Poor marketing has hurt U-17 World Cup in India
THE LOCAL ORGANISING COMMITTEE HAD MAINTAINED THAT SINCE IT DIDN’T HAVE A LARGE MARKETING BUDGET, ITS FOCUS WOULD BE ON ONGROUND ACTIVITIES
getic in comparison. In Goa, you see hoardings only as you get closer to the Fatorda stadium in the south. There’s almost no visibility in the tourist belt up north (which is a pity because spending an evening watching top-quality football would probably seem quite appealing to families who have flown down for a few days).
In the lead-up to the tournament, the local organising committee had maintained that since it didn’t have a large marketing budget, its focus would be on on-ground activities in schools and colleges that would help create buzz and fill up the stadiums.
This would have been okay if the only target was to fill up stadiums—it’s not such a big challenge to find 15,000-20,000 hard-core football fans in any given city— but in terms of taking the sport to a larger audience, it’s safe to say that this strategy hasn’t worked.
This lack of hype has had a direct impact on the size of crowds. None of the venues has seen a full house, despite the games being “sold out” to the general public.
As the organising committee pointed out in a statement earlier this week, a large chunk of tickets go to corporate sponsors, participating nations and associates.
It’s likely that people who got these freebies didn’t show up for the games (it’s hard to imagine someone buying tickets and then not turning up). Chances are they’re not showing up because they aren’t excited about the tournament. That lack of excitement is a direct result of the lack of imagination involved in packaging and selling this event to the larger public.
The less said about the stadium experience the better. In Delhi, where India took on the US in their opener, last Friday, students were drinking water out of taps in the toilets because there was no other water available.
Last month, India officially put in a bid to host the Fifa Under-20 World Cup that will be held in 2019. They will have to do a better job selling the idea to Fifa than they have done selling this tournament to potential fans here.
A huge number of seats has been filled by schoolchildren.