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Making Youth Soccer Affordable

As you read this post, assume the following.

1. Every idea I mention is an oversimplified version of a more detailed plan I have crafted.

2. A large number of athletes would be required for maximum leverage. Clubs in a given area might need to pool their assets to get the most value.

3. Collaboration is required. This is about making soccer more affordable for as many families as possible, not creating a pricing advantage for one club over another.

4. One or more of these ideas might need to be used to generate sufficient capital.

5. The value of the data collected will change over time.

6. I am open to any and all discussions about this topic.

Insurance and Wearable Device Companies:

Most soccer administrators don't view their players' health as an asset. They should.

There are millions of dollars of venture-capital investment pouring into innovative wearable device and analytics companies. There is big money waiting for companies that develop insurance applications. These applications offer insurance companies more sophisticated tools to underwrite health risk.

These new tools capture data from emerging lifestyle trends such as exercise, sleep patterns, recovery data and diet.

By agreeing to let insurance companies monitor real time behavior, customers learn more about themselves and insurance companies leverage that data to influence behaviors.

I am advisor to a company that has developed an open-source platform that lets users collect, control, and sell healthcare data in exchange for low-cost health insights.

This means that in the near future, insurance and health companies will pay individuals in cryptocurrency for access to their health data.

In order for insurance companies or platform development companies to influence behavior, they need data.

Thinking along these lines, is it unreasonable to think that 20 to 30 clubs representing 10 to 25,000 kids could send a joint proposal for access to training and lifestyle data? Perhaps your regional insurance company will write checks for access to volume data that can be tracked for five to 15 years?


Soccer is the second most popular youth sport in the United States. There are thousands of clubs nationwide that provide soccer development services for close to 9 million young athletes.

This represents a massive amount of economic and social muscle. Unfortunately, our youth soccer culture is as divided and cutthroat as any political campaign. Clubs fight for players, coaches and facilities. There is a zero sum mentality that is fairly consistent across the country. This mentality impedes the possibility of leveraging group assets to capture value.

If US Soccer is unable to support non-academy clubs, it is unrealistic to think that our governing body would lead the collaboration between our nation's youth clubs to solicit and evenly distribute advertising dollars.

It is more realistic to create a regional property-rights regime consisting of 50 to 100 clubs. This regime would control how and where their attention is directed via a collectively owned platform and force advertisers to pay market rate for attention.


Clubs have sponsors. They sell inventory to cover expenses. However, most club sales efforts are unsophisticated.

Selling sponsorship at a professional level is an entirely different matter. A more scientific approach to selling sponsorship would go a long way for clubs.

Below, I list a few general concepts to think about related to sponsorship. Beyond the initial concepts, I detail the specifics of ROI vs ROE sponsorship.

General Concepts

1. Know who you are - Why does your club exist? Why do you do what you do? Be honest about your why.

2. Know what you are selling - What inventory do you have? Uniforms, mobile ad space, web ad space, banner space, field space, video, camps, tournaments, mobile app or booklets.

3. Know the goals and objectives of your client - Does your sponsorship target want to help the community or sell it's products? This is a critical distinction.

4. Know your product

5. Know what you do well

6. Always conduct a SWOT analysis - List your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This will help you frame your sales pitch.

7. Don't make a commitment you can't deliver.

8. Asset pricing should have consistent rates.

9. Don't pretend to know your clients/sponsors business better than they do.

10. There are three types of buyers of sponsorship.

a. Companies that want to drive sales

b. Organizations that need branding opportunities

c. Individuals, organizations and companies that want to give to the community. They approach sponsorship from an emotional aspect . This is the most powerful type of sponsorship. They are not worried about ROI. These sponsors must be treated fairly from a valuation stand point.

11. Sponsorship Sales Playbook

a. Summarize situation

b. State idea

c. Idea to be accepted

d. Idea to be believed

e. Benefits to partner

f. Recap

g. Ask for order

h. Eliminate false reasons

More Detail:

1. Digital Marketing ROI vs ROE

ROI is an investment

Proving a sponsor’s target market is accessable is not enough to keep the checks coming. To keep sponsors, you need to prove your value in terms of ROI.

Before you can measure ROI you have to know what your sponsorship inventory is worth. Establishing a valuation is the first step in determining the ROI of sponsor activations. This will help you determine cost and estimate what value each promotional opportunity can bring to a brand.

This value should go beyond brand awareness and focus on concrete measurements such as email signups or proof of new customers.

The next step is to include an ROI ratio as part of your valuation, giving you a range within which to negotiate with sponsors. For example, if your inventory is worth $10,000 and you’re asking for $5,000, the ROI ratio is 2:1.

Once you have agreed on a valuation with sponsors, you need to craft a plan to measure ROI.

ROE is about engagement

Big-name brands and corporations have been responsive to the shift in marketing by becoming brand publishers. Red Bull, for example has figured out how to ad value to their consumers lives by creating a variety of content.

The reward for companies that create and publish content that connects with customers’ in a positive way is substantial.

Social networking is an engagement process. It is a web of conversations and content. Conversation is more than just engagement, it’s verification that you’re connecting with your audience.

Here are a few key indications that your engagement efforts have succeeded:

a. Comments, Shares, Likes

b. Number of downloads or shares

c. Time spent on your page, video, ad, etc.

Things to think about:

a. Did the content generate a positive reaction?

b. Did your content confirm authority?

c. Did the content exhibit influence?

Hopefully, this post can be a resource for brainstorming new ways to approach subsidizing soccer tuition.

Please share your thoughts and contact me if you have additional ideas or wish to collaborate.

Next: Breaking down the cost of youth soccer

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