Whitecaps score The Proclaimers in ticket promo

Scotland's chart-topping folk-rock duo The Proclaimers are helping Vancouver's A-League soccer team sell tickets. Identical twins Charlie and Craig Reid, who scored a global hit in 1988 and 1993 with I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), are playing an acoustic concert at an intimate venue for Vancouver Whitecaps' season ticket holders on May 1.

Scotland’s chart-topping folk-rock duo The Proclaimers are helping Vancouver’s A-League soccer team sell tickets. Identical twins Charlie and Craig Reid, who scored a global hit in 1988 and 1993 with I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), are playing an acoustic concert at an intimate venue for Vancouver Whitecaps’ season ticket holders on May 1.

Two days later, they’ll be special guests at the Whitecaps’ regular season home opener against the Minnesota Thunder. On both occasions, The Proclaimers will perform their remake of ‘White Is The Colour,’ the popular anthem recorded by Whitecaps’ players during the 1978 North American Soccer League season.

‘It’s a soccer record, it’s not necessarily going to win a Grammy,’ says singer/guitarist Charlie Reid. ‘But it’s a track to vibe the team up, which is what we serve to do.’

The Proclaimers took a break from compiling their upcoming greatest hits CD to record ‘White Is The Colour.’ The limited edition run of 1,000 CDs was released by Vancouver’s Nettwerk Productions as a sale incentive for Whitecaps’ season ticket holders. With each pair of season tickets, subscribers can buy up to six tickets to the May 1 concert at dance club Richard’s On Richards, which holds 600 patrons.

The Whitecaps averaged more than 5,400 fans per game in 2001, but the season ticket base was just below 1,000. Whitecaps director of PR and marketing Colin Metcalfe says the club wants to convert casual ticket buyers into subscribers. ‘Vancouver is notorious for having last-minute decisions made in terms of entertainment,’ says Metcalfe, who adds that the Whitecaps are targeting families with 16-game ticket packages starting at $109.

Nettwerk, which released The Proclaimers’ fourth album Persevere in 2001, also represents Sarah McLachlan and the Barenaked Ladies. Nettwerk’s promotions manager Gary McDonald pitched The Proclaimers’ tie-in to the Whitecaps because soccer and The Proclaimers have a similar wide appeal.

‘Proclaimers fans like soccer and soccer fans like The Proclaimers,’ he says, adding that he is hoping the promotion will result in greater media exposure for the band, which is touring North America this summer in support of its greatest hits CD.

The Proclaimers themselves are soccer-obsessed Edinburgh residents. In 1990, they successfully led the ‘Hands Off Hibs’ campaign to save their favourite team, Hibernian FC, from a takeover bid by crosstown Premier league rival Heart of Midlothian.

McDonald said he’s looking at other ways to cross-promote music and sports. ‘I think it’s probably part of a bigger relationship,’ he said.

Prince George, B.C.’s Pacific Western Brewing and Vancouver’s The Province newspaper are co-sponsoring The Proclaimers promotion, which is being advertised in local newspapers and on radio.

It’s not the first time The Proclaimers have participated in a promotion exclusive to the Vancouver market. The band celebrated the release of Persevere last July with a day-long concert tour of five Greater Vancouver pubs, sponsored by Shaftebury Brewing.

Says Charlie Reid: ‘Alcohol and football — two things in Britain that seem to go together.’

In Canada, too.