Tag Archives: Soccer tournaments

Selling a soccer tournament during a pandemic

Selling a soccer tournament during a pandemic

How do you sell a soccer tournament during a pandemic? The short answer is; you don’t.

Instead, you pivot to marketing your event for next year. Everyone is now on the same level playing field, all of your competitors have the same market conditions under which to attract teams. Nobody has any particular advantage, points don’t matter, especially if everyone was required to cancel last year.

Teams have short memories. They will remember their experience from last year, but their experience from two years ago will be a foggy memory, if they remember you at all. When they don’t even have a memory of last year, you have a marketing problem.

Or an opportunity. The choice is yours.

Think first year
First year events are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they don’t have a history to point to. Research shows the number one reason a team or club applies to your soccer tournament event is they had a good experience the last time. But you don’t have this. You had to skip a year.

The good thing, though, is you don’t have to live with your history. You can change things about your event that maybe you’ve been wanting to do for a while, but your history has been holding you back. Do it now!

You also have the experience first year soccer tournament events lack. Leverage your experience by becoming your own mentor you would have liked for your first-year running a tournament.

Think smaller
Soccer tournaments for next year will be smaller. Teams will not be attending as many events, so they will be pickier about who they choose. This doesn’t mean giving discounts or running giveaways or contests, but it does mean you will need to think about things you have done or marketing messages based on size and scale. You may also not have volume discounts with vendors and providers you enjoyed in the past.

If you are a large, sprawling event, think about if that is a good strategy for your event going forward. Ask yourself, “is the size of my soccer tournament event the reason teams apply?” It well may be, in that case, you will need to market to the reality of a smaller event next year, with the promise of a larger one as we move past this pandemic.

Think local
Many teams will be restricting travel for next year, maybe even the year after. Because the United States does not have a consistent pandemic response for every state, each state has developed their own rules, some backed by laws and executive orders, others by the US Soccer associations sanctioning policies and most with the combination of all of the above. Because it is confusing for teams, many clubs are simply mandating their teams play in local events through next year.

If you were always a soccer tournament event for local teams, you have an advantage. You know how to do this and you should be leveraging hard. You also have a problem with other tournaments who may have relied on out-of-state teams now marketing to local teams. Get in there first; don’t assume local teams are loyal. Again, teams have short memories and some don’t remember you.

Our advice:
This coronavirus pandemic has turned the soccer world on its head, most affecting the viability of your soccer tournament event. Training has begun, league play will follow if it hasn’t already but tournament events will be the last soccer format to get up and running, taking several years to become robust again. If you relied on your tournament to raise much-needed funds for your club, you need to get tournaments healthy again.

Hire a marketing firm to assess your event, position you within the tournament and soccer space and execute your marketing strategy well, including developing out your social media, other traditional media and email marketing. Now is not the time to bargain-hunt; you need someone who understands the soccer tournament landscape and has a proven marketing record.

Make sure your website is current and spot on updated with everything. No marketing program is going to work if you are not operationally ready and buttoned up. Make sure you are ready to take applications for your soccer tournament and have a clear cancellation policy in place. This year came up fast and took everyone by surprise; next year can be planned. A lack of a clear direction for next year will be read by teams as a disorganized event they will avoid. Don’t give them a reason to pass you up.

That’s pretty much it. Think first-year, think smaller, think local.

And wash your hands, wear a mask, keep your distance and stay safe so we can all get through this together. We’d hate to lose even one soccer player, their fans and supporters to this pandemic.

TourneyCentral at the 2018 United Soccer Coaches (NSCAA) Convention

TourneyCentral will be at the 2018 United Soccer Coaches (NSCAA) Convention, in booth 618. Stop by and say hi…and grab some free stuff, like a game starting coin that spins.

Our booth is being run by the folks at Premier Athletic Advertising so while you are looking for hosting software to power your tournament, take a look at their services for tournaments as well as their calendar of events for your teams.

See everyone in Philly.

Favorite Places: (list might grow)
Tony Luke’s (cheesesteak… don’t do Pats or Genos… break the cycle)
Jim Steaks (second best, but only by a tiny sliver..within walking distance)
Sarcone’s Bakery
Anthony’s Italian Coffee House
Bank and Bourbon

Contact us:
If you saw us at Booth 618 or heard about us through the convention grapevine and are interested in TourneyCentral for your soccer tournament, drop us a line.

Managing soccer tournament DEALS with URL shorteners

Managing soccer tournament DEALS with URL shorteners is a quick, easy way to build value for your advertisers and sponsors. While your TourneyCentral Advertiser Module and Google Analytics will give you aggregate traffic, you may want to track individual ads or links more closely. This is where URL shorteners really shine.

Let’s take a look at how to do it using the popular shortening service, bitly.com.

  1. Sign up for an account at bitly.com. I like using the @tourneycentral twitter account because I hate setting up one more user name/password account. Obviously, to log in with twitter, you need to have a twitter account. Use your soccer tournament account, not your personal handle so that your link history is part of the tournament record.
  2. Edit your profile, including an email address. Verify the address.Open your TourneyCentral Admin and navigate to the Advertising Module. Click to the first DEALS listing and copy the web address.
  3. Create your first shortened link by clicking on the orange button at the top.
    Managing soccer tournament DEALS with URL shorteners
  4. Paste the actual advertiser link in the Long URL box and Create. Copy the shortener URL into the Advertiser record in your TourneyCentral Admin and update.
    Managing soccer tournament DEALS with URL shorteners
  5. Over at bitly.com, eit your shortened link to include a DEALS tag and title to make building reports easier.
    Managing soccer tournament DEALS with URL shorteners
  6. Repeat for as many links as you want to track

Now, when advertisers or sponsors want to know how their DEALS placement did or when you need to go back for a renewal ad for next year, you’ll have data.

URL shorteners are also useful when advertisers or housing services give you URLs that are long, unwieldy or complicated with non-alphanumerics. When you run them through a URL shortener, it cleans them up smartly.

Managing soccer tournament DEALS with URL shorteners; it’s a tool that every Advertising Director should have in their tournament toolbox.

Why your tournament website should be smaller

Most websites have way too many pages! A website today is not the sum total of everything your tournament is online — a very different way of looking at websites from even a few years ago. The rise of social media is why your tournament website should be smaller.

The website needs to give the who what where when why and be the authoritative voice for the your tournament; also, for operationally critical data (sponsors, applications, schedules. The other media stuff needs to live on the outposts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, Snapchat etc with the website simply validating the authen- ticity of the content. The outposts are where people live now, wanting your tournament to meld into the rest of their lives, not the other way around.

Your online schedule is a hook for media where you can hang photos, videos, profiles, blog posts, etc. A schedules immediately gives your media context, i.e., who, where, when, why. Use that organic context to your advantage. The absolute hardest part of shifting to social media channels is convincing folks to let go of about 90% of the website pages. You just don’t need them!

Your tournament is now mobile and real time. Your participants, their fans and your supporting commu- nity is not waiting until they get home to look up scores, searching for photos, etc. They are doing that in real time as they experience your event.

Social is mobile
Because social = mobile, you should be staying on the mobile apps as much as possible, even signing up for accounts using them. For some — like Instagram and Snapchat — there is no web site; everything is done through the app.

Social media channels priority
Running a tournament is all about making the best choice for what works for you. While it would be great to be everywhere on every social media channel, it’s probably not possible.

Here is the list of social media channels in the order of priority that I think you should be working. In a year, this list may change but going into the 2016 tournament season, these are it.

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Instagram
  4. Snapchat
  5. Periscope
  6. Vine
  7. YouTube
  8. GooglePlus

Our advice: At minimum, the modern tournament should be fluent in the top four channels to be visible. How much you want to work each channel depends on the manpower you can direct into each. Some of the content to these channels can be automated, like scores and news updates.

Important: Implement the social media tools in order and completely. For example, don’t try using Vine or Periscope if you haven’t yet set up a Twitter account. It will frustrate and scatter you.

Don’t get so hung up on the volume of people using specific social media channels. It doesn’t matter if one billion people are using Facebook if only your guest teams and local community are willing to connect to your tournament there.

Focus on building your networks where it makes most sense to you. It is better to do fewer channels more deeply than to be everywhere but anemic and unfocused.

Broadcast and interact like everyone in the world is watching you. If you are doing it well, local print and television will ask if they can use your content. If you are doing it exceptionally well, national media will.

There are also other channels that you can explore like Tumblr, Reddit, YouNow, YikYak, FourSquare, Digg, WeChat, etc. But these eight provide a strong core of social media for your soccer tournament. Keep in mind that each channel requires more time and effort to maintain and you should only start with more if you are committed to keeping up these accounts.

Excerpted from The Game Through Glass: Playing your youth sports tournament on social media

Soccer tournament social media jobs training program

The core skills that every information-age worker needs today to compete in the modern ecomomy are; photography, videography, writing and social media.

Playing soccer on a team in a competitive league gives young people critical skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. A smart tournament can also give young adults an opportunity to hone critical job-market skills by opening up their social media accounts to them to “practice” skills they will need when they search for a job.

Because there are many different channels within social media, the opportunity to bring on many people to manage different channels is almost infinite. Of course, like any good team, you will need a coach to coordinate, monitor and guide your media team.

Social media has a ton of potential to add to your tournament brand but it is deceptively a lot of work. It is intense and fast-paced but you have the potential to give someone one heckuva resume reel!

If you do it right, your tournament can be a competitive social media jobs training program where the best media minds can not only learn new skills but give back a deep, rich online space for your tournament event.