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Sporting KC Scores By Leveraging Chad Ochocinco’s Tryout

March 28, 2011

Last week, Chad Ochocinco tried out for Sporting Kansas City of the MLS. There was much press given to the event from the typical sources such as ESPN which should be expected. Ochocinco’s interest in soccer has been well documented. If you follow him at his Twitter account, you witnessed photos from his visit to Real Madrid while traveling during the current off season. I came away very impressed with the way that Sporting KC leveraged the tryout. The club created a website around the tryout where it was streamed live. Callum Williams, the play-by-play voice of Sporting KC, and Sasha Victorine, the color commentator for the team, hosted the live stream and discussed Ochocinco’s chances of making the team and his soccer skills. To log into the website, a person had to provide his/her name, date of birth, and email. Those are the facts and here’s why I think it worked well for Sporting KC.

1) First, the team got data from people that were interested in watching the tryout. I logged in, and now Sporting KC has my name, age, and email address. The team can now email me about promotions, special events, and general news among other topics. It also knows that I’m 24, so it learned something about its fans and can use the information about age in marketing campaigns. Of course, I have no real interest in Sporting KC. I am from Atlanta originally, went to undergrad in Chicago, and I am currently a student in Miami. This is obviously much more relevant for fans in Kansas City who the team can target and draw into their games. Sporting KC can market directly to people who want to know what’s going on with the team and keep them interested.

2) I was introduced to Callum Williams. He’s British, really knows soccer, and is fun to listen because of his knowledge and use of fantastic soccer vocabulary. I was impressed enough to start following him on Twitter, and he does a great job of covering the team through social media as well. Before the team left for Chicago last week for their game on Saturday, he posted a video about the game. While at the game, he posted numerous photos including a picture of the stadium and field and of his coworkers. If I’m from Kansas City and I have an interest in soccer, Callum Williams is going to keep me interested and will draw me into watching and maybe attending a game.

3) The broadcast was well done because it focused on Ochocinco but also showed the full practice so that fans could see the whole team. As well, it gave Sporting KC the chance to talk about their special fan promotions. Sasha Victorine took the time to describe the perks of being a season ticket holder, so those watching the livestream on their computers could pop right over to the website and learn about buying tickets. While they’re doing that, they realize that Sporting KC has a brand new stadium which will be ready during this season. They also learn that the stadium is called the Livestrong Sporting Park, and when they do some further research on the partnership with Lance Armstrong’s foundation, they you realize that a portion of the revenues will go to the foundation. That portion will never be less than $7.5 million. Wow! That’s impressive from the home team especially when you consider that Livestrong didn’t pay a penny for the naming rights, so a person’s attendance at a game directly benefits charity. Thus, Sporting KC showed Ochocinco’s tryout, allowed the whole practice to be seen, and prompted fans to learn more about their business and charitable work.

Great work by Sporting Kansas City in my opinion especially when considering they also allowed ESPN’s Outside the Lines to shoot the tryout, interview players, and broadcast a piece to the millions of people who watch ESPN.

– Jason

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