How to Plan a Three-on-Three Basketball Tournament

By Zach Lazzari

Three-on-three basketball tournaments are great for fundraising and fun when you don't have the large numbers of people required for full teams. The small teams make for fast games with an entertaining dynamic. Planning and organizing a tournament requires some time and contacts in your community. Plan in advance to give people time to train, prepare and work the event into their schedules.

Find a Venue

Locate a venue with multiple courts and space for seating and concessions. Schools and park systems are both good options for a tournament. Speak with the person who handles the reservations to get your pricing and open dates. Reserve at least one month in advance to leave time for preparations and promotions. The games are played on a half-court, leaving space for two simultaneous games on each full court.

Scheduling and Teams

With the dates set, begin recruiting teams. For fundraisers, each team will likely represent a school or business. Determine the number of teams and ensure they all have three people committed to the tournament. Collect entry fees if necessary and provide teams with copies of the rules and any media they may need. Use color-coding and have each team wear an armband or waistband to distinguish teams. Uniforms work well but they are more costly. Use the uniforms if the teams are sponsored.

Build the Brackets

Print a bracket and match the teams using a random drawing. Pick the teams out of a hat to make the bracket fair. After the bracket is complete, send a copy to each team. You can also promote the event by posting brackets to a website and to social media. If you do not have an even number of teams, one of them will receive a bye in the first round. Do single elimination for a fast process or double elimination to award third, fourth, fifth and sixth place.

Staff and Logistics

Organize a volunteer staff to handle entry fees and concessions. You also must hire referees to enforce the rules in each game. Purchase beverages and snacks to sell and consider cooking burgers or selling sandwiches for lunches. Depending on the bracket size, the tournament will last at least one full day.

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