Tag Archives: 90 minute attention span

if your soccer tournament isn;t real time, you missed out

The 90 minute attention span

Your soccer tournament has a 90 minute attention span. In and of itself, this is neither a good or a bad thing, it’s just how it is. By understanding what this means across all your channels — on-site and on-line — you can capture your soccer tournament audience attention where it lives; in real time, in the moment.

Here’s how.

We bleed our heart and soul into our soccer tournament. We sweat the details of seeding, scheduling, coaching conflicts, having enough port-a-johns, sourcing and scheduling referees, ordering trophies, attracting sponsors and local media. The teams should be able to see all that hard work and appreciate your event for the marvel of organization that it is.

The truth is, though, they don’t.

The truth is most soccer tournament participants have a 90 minute attention span for your event; an event that you’ve poured your heart and soul into for the previous 362 days leading up to it from last year.

It doesn’t seem fair.

It probably isn’t fair, but that is your reality. Knowing that, how will you steer your event?

Every participant — on site or online — is a micro-influencer. Every participant is creating content for their own audience, regardless of how small or large it is. How are you leveraging that knowledge and connection?

Lots of graphic content is being captured at your soccer tournament, but unless you are connected to the social streams of your participants, you aren’t seeing any of it. It is being shared in the layer of connection under the radar, between friends and teammates, between and among parents and cliques. But mostly, even when you have “official” social channels, few people are connecting, friending, downloading and sharing. Little that is posted “officially” is interesting and sharable.

Your traffic flow
Are you managing your on-line traffic the same as you did five years ago? Here are some general traffic patterns we see. (This is Memorial Day Weekend, but choose any two days prior to and after your tournament and you will see roughly the same pattern.)




The world is mobile; it is real-time. Your marketing and sponsorship exposure needs to move there as well.

Basically, what is happening is you are now probably going to get as much traffic as you will ever get to your website. In fact, it may even decline somewhat over the next few years before it plateaus. That is neither good nor bad — unless you are starting now to sell general traffic to your sponsors. That would be bad, because that is not where your engagement traffic is today. Your audience comes to your website to get transactional data; when does my team play, what is the score, is that a rule, can I get a DEAL on the place down the street… Once they get what they want, they bounce.

Most of the time, they bounce into their social streams; mainly Instagram, Facebook, sometimes Twitter. If you do not have a presence there, you missed engaging your audience when you had their 90 minutes of attention.

You missed it.

Our advice: Get your soccer tournament on glass. If you don’t have an Instagram account, get one and post a mix of shareable content (this was #1, this was #2, this was #3 for engagement. Study them, figure out why.) A good Instagram account has a mix of photos and videos, very light game action, some unique sponsor angles, heavy personal interest and an early trust that the person running the Instagram account, pointing the camera at the participants, will show them in their best light. Trust is key.

Everything is real time. Plan in advance for what you want to cover. Edit as you post, but don’t plan on post edits. Stay flexible and loose. Keep your batteries charged and your data plan fat. Once the teams advance into the finals, you will lose 2/3rds of your traffic. As the finals wrap up, you’ll lose the rest. Plan for that traffic pattern. There is no, “I’ll post that tomorrow.”

Be funny, be witty, be clever, but never be mean. Ever. Never embarrass someone. If you have doubts about whether or not to use the shot, ask! If there is any hesitation, delete it from the phone/camera for good, in front of them and move on. You’ll get more good shots.

But mostly, be there, be all there. There is no second chance, there are no added minutes to score.

Trending and soccer tournaments

I was going through the TourneyCentral traffic for the end of the year, making some recaps for the year and some predictions for the next. This is a typical cycle for the soccer tournament market.

Soccer Tournament Business Cycle

With some minor adjustments and some traffic increases, it looks remarkably like the 2010 cycle. And the 2009 cycle. And the 2008… you get the idea. The soccer tournament cycle for attention and activity has not changed in a very long time, even as soccer tournaments strive to be top of mind, 365/24/7 for the participants.

Here is a typical traffic pattern for a Labor Day soccer tournament. It looks like every other soccer tournament. Just plug your date in and you will typically see two traffic spikes — one when your schedule is published and the other the weekend of your event — with the rest of the traffic being flat or edging upwards slighting as your day approaches and then dropping precipitously when your event is over. It is what we’ve come to call the 90-Minute Attention Span.

Soccer Tournament Cycle

Again, we could go back years and see this has not changed vey much. There are only two major shifts we have seen in recent history. The first is a flattening of the traffic to include the day after, but when everyone got broadband, the day-after-traffic has gone away. It is likely we will see higher spikes during the event with smartphones and QR Codes, but the pattern will stay the same. The second is with online applications. We have seen more applications being submitted the last two weeks running up to the deadline. No amount of incentives have encouraged early registration.

Our Advice: Manage your soccer tournament with data you know, not the gut feel or common wisdom you think you know. Knowing the attention cycle of an event allows us to say things like “pricing incentives for early registration does not work” or “multiple-team incentives don’t work.” We’ve seen the traffic and registration patterns for tournaments with and without incentives. There is no variation.

But just because the cycle has not changed for a long time doesn’t mean it can’t. While the large trending cycle will probably stick around a long time, you may want to think about how you can engage your audience one more day longer or one more day sooner. Think about what you and your sponsors can do to grab just one more day of attention and what that would mean for your soccer tournament and your sponsor’s business.

The 90-Minute Attention Span is a very powerful force. Even grabbing one more minute of attention can move the needle for your soccer tournament. The trick, however, is to add real value to your participant’s lives, not gimmicks like Facebook likes or raffles.

And learn to use the different phases of your tournament wisely. Here are some publications that might help you get started.