The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article "explaining" why American soccer fans should root for Russia in the World Cup, which kicked off last week. The article broke down the odds (and ends) for all 32 World Cup teams, comparing them with tongue-in-cheek precision, before concluding that Russia was the best bet.
The reasons really aren’t what’s important here. The bigger factor, from a public relations perspective is what this kind of thing means for the many different American industries that are suffering from the U.S. men’s team inexplicitly missing the Cup.
Each of these industries and businesses has a few specific issues to deal with since the men’s team’s surprising absence from the biggest sporting event in the world.
First, let’s take a look at soccer in the United States. Every four years, the sport the rest of the world loves, and the U.S. tends to relegate to a kid’s game, gets a massive international shot in the arm.
Seeing the best players in the world can have that effect on people. Jerseys are bought, posters are hung, and kids grow up with dreams of kicking, bending, and defending like the best in the world.
Since the last World Cup, professional soccer has seen steady growth in the United States.
That growth is not anywhere near the NBA or even the NHL, but more people are paying attention. The trajectory was moving steadily in the right direction, and the various American professional leagues were very much looking forward to the residual attention they would receive after the Cup.
Now, that boost is going to be strictly limited to fans of foreign teams.
Meanwhile, gear sellers suffer also. Thousands of shops across the country ordered Team USA jerseys and other branded gear that is sitting collecting dust.
The investment was made when these shops were absolutely certain the U.S. team would be playing. This certainty was expected to send countless new customers back into their shops, increasing their profits heading into and otherwise slow summer season. Now, that isn’t happening, but they still invested the money, so they need to find a way to make some sales with a much smaller advertising budget.
Pubs and other venues that depend on the boost from soccer to fill their dining rooms, especially during the typically slow days of the week, are also struggling. They may not have the extra stock the merchandise shops do, but they do have to deal with the unfulfilled expectations and, in many cases, decisions that were based on an assumption of extra business that didn’t come to fruition.
There are many different ways to turn disappointment and misplaced investment into potential success, but it will take some smart cross-marketing and creative public relations to make up the loss.
Ronn Torossian is one of America’s foremost Public Relations executives as founder/CEO of 5WPR, a leading independent public relations Agency. The firm was honored as PR Firm of the Year by The American Business Awards, and has been named to the Inc. 500 List. Torossian is author of the best-selling "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations." For more of Ronn Torossian's reports, Go Here Now.
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