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Soccer Tournament Marketing Case Study

Sony Corporation Uses the South County Seaside Classic to Promote Cameras

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

Capturing the right marketing audience is essential to your sponsors. This soccer tournament marketing case study shows how one sponsor used the South Kingstown Seaside Classic to introduce its product to the highly desirable soccer family demograpic.

Sponsors are looking for marketing specificity and the modern age soccer tournament must remember this. We all have something that is established and very marketable.

The tournament I manage - the Seaside Classic based out of Rhode Island - has a brand that has worked for 17 years. Part of its success has been down to the promotion work that we, the organizers, have put in over the years. And part of it is our proximity to some of New England’s finest beaches and the fact that our tournament takes place during July. 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 people 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. The Seaside Classic Tournament has traditionally marketed to local vendors 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. But these companies are being asked to sponsor multiple events, and in these tough economic times, we have to work harder to justify those sponorship dollars.

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.

But for companies that do not specifically sell soccer-related products, you have to offer more. 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 particpating families.

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.

Seaside Classic

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 plenty 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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