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Tags: womens soccer | rapinoe | branding | marketing

US Women's Soccer Team Missed a Branding Opportunity

US Women's Soccer Team Missed a Branding Opportunity
Megan Rapinoe and members of the United States Women's National Soccer Team are honored at a ceremony at City Hall on July 10, 2019, in New York City. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

John Tantillo By Monday, 15 July 2019 04:54 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Congratulations to the U.S. Women’s Soccer team for an outstanding victory on the playing field at the 2019 World Cup. The team’s performance was one that could be described with limitless adjectives. However, it’s what happened off the field that has many scratching their heads and asking — what were they thinking?

Even before winning the final game against a strong Dutch team, the team showed a level of hubris that rubbed many the wrong way. The team captain, Megan Rapinoe, the firebrand of all things soccer with her take-no-prisoners approach to branding, steamrolled what she believed was the correct way to handle the spotlight and place U.S. Women’s soccer squarely in everyone’s mind.

Even though she was captain of her team, it isn’t clear whether her assertive style received the imprimatur of all her teammates. A more judicious rollout of her thoughts regarding women’s soccer pay scale, hypothetical White House invitations, and even more hurtful to 60 million people — her feelings regarding President Trump — may have been less abrasive.

A branding and marketing expert may have suggested a better alternative than an “in your face” approach that played to a base of loyal women’s soccer enthusiasts. The problem with this “burn-it-all-down” strategy is that it cut off an important segment which could have been converted to her (their) cause. Instead, a golden opportunity to expand the reach of Women’s Soccer was missed.

Eric Roth, the screenplay writer of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," best sums up this point when he said, “Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.”

Unfortunately for Rapinoe, youthful enthusiasm rather than experiential discretion may have diluted an exciting win for all — one that could universally have been seen as a mind-numbing achievement to the unconverted. The lesson: It is never a good thing to preach to the choir, when it’s those not in the church that you wish to attract.

The salient issue buried in all the noise was the pay disparity between the U.S. men and women national teams.

The skeptics in the crowd who need data regarding this topic of the day should be relieved that there is a sizable difference in the revenue available to pay the male and female teams.

However, the data presents a different narrative than what Ms. Rapinoe and her acolytes would like you to believe. When considering the 2015 Women’s World Cup revenues, the team “brought in almost $73 million, of which the players got 13 percent.”

The 2010 men’s World Cup in South Africa made almost $4 billion, of which 9 percent went to the players,” according to Mike Oznian, a writer for Forbes. Yes, the data clearly show that women make more, proportionately, than men.

Instead of bringing people together and increasing market share for the sport, this metric only causes resistance to becoming involved toward broadening soccer’s appeal. The current approach plays to core supporters who already agree on how best to promote soccer.

If only Captain Rapinoe would have been more circumspect, just maybe newfound fans would have given her the benefit of the doubt and concluded that the team deserves more money, no matter what the data says.

Now all she and U.S. Women’s soccer will receive is more data why the women don’t deserve any additional compensation, as critics look to poke holes in the arguments.

Advice is something that the young don’t take well unless they ask for it. Come to think of it, all age groups resist it. And that why it should be given selectively.

But one thing is for sure. This was an opportunity that could have yielded even greater results — if only Ms. Rapinoe and Co. would realize that it’s always easier when you have marketing in mind.

Dr. John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert, known as The Marketing Doctor. JT utilizes his doctoral skills in applied research psychology to analyze the issues and personalities of the day utilizing his marketing and branding lens. This provides his readers with additional insight needed to understand the “new normal” in politics, news, and culture. Dr. Tantillo is the OpEd writer for Political Vanguard. He is the author of "People Buy Brands, Not Companies,” and the Udemy course "Go Brand Yourself!" You can follow him on Twitter @marketingdoctor and at Facebook.com/dr.johntantillo. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Congratulations to the U.S. Women’s Soccer team for an outstanding victory on the playing field at the 2019 World Cup.
womens soccer, rapinoe, branding, marketing
Monday, 15 July 2019 04:54 PM
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