I was recently challenged on Twitter by Ingrid Green (@Ingridium) to come up with a plan to market the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Ingrid Green is an avid supporter of women’s soccer in Canada, and is someone who you should all follow in the lead-up of to both the 2014 U-20 and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments.
FIFA U-20 what? Yup, that’s the problem. Canada is playing host to a world-class soccer tournament next year, in preparation for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which we are also a host to. The problem is that word of the U-20 tournament is a rare find. Here’s how they can fix that:
- Integrate young female talent into sports broadcasts. Ever remember CBC’s “Soccer Day in Canada” series? Bring that back, but with a focus on female talent at a young club level, and highlight local teams and players to integrate them into regular programming for sports broadcasting.
- Create a touring countdown. In marketing terms, we call this an “activation”. What this can include is creating one-day events that tour the tournament’s host cities across Canada. Each stop can include a local soccer festival involving local U-16 to U-12 girl’s teams (just as an example). Throw in artist appearances/performances, athlete sessions, media coverage, and this creates the opportunity for sponsors to buy into the event while building hype for ticket sales. Build it, and they will come. Funding for this activation should not be an issue with sponsors filling the gaps. Furthermore, sponsoring this “countdown” will open the door for exposure of the tournament through the sponsors products or services. Easier said than done, but the rewards are worth it.
- Set up female youth soccer camps that are run by the tournament’s organizing committee. Integrate the Canadian U-20 team into delivering scrimmage sessions with the youth and bring CSA coaching staff into the structure of the summer camp. This will immediately create a desire for children and parents to buy tickets if their camp is branded on behalf of the tournament. Children will be able to develop skills as they look up to the U-20 athletes as role models , with the desire to see them at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
You’ll notice that all these suggestions involve grassroots implementation of youth soccer clubs across Canada. I believe this is the only way to effectively market a U-20 tournament that is being over-shadowed by other FIFA events (i.e. the 2014 World Cup in Brazil). By introducing youth organizations to the tournament and their athletes, you create a supporter community that will follow the U-20 Women’s team into their days of glory when they eventually play for the Women’s World Cup as the team ages. Fixing these problems now will make the job easier for future women’s games which will follow.
What do you think? Have any other tips to add that you’d like to pass onto FIFA’s organizing committee? Share them in the comments section below.