Event Marketing: Hamilton Spectator Indoor Games 1994

Michael Lang is president of Lang & Associates, a Toronto-based international event marketing agency with offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Atlanta.Jennifer Scace is an associate with Lang & Associates, and co-ordinator for the Event Marketing column. Contributions, ideas, media releases and...

Michael Lang is president of Lang & Associates, a Toronto-based international event marketing agency with offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Atlanta.

Jennifer Scace is an associate with Lang & Associates, and co-ordinator for the Event Marketing column. Contributions, ideas, media releases and feedback should be directed to Jennifer at (416) 229-0060 or fax (416) 229-1210.

Soccer

Soccer has long been considered one of the great mysteries of North America.

Although considered to be the most popular sport in the world, soccer does not have a significant following in Canada or the u.s.

We are in the midst of soccer’s quadrennial celebration of the 1994 World Cup hosted by the u.s.

Marketing analysts are busy making predictions regarding its overall success or failure, which will ultimately have an effect on soccer in North America.

Some marketing analysts have gone as far as to predict that the failure of the 1994 World Cup will sound the death knell of soccer as a sport and also as a marketing vehicle in North America.

Although a successful World Cup would do wonders for soccer in Canada and the u.s., grassroots soccer has, in the midst of this uncertainty, managed to flourish in the absence of an elite league.

Usually, the popularity of the elite/professional level of a sport is reflected at the grassroots level.

The Toronto Blue Jays baseball team is a perfect example of what the effect of a popular professional team can have on the sport’s grassroots participation.

However, quietly, soccer has become one of the most popular grassroots sports in Canada and the u.s., with a favorable set of demographics.

Grassroots soccer in North America provides access to corporations interested in reaching families with higher than average incomes, in suburban areas, and includes a large percentage of women and ethnics.

Although it may take a little more effort to implement grassroots programs, corporations are able to benefit by touching the lives of their consumers in a relevant manner.

As for cost, the absence of an elite/professional level of the sport and the high sponsorship fees associated with that level allows corporations to apply more ‘working’ dollars to their programs.

Grassroots soccer programs, therefore, become an effective and efficient use of corporate marketing dollars.

So, the next time you are looking to spend your marketing dollar in the sports arena, don’t get mesmerized by the stars of professional sport. Look to soccer as an effective and efficient alternative.