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Capturing the Right Marketing Audience

By Jay Primiano
Tournament Director, Seaside Classic Soccer Tournament
South County Youth Soccer Club

Marketing specificity is essential to a company that is marketing a product. The new age soccer tournament must remember this, as we all have something that is established and very marketable.

The tournament I manage -- the Seaside Classic based out of Rhode Island – has been blessed with a brand that works for 17 years. Part of it has been our promotion. We market fairness, superior officiating, well-manicured fields and the fact that there’s a Field Marshall on every field.

Part of it is also our proximity, considering some of New England’s best beaches are only five miles away – and during the hottest time of the year (July) no less. Beaches in Narragansett, Scarborough, and South Kingstown are just a goalie’s punt away. Not to mention the sands in Newport and Lincoln, just north of Providence.

Seaside Classic

The University of Rhode Island enjoys the benefits of the event and sees approximately 200 teams and 8,000-10,000 descend on the fields in the valley right below its campus every year.

But while having these qualities is one thing, capitalizing on them is another. How can you do it? Well, last year the SONY Corporation contacted us through their marketing department about a promotional idea they had to target our population.

They paid us a stipend to be a part of our tournament. They brought a massive tent, not a traditional type of tent, but the type of tent that attracts attention. Their highly professional staff members were on hand to meet and greet our population of soccer enthusiasts. They provided 100 cameras for use at our event for FREE. The staff members walked the event, providing our patrons with cameras to try and then asked them to come to the tent to sign up to use the camera FREE of charge for the day. Upon the camera’s return they provided a disk with all of the pictures from the day to the amateur photographers.

Our patrons loved this experience and we were delighted with the arrangement. Our bottom line was enhanced by the SONY Corporation’s promotional dollars and everyone benefited from the experience. The target group that SONY sought was captured on site by virtue of their child’s participation in this event. With likely users/buyers on hand, the probability of making the sale increased for SONY.

The Seaside Classic Tournament has traditionally marketed to local vendors that were asked by multiple organizations to assist in funding the programs available to South County Youth Soccer players. The benefit to the local business owner was more goodwill than real advertising. Therefore, it’s important Tournament Managers are specific in targeting businesses with a valued connection to the local market before burdening the local vendors with yet one more financial obligation during these difficult economic times.

Seaside Classic

The local vendor is no longer willing to throw the dollars at the dartboard and see what happens. The local soccer vendor -- Soccer Spot Rhode Island in the case of the Seaside Classic -- is a very specific type of soccer-related business that benefits from sponsorship and direct marketing of products at a tournament. These types of local vendors can justify the expense of upfront fees and profit-sharing deals due to the volume of business done on site during a tournament.

Let’s think of a fictitious product such as drink that boosts energy that we’ll call “Lift.” For Lift’s marketing agents, what better place is there than a tournament to showcase their product in front of potential product users? As the economy gets tighter and tighter, the marketing strategies for companies attempting to bring a product like Lift to market will need to find avenues such as the soccer tournament to bring their products forward. Television remains an expensive option and radio may be too broad a market. But low-scale, face-to-face marketing plays to the soccer related businesses effectively.

A cursory search of the internet can provide the Tournament Manager or Sponsorship Manager for your tournament with a significant number of likely candidates that will consider your tournament for promotional purposes. Seek out these businesses, make a proposal that works for all and then reap the rewards of additional dollars for your club, an enhanced experience for your patrons and the lasting perception that this tournament is the real deal -- and a lot of fun.

To visit Jay’s tournament site, go to

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