As a member of the track team I go to a lot of big events. Granted, the rest of the world refers to such proceedings as track meets. I call them events because they take the same amount of planning as any large scale event would.
A track meet requires gathering together anywhere from 3-30 or more teams of athletes together to compete. On top of the sheer number of athletes, there are numerous events at every track meet. Every race is different and requires varying levels of preparation. Certain events need hurdles set up, others need bib numbers or have different starting lines.
There is also a seemingly infinite need for man power. Officials must run the clock and start the races. There must be onsite trainers in case of injury. Someone must check athletes in before the race. Someone must put athletes into lanes at the start of the race. Others must help move athletes off the track after the race.
There are also non-athletes who must be considered. Every meet garners fans who come to watch the athletes compete. These people must be accommodated spatially, as well as physically. There must be room for them to park their cars and sit to watch races. There must be food and often swag for purchase. Effective meets make money.
As an athlete is very clear when a meet is run well and when it is not. The last meet I went to had its positives and negatives. Like any good event there was a time schedule and they did a very good job of sticking to it. Keeping on schedule is essential in a track meet because athletes are reliant upon that schedule to know when they must warm up for their race. They also had a lot of officials and volunteers that helped to keep everything running smoothly.
However, there were also some huge negatives. Resources became a problem. There were only two restrooms with three stalls each for about 200-300 people. They also repeatedly ran out of water for athletes who had just finished races. Their track was built on a huge hill and parking was very far from the track itself. These are all common problems.
Track meets are huge events that are often taken on lightly, but like any event they take a lot of time and effort.