Poor mar­ket­ing has hurt U-17 World Cup in In­dia

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Fifau17worldcup -

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.

M ZAKIR / HT

A huge num­ber of seats has been filled by schoolchil­dren.

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