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How To Plan A Successful Sporting Event: Martin Capstick of Exceed Sports and Entertainment

Start with a good product and sound knowledge of the local markets, says Martin Capstick, CEO & co-founder of Exceed Sports and Entertainment.

"Get your pricing and registration mechanics right, commit sufficient resource to manage your sponsor relations, and deliver something that exceeds expectations," says Martin Capstick.

The fun run calendar in Singapore is jam-packed all year round and this weekend is no different. The Music Run by AIA is returning to Sentosa for the third time on 6 May 2017, much to the pride and joy of Martin Capstick, CEO & co-founder of Exceed Sports and Entertainment, which organises it.

But before you dismiss it as yet another gimmicky health event, know this. To date, the 5km Music Run has been staged 18 times in 10 different cities since the first one was held in Kuala Lumpur in 2014.

Participation rates stand anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000, and the logistics involve broadcasting music to the runners along different sections of the route. In short, there is nothing small-scale or boring about this.

“The Music Run has a winning formula that combines music with the ever-growing fitness craze [of] running. It is an immersive experience that puts music at its heart,” says Capstick, when asked about its appeal.

“Music connects and inspires. It enhances every running moment, and running improves vitality. Together, they are an excellent enabler to a more active and healthy lifestyle that is fun at the same time.”

No wonder then, that following the inaugural one in Malaysia, it generated a huge amount of interest from cities across the region. Capstick says that prompted him to look at a multi-city roll-out of the concept as a natural next step.

In deciding which ones to launch in, he says it was a combination of analysing both the public and sponsor appetite, together with ease of doing business. What also helped was his and Exceed’s strong knowledge of the Asian market.

“Event organisers must have a deep understanding of local market conditions, and should have done their due diligence before entering a market for the first time. This includes, for example, knowing who to partner with locally, understanding who your target participant is and how to speak to and engage them.

“[Also important is] getting your pricing and registration mechanics right, committing sufficient resource to manage your sponsor relations, delivering something that exceeds their expectations, and finding Key Opinion Leaders who share an authentic and genuine passion for your event.”

Naturally, challenges are to be expected. Capstick says one is identifying and securing a suitable venue that allows sufficient room to meet their needs. Additionally, different cities have different regulations and sometimes the approval and permit processes can be very laborious.

This is where having a solid network of credible local partners, including sponsors and the authorities, will help, particularly in building government relations — something that is essential to staging a successful event. Having an experienced, diverse team familiar with the inner workings of doing business in the cities you want to hold your event in also helps.

“Be clear about what your event stands for. Successful events deliver the right things to the key stake holders. And it’s all about striking the right balance,” says Capstick.

Of course constantly innovating is an equally important part of ensuring a high sticking factor, and this weekend’s run in Singapore will have its own novelty. Capstick promises a brand new “sound” track with each 1km stretch offering a different music experience: AIA Rock Highway, Pop Street, Memory Lane, AirAsia Hip Hop Alley and AIA Electric Avenue.

“There will be live performances by Nathan Hartono and a brand new beach festival area at the Sentosa Beach Club. We try to keep each edition of the run exciting by bringing in new and exciting elements to elevate the whole run experience.”