Following up from my recent post on big changes in the Bay Area youth soccer landscape, here are two recorded conference calls discussing two youth clubs’ experiences affiliating with English pro team Tottenham Hotspur.
These calls cover detailed information on cost to club and families, impact on player recruitment, and some of the challenges and opportunities this kind of affiliation brings.
To be clear, I am not arguing for or against these kinds of affiliations. The value depends on the specific youth club, what the pro club is offering specifically, and how an affiliation is implemented. It can make a lot of sense in many situations, but probably isn’t the right thing for every youth club.
Also, with any change comes disruption. There will probably always be some stakeholders (players, families, coaches) that end up worse off, but that shouldn’t stop clubs from changing/evolving.
And let’s keep in mind that these affiliations are still relatively new so expect teething problems in the first couple of years.
Conference Call with El Cerrito Soccer Club, East Bay, CA
Conference Call with Tallahassee Soccer Club, Florida
4 thoughts on “Recorded calls: two clubs’ experiences affiliating with English pro team.”
I know of a club that has a relationship with Celtic. The main benefit (from my perspective) was that the players (with families in tow) traveled to the UK in the summer and got to train/play against the Celtic academy team(s). Not sure of the soccer benefits, but made for an interesting vacation for the families.
Thanks for posting this. The uniform requirements really got to me. The pro club was requiring them to purchase new kits every year. 700-1000 kids kids @ $200 is a yearly commitment of $140,000+. So, they’re total yearly commitment is north of $200,000. Looking at their 2013 990, they only did $330k in total revenue: http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2013/461/744/2013-461744086-0aa20b92-9.pdf
Listened to the first one – here are my thoughts:
1. At its core this is “putting lipstick on the pig” as far as i can tell. Its a marketing ploy driven by TH to drive brand awareness and raise money in the process.
– There are no defined benefits to the club or its players of the TH program, at least not in this recording.
– They need to pay TH $60k a year!!!
– As the saying goes…I have a bridge to sell these guys….
2. I don’t mean to be mean, but the DOC of this club is massively fiscally irresponsible and doesn’t understand the fundamental issue of “consumer fatigue”.
– They are in the honeymoon period of new uniforms (and not much else) and people are excited and willing to pay more and support the effort
– These parents have probably been fed all sort of BS about a curriculum and the TH way, and it doesn’t really exist. Parents aren’t as stupid as many people think they are, and will eventually figure that out.
– The parents will rapidly fatigue and realize a) there is no curriculum, or TH way, or real difference after TH vs before and b) realize they are paying a lot of extra $s for no extra benefit. At that point the new kids will leave and go back to the clubs they came from.
3. The DOC is incapable of specifying one single key benefit of the arrangement with TH to his players.
– In fact he states multiple times there is no TH curriculum, and no “TH way”
– One 2 hour coaching session per team isn’t going to do diddly – this is about the only “benefit” he can mention
– A few hours of a TH coach “coaching” their paid coaches isn’t going to do diddly.
– He keeps mentioning these few things over and over, like he’s trying to sell himself on the benefits, when in fact there are none. At least none that he can mention.
4. Its flabbergasting to me that these guys are willing to hand over all their money, and basically their club, to TH, for basically nothing in return.
I can only hope that this recording is a couple years old and TH has actually shown up with a curriculum and a “way”. i checked their web site, and while it has Spurs all over it, there is nothing, and i do mean nothing, about what the Spurs brand brings to your player or why its better from anything else out there…
Only in youth sports can you charge $2000+ for something every year, tell the customer they will get a bunch of great stuff, and then deliver none of it and get away with it. Amazing!!