2018 RIMS

Risk Management Tips for Sports Organizations

Sports risk management faces a different kind of challenge — especially if the team is well-known and successful.
By: | April 13, 2018 • 2 min read
Topics: RIMS | Risk Management

Want to help your team win off the field as well as on? Then invest in your risk management program, said Monica Rusch, senior director, risk management of the Houston Astros. At a RIMS 2018 presentation on April 18, the 29-year veteran of the baseball organization, along with Tamara D. Bruno, counsel from Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw and Pittman LLP, offered attendees practical and tested tips for mitigating ever present risks.

Advertisement




When teams win big, everyone from the players to the fans to the front office is thrilled. But the bigger the win —  think World Series champs — the bigger the risks, especially to players.

“There is increased player recognition. Everyone wants to be near the players. Everyone wants to get close to them,” Rusch said. “Even the lesser known players become well known. It’s a new risk every time we get to another level.”

The coveted World Series rings are worn with pride by the players and other members of the organization, but these, too, present a new risk, Rusch said. Safety and theft become additional risks.

“Everyone wants to be near the players. Everyone wants to get close to them. Even the lesser known players become well known. It’s a new risk every time we get to another level.” — Monica Rusch, senior director, risk management of the Houston Astros

But your sports organization doesn’t need to be world champs to be exposed to risk. No two games are exactly alike, so risk varies for each game. An organization’s risk mitigation strategic and tactics need to be tailored. Bruno described how a game between a Texas rivalry called for more security, a closer watch on attendance and other strategies to mitigate risk, above and beyond what is needed for a “less emotional” match-up.

The key to being effective is conducting ongoing training and communication effectively. Training can be taught or self-paced through online training. It teaches best practices and documents your organizations’ efforts should an incident occur. And communication involves constant dialogue with all team members — and a lot of listen in addition to providing information.

Advertisement




Also crucial is having written policies, procedures and consequences. These also document your organization’s efforts. Rusch joked that when anyone leaves their keys in their golf cart and walks away, they know to look for the keys in her office — and they know they’ll be directed to re-take their safety training.

Risks are everywhere and good risk managers are always listening, looking and anticipating those risks. From spectators getting hit with foul balls to stadium slip and falls to player collisions, a good risk manager has a plan in mind to prevent and mitigate risks whenever possible and deal with the aftermath when something does happen. &

Mercedes Ott is former managing editor of Risk & Insurance. Comments or questions about this article can be addressed to [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Matrix: Presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance

10 Critical Risks Shaping the Liability Landscape Today

Litigation trends, including ever-rising jury awards, are amplifying new and emerging liability exposures across the board.
By: | June 3, 2019




The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]