DB Schenker’s sports events division relies on deep expertise and a worldwide network to solve its customers’ biggest challenges.
Watch a sporting event on TV and it doesn’t take long to see how much thought, planning, and coordination went into the game or match itself. There are athletes to coordinate, venues to scout, there’s equipment to purchase, event areas to set up, and spectators to accommodate—to name just a small handful of the logistics that go on behind the scenes of these events.
What you may not realize is that a lot also goes into bringing you play-by-play event coverage right in your living room, at your local sports pub, or on your mobile device. This includes all of the planning, movement, and logistics that event sponsors have to manage before, during, and after the event. Without these maneuvers, and the people who orchestrate them, the event simply wouldn’t live up to expectations, receive financial support, or be available for viewing to a worldwide audience.
Tasked with helping to make sure sporting events go off without a hitch, DB Schenker takes sporting events very seriously. So much so, in fact, that it plays a leading role on the logistics front for several big-name, global events. Headed up by Michael Stromeyer, Schenker USA Director of Fairs and Exhibitions, this department provides support to the Olympic games, PGA Tours, various sailing regattas, and Women’s World Cup Events. It’s also a sponsorship partner of the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), supporting the organization with worldwide logistics and ancillary services, inclusive of customs clearance for all kinds of events staged by the 222 national volleyball federations.
“We are the official logistics supporter and the exclusive supporter of the FIVB Volleyball and Beach Volleyball World Championships and FIVB VNL Finals (Men & Women),” Stromeyer explains. “We serve as the federation’s official ‘broker’ and handle all of the movement of freight from event to event.”
Helping Customers be More Efficient and Effective
As any golf fan knows, getting an up-close shot of a player teeing off pretty much makes a TV spectator feel as if he or she were actually at the event. Cameras then follow through as the player makes shot after shot in pursuit of first place in a specific tournament. Getting those shots requires a lot of different technical equipment that DB Schenker handles expertly for numerous PGA and LPGA events.
Earlier this year, for instance, the logistics provider sent several large shipments of equipment from the East Coast to Hawaii for television broadcasting of the annual Sony Open. “We picked everything up at the broadcaster’s facilities, ensured that everything got on the right planes,” Stromeyer recalls, “and made sure the shipments were delivered directly to the venue—and not just to the gate or the dock—in Hawaii.”
As for those tee-off camera shots, Stromeyer says getting them right requires a lot of expensive equipment, at least some of which has to be rented from third parties. “Our customers want to be able to rent that equipment for the shortest time period possible,” he says. “That means we’re usually working on specific deadlines that align with the shippers’ expectations, and that can accommodate whatever customs regulations apply to those shipments.”
Recently, for example, DB Schenker was asked to send equipment to the French Open in Paris. Knowing the certain customs procedures would take time to clear through, the logistics provider made sure that its French co-workers were given plenty of time to both clear customs and arrange for delivery in time for the event. Concurrently, DB Schenker was making sure its customers were renting the costly equipment for only as much time as they actually needed it.
“If a shipment is arriving on a Friday and also needs to go out that day, it’s up to us to find the right carrier to come pick it up and get it to the venue in a timely manner,” says Stromeyer. “We work with pretty small delivery windows, and that’s one of the biggest challenges of this business.”
The challenges don’t end there. DB Schenker also has to ensure that all of the documentation provided by the shipper is correct, is compliant and that it matches the actual content of the shipment—both in terms of the product, and its dimensions, weight, and related customs documents.
Always Going the Extra Mile
Known for its strong logistics capabilities and expertise in the sporting event world, DB Schenker employs a worldwide network of employees that understand the industry and its key challenges. “We’re the only logistics provider that has this worldwide setup,” says Stromeyer, “and a strong team that’s dedicated to this sector.”
That team often goes the extra mile to make sure the goods get from Point A to Point B on time. Earlier this year, Stromeyer says a camera crew that was covering a rugby event was expecting its gear to arrive by noon on the Friday before the event. When the flight arrived late, Stromeyer says the customer went into a panic, worried that it wouldn’t have the gear it needed to film the event.
To solve the dilemma, DB Schenker picked up the freight and worked until midnight, ensuring that it got to customs the following morning. “With one of my co-workers here, I personally picked up the shipment and handed it over to customs and made sure it was released on time,” says Stromeyer. “The customer was very satisfied and happy that we went that extra mile.”
Looking ahead, Stromeyer says that team is already starting to gear up for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. This past January, he visited Japan and saw some of the venues and got a close-up look at how they’re organized. One potential logistics issue that’s already surfaced is the fact that few (if any) large tractor trailers are available in the country. “We’ll be relying mostly on minivans,” says Stromeyer. “That’ll make it challenging, but it will also give us yet another chance to prove ourselves in this space that we really enjoy working in.”