One Ohio soccer tournament made a bit of national news lately with a neighboring city setting up speed cameras and issuing over 900 tickets. The soccer tournament pled a good case, citing good will and economic impact for the city. The police from the neighboring city had not been in contact with them regarding this enforcement effort, even as the host city police were helping out directing traffic in and out of the park. That alone probably helped plead the case for “forgiving” the tickets.
Contrary to what most people think, the police don’t just ticket people for easy money. The first priority for the police is road safety and preventing accidents. When they see a car racing by at 40-50 mph on a road that is posted at 25 mph, they are going to do something about it. If they see many, many cars doing the same thing, they are going to sit there and pick you off, soccer tournament or not.
Social media is a huge cloud of things like blogging, tweets, likes and status updates so it is easy to become overwhelmed and do nothing.
But you need to roll up your sleeves get in there. We’ll help you along the way with this “social media for soccer tournaments” series.*
Social media is becoming integrated into the online experience for most people, so if you have not learned to navigate these waters, you may be risking the reach of your tournament. Social media channels can help you reach coaches and teams where they live and help you keep them updated and interested in your event.
Do not assume Facebook and Twitter are for kids. The largest and fastest growing demographic for Facebook and Twitter is age 35-55. That means a player’s mom, dad or coach is more likely to “like” you on Facebook or “follow” you on Twitter. While most kids over 13 yrs old will have a Facebook account, they connect with their friends, not with brands. If they happen to take a cool photo at your tournament, they may or may not post it. But if they do post it, they will post on their profile, not your tournament page. It’s nothing personal; just how kids use Facebook. Their parents on the other hand, may be more likely to interact on your Facebook page.
The photograph above was taken at the Hershey Soccer Club meeting on Tuesday, March 15, 2011.
This donation was a result of the 2010 Hershey Invitational Charity Soccer Tournament played on June 19-20, 2010. The tournament raised $16,000 for the Special Olympics Area M and also $16,000 for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camps. The Hershey Invitational is organized and run by Kicks 4 Kids Charity Soccer Tournaments. To date, Kicks 4 Kids has raised $177,618 for organizations that serve disadvantaged youth.
The 2011 Hershey Invitational will be played on the weekend of June 18-19, and will benefit the Special Olympics Area M and Ronald McDonald House of Hershey. The tournament is expected to host 230 teams from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.
The Hershey Invitational website can be found here.
There will be a special place in heaven for youth soccer tournament directors. These largely volunteer people give countless hours of their free time to help raise funds for their club and give kids a chance to play competitive soccer. They have to convince teams to play, armies of volunteers to work and sponsors to participate. There is no doubt that, at least on some level, tournament directors love the game of soccer.
But running a successful tournament needs more than just enthusiasm and “want to”. It requires the ability to remove yourself from the emotions and personalities and make real business decisions. Teams that sign up to play and the fans that follow them are real customers. Sponsors that support your event, even the ones who do it for good will purposes, are real business partners.
Our Advice: It’s time to realize that you are not in the Soccer Business. You are in the Event Management Business that happens to feature a youth soccer tournament. Highly successful events take a good hard look at every aspect of their event and make educated business decisions on what they should do, and what they should not. Those who leave things to chance, well, they leave things to chance. Being a volunteer does not mean you have to be an amateur.
I was poking around the other day, checking out popular soccer tournament calendars and I clicked on the one that is usually listed in the number one spot on a Google search for Soccer Tournaments. This came up and was there for several days.
In the world of on-line soccer tournament management systems, you get what you pay for. There are services available for tournament directors that come at no cost. One of the most common goals of any youth soccer tournament is to make as much money as possible for the host club. This tempts some to use free services or to depend on a guy in the club who can, “do websites.”
Peak times, like Sunday afternoons, are when you find out that cheap and free are really damaging and costly. That’s when everybody, including the guy in the club who is now watching his kids play, wants up-to-date scores and schedules. You may have saved a few bucks or reduced your entry fee, but the cost to your image and your tournament’s legacy can be devastating.
Our Advice: A website is no longer just “something over there for the tech guys.” It IS the event.
Work with a tournament web site host who has the bandwidth, the experience and the people who are willing to monitor your website for maximum performance, during the tournament, before and after. Your soccer tournament now is a 365 day a year, 24 hours a day, 7 day a week event. You want to work with someone who also understands that. Preferably someone you can email or call to solve problems as quickly as they arise.
Free and cheap rarely gets you that.