insurance carriers shy away from tournaments due to the elevated risks of participant and spectator injury. However, Sadler Sports Insurance offers several programs that insure tournament hosts with broad coverages for Accident and General Liability at competitive prices. In addition, we are able to offer custom insurance programs for larger tournament hosting organizations.