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Co-promoters SUM and CAA Sports hired Gameday Merchandising to coordinate the three-week event’s retail operation at the 14 North American stadiums playing host to matches.
The World Football Challenge involves eight international teams and five MLS clubs. FC Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid, three of the biggest global brands in soccer, all play three matches in the competition. The FC Barcelona-Man U contest July 30, a rematch of their May 28 UEFA Champions League final, is expected to draw 90,000 fans at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
Under the terms of its deal with SUM and CAA Sports, Gameday will send 14 full-time staffers on the road to combine forces with most stadiums’ on-site concessionaires to sell World Football Challenge merchandise at the venues. At FedEx Field, for example, Gameday personnel will work with employees of MainGate, the Redskins’ retail provider.
Outside the stadiums, Gameday will have a portable trailer selling jerseys, scarves, T-shirts and other items. The exteriors of those two trailers, traveling separately for most of the tour, will be wrapped in the Man U and FC Barcelona brands. The trailers are scheduled to converge Aug. 6 for the final match, FC Barcelona-Club America at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Adidas, official retail provider for Major League Soccer, also receives brand exposure on those mobile units.
Gameday’s strategy is to sell World Football Challenge items for the suggested manufacturer’s retail price, keeping its markup low and making up the difference on volume, said Gameday President Alan Fey. Jerseys will cost $80 to $85, the same price a consumer would pay at a sporting goods store. Team scarves will sell for $22 to $30 depending on the royalties Gameday pays the clubs.
The jerseys should drive sales because several international teams launched their new uniforms for the summer and will be wearing them for the first time during the World Football Challenge, Fey said.
The first match is Wednesday, when Manchester United takes on the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.
In addition to the World Football Challenge, Gameday will sell Manchester United merchandise exclusively for the Man U-Seattle Sounders game July 20 at CenturyLink Field and the MLS All-Star Game July 27 at Red Bull Arena, where Man U is the opponent.
Denver-based Gameday worked the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China. The company operates retail for two MLS teams, the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps. In 2008, Gameday principals Fey and Jeff Newman managed retail for two FC Barcelona games in Chicago and New York when both were with a different company.
The image of a tiger directs a visitor’s attention to the interactive media wall at the Missouri Athletic Training complex.
The wall, produced by Dimensional Innovations and Populous, is powered by dynamic motion technology. When an athlete or coach walks by the display, sensors kick in and the image of a roaring tiger appears as if it is stalking its prey, its breath forming a cloud of condensation on the screen.
The idea behind the tiger, Missouri athletics’ mascot, is to encourage the individual to stop at the wall and touch the display to interact with its content. A series of drop-down menus provides current rosters, record holders and all-Americans tied to each of the school’s 21 varsity sports. Another menu provides highlights of Missouri football’s bowl games for visitors coming through the complex on game days, said Justin Wood, vice president of business development for Dimensional Innovations.
For recruiting, the video wall provides a conversation starter for teenagers already accustomed to using digital tablets and smartphones and “need something cooler than that” to keep their attention, Wood said.
“That’s where this was born,” he said. “It’s like a gigantic iPad. What we have found is that athletes use it every day.”
The technology is similar to dynamic motion displays Dimensional Innovations and Populous teamed up to design for Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh and Sprint Center in Kansas City.
In Columbia, Mo., the media wall is updated regularly to provide a reason for athletes, coaches, football operations personnel and academic advisers to keep going back to engage with the display, Wood said. If a new bench press record is set, for example, or there is a great practice in the eyes of a coach, that information and video can be inserted into the display. In the eyes of the recruit, nonrevenue sports get important exposure on the screen, Wood said.
The cost to install those displays ranges from $100,000 to $300,000 depending on the size of the screen, content and the sophistication of the animation. Missouri’s display measures 4.5 feet tall and 15 feet wide.
“It is a very unusual way to tell stories in a compact space,” Wood said.
NEVER TOO EARLY: Amway Center’s Allen Johnson is already talking with agents and promoters to see how he can fill dates if games are canceled because of the NBA lockout.
One possibility: developing a concert package with two B-level acts into a lineup strong enough to play Amway Center. By doing so, “you can start making a B show into more of an A show,” said Johnson, executive director of the Magic’s arena.
Timing is key. The NBA typically releases its schedule in August. If league officials were to cancel games one month at a time, it would be difficult to book a new show on short notice.
Promoters “are not oblivious to what is going on, but at the same time they can’t do miracles,” Johnson said.
Don Muret can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter@BreakGround.
The action sports camp that’s become a summer haven for trendsetting youth has been acquired by one of the largest ski resort operators in the country.
Three of Camp Woodward’s founding partners have sold their stake in the sports camp to Powdr Corp., making the ski resort owner the majority shareholder of the company’s five youth training facilities.
Gary Ream, whose father first invested in the camp in 1977, will remain a minority stakeholder and continue to run Woodward. His family also will have a share.
The deal, which sources said values the camp at $40 million to $45 million, brings an end to a yearlong search for an investor willing to buy out the camp’s founding partners: Pat Stillman, 71; Bob Ellis, 81; and Ed Isabelle, 67. The partners’ decision to sell their stake in the company was part of an estate planning process.
“Bob, Pat and Ed were absolutely terrific,” said Ream, who declined to comment on the value of the deal. “They let us move and shake with the kids and gave us a lot of trust. We don’t want to mess with that. John [Cumming, CEO of Powdr] absolutely understands what Woodward’s all about and what we need to do to protect the future. That’s what we wanted.”
The deal closed two weeks ago. John Moag of Baltimore-based Moag & Co. assisted Woodward in the negotiations.
Powdr is familiar with Camp Woodward’s appeal, as it partnered with Woodward to develop the camp’s first ski and snowboard operation at Copper Mountain in Colorado. The company hopes the acquisition of Woodward will help diversify Powdr’s annual revenue and help it appeal to youth and new customers.
“Every kid we convert is a long-term yield to the company,” Cumming said.
Powdr Corp. owns nine ski resorts in six states, including Killington in Vermont, and Park City in Utah.
Camp Woodward, which was founded as a gymnastics camp in 1969, today operates four camps in the U.S. and one in China. The camps in Pennsylvania (Woodward U), California (Woodward West), Wisconsin (Lake Owen Camp) and Colorado (Woodward at Copper) gained acclaim as action sports destinations for youths wanting to hone their skateboard and BMX skills. Woodward charges kids anywhere from $875 to $1,095 to attend its camps for a week. It also sells sponsorships and has deals with Red Bull, Vitaminwater, Ball Park, Target and Matador beef jerky.
Ream said that the camps will remain in their current locations and gradually look to expand ski and snowboard operations across Powdr’s resorts. Those camps would operate every month of the year except September and October.
Boreal in Northern California will be the first resort to add a Woodward operation. It will open Woodward Tahoe, which will be a year-round ski and snowboard camp.