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Soccer isn’t coming to America—it’s here. Whether it’s a game down at the park or its 26 million people tuning into the national team at the World Cup, Americans are playing and watching like never before. If you’re interested in a sports promotion, here are some reasons to tie into soccer:
Leagues overlap year round, so there’s always something to get involved with. Our own North American leagues, MLS and NASL, play from March to November. In most of Europe, soccer’s a winter sport running from August to May. In Latin America, soccer is a factory open 12 months a year. Soccer is ready and waiting, no matter when you want to time your promotion.
The biggest tournaments, like the World Cup and Copa América, finish up in July. Part of the reason international soccer tournaments do so well on U.S. TV is because the team sports landscape is less populated then. Baseball’s on, but basketball and hockey are done, and football hasn’t started. If you envision a sports promotion package that runs all year, a major summer soccer tournament can be a useful part of the action.
Soccer unites our immigrant communities—new sources of customers. Baseball is popular in parts of Latin America. Hockey is big in much of Europe. Soccer, however, is worldwide: a common language across six continents. Whether your business is already geared to immigrant groups or not, there are always new customers to find. Use soccer to do it.
There’s less scoring in soccer, but that makes goals more crucial. You can tie into that. Remember the Miracle on Ice, or Kirk Gibson’s World Series home run when he could barely walk? Michael Jordan’s nonchalant free throw with his eyes closed? Every major soccer tournament has moments like that—plays that live on for decades. Link a promotion to an earth-shaking goal, and stick in your customers’ minds forever.
Soccer fans use social media more than anyone else. Social media is a cost-effective, useful way to engage existing customers and acquire new ones. On the day last June when American Pharoah secured the Triple Crown, something that hadn’t been done in 37 years, more Americans tweeted about the soccer match between Juventus and Barcelona than about the horse race. Put your soccer promotion into the right social media channels, and your customers will promote it for you.
Upcoming Soccer Calendar:
February—May: Champions’ League knockouts
March: American pro seasons begin
May: European cup finals
June: Copa América (all-Americas championship, held in ten US cities)
June—July; European Championships
August: Summer Olympics in Rio
August and September: Major European seasons begin