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Event Lessons from a Tiger

As alleged mistress No.11 comes forward today, the nightmare for Tiger Woods continues. While his major sponsors have (at this stage) vowed to stand by the biggest sporting star in the world, he has not appeared in public since his now famous car crash of a fortnight ago.Now wind the clock back just five weeks to the 2009 Australian Masters Golf tournament in Melbourne. Here the Victorian Government, the sport of golf in Australia and event organisers for the tournament, enjoyed enormous success from Tiger's attendance and his tournament win. The event had large crowds, significant international media exposure and highly valued brand leverage opportunities for the event's sponsors. But what if Tiger's alleged indiscretions were exposed five weeks earlier? Tiger may not have come to Australia and the investment gamble for many of the tournament's stakeholders would not have paid off. This example serves as a stark reminder to event organisers of the risks associated with the talent or entertainment not showing up.

The causes of such a ‘no show' can be numerous and in many cases outside the event organisers control. But the event's risk assessment and risk management plan should consider the financial impact that such an incident may cause and put contingency plans in place. As was reported in the ABA Law Journal's website, promoters of the cancelled Michael Jackson London Concerts purchased a US$17.5 million insurance policy against his non-appearance "resulting from accident." This is a type of policy that can be purchased by major event organisers and promoters, where significant financial investment is at stake. It has not been publicly reported as to whether a similar policy was purchased for the Australian Masters and if so, how much it cost. It is also unknown as to whether Tiger's current situation would be covered under such a policy although it was originally reported that his injuries sustained in the car accident were in part the basis for his subsequent tournament no-show in Los Angeles at his own tournament this month.

The bottom line is that the risk assessment of every event should consider the ‘no-show' of the event's draw card. Contracts engaging the talent should hold clear conditions for such an occurrence and Promoter Insurance should be considered. If insurance is not a viable option then other contingencies should be prepared.