Whether you have been a die-hard soccer fan since birth or you didn’t know the USA even had a soccer team until recently, you have to admit that there is a new buzz in the air about the sport. The World Cup has been on for the last couple of weeks and people from ages 10 to 85 are taking notice of the excitement.
So what’s making people “hooked” on soccer?
After watching the games last week, and feeling the hype alongside my soccer-fanatic friends, I have realized that The World Cup, and other similar sporting events, use some very intentional PR hooks. Here are some common ways that I see soccer being publicized to all groups in the last couple of weeks:
Using their Head
One of the most common hooks used by sports teams and competitions, like the World Cup, is publicizing key players. For Portugal, this is a strong tactic. Who wouldn’t want to root for Portugal native Cristiano Ronaldo, who earned his fame from impressive step-overs and lightning speed? Spotlighting its star player, who has yet to perform to his fullest potential, has created a healthy fan base for this 25 year-old footballer, and great PR for the Portugal team.
The Underdog Cuts In
There is no doubt that Slovenia, population 2 million, is one of the biggest underdogs in this competition. Having beat Russia, population 142 million, to qualify for the event, they are not letting the size of their country hold them back from making some solid “cuts” in line. Slovenia’s strategy has positioned the team as a human-interest piece. As evidenced by movies such as “Rudy” and “Remember the Titans,” nothing gets a crowd cheering like a team who wins despite all odds. Even though Slovenia did not make it to the final 16, the fact that they made it to the World Cup championship and won against Algeria and tied the USA makes them an inspirational story.
Whether you have an ESPN app on your iPhone, spend most nights watching Sports Center on your couch, or you just love a good competition, everyone can appreciate a little inspiration from sporting events. So, if you are like me and wonder how it is that you can go from never having watched a soccer game to feeling fully invested in the outcome of the World Cup, then here is your answer. Sometimes it takes the right communications and marketing hook to make something worth watching. And the World Cup has plenty courtesy of teams’ and leagues’ PR tactics!
What team are you rooting for in the World Cup?