Vancouver Whitecaps FC<br />Kyle Campbell<br />
History<br />A professional soccer team was launched in Vancouver in 1986 called the Vancouver 86ers both for the year the team was created and the to commemorate the year Vancouver was founded, 1886.<br />The 86ers played in the Canadian Soccer League winning 4 straight CSL Championships from 1988-1991.<br />In 2001, the team began to use the old Vancouver Whitecaps name which signified both the ‘white caps’ of the nearby mountains and the waves of the Pacific Ocean.<br />In 2006, the Whitecaps won the United Soccer Leagues First Division championship trophy and the following season the team signed a deal to play an exhibition match against the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS.<br />
MLS<br />On July 24, 2008, the MLS announced they were seeking two expansion franchises for the 2011 season. On the next day, the Whitecaps officially announced that they were pursuing one of those slots. They also announced that local sports icon Steve Nash will join the Whitecaps ownership team.<br />Vancouver was officially named an MLS expansion city on March 18th, 2009 and they are set to join the league in 2011. They will play at Empire Fields, a temporary stadium currently being built at the former site of Empire Stadium and then BC Place Stadium once the renovations to the stadium are complete.<br />
Ride The Wave<br />The campaign for the Whitecaps will carry the tagline ‘Ride the Wave’ not only to commemorate the city’s connection with the Pacific Ocean, but also as join the team as it grows just as a wave does as it gets closer to shore. The Vancouver Whitecaps want to retain current fans as well as expand their fan base in the great sports city of Vancouver as they make this transition to the MLS. <br />
Objectives<br />Target Market: 18-34 year old males that currently live in the southeast area of Canada and the northwest United States. There is already a large following of the USSF D2 Pro League team that could be tapped into and it may still be early enough to acquire fans from the nearby Seattle Sounders who are only in their 2nd season as an MLS franchise.<br />Online Advertising: The Vancouver Whitecaps will try to incorporate the wave logo as much as possible along with the new tagline of ‘Ride the Wave’. These advertisements will be placed in the online version of the Vancouver Sun as well as the websites for the Vancouver Canucks (NHL), BC Lions (CFL), Vancouver Canadians (MiLB).<br />
Objectives<br />Twitter: The Vancouver Whitecaps currently have a Twitter account (Whitecaps FC), but it has a small following of only 1,387 followers. Of course this number will increase once the team starts its inaugural season, but the team must stress the importance of receive updates from the team. These updates could include progress on the temporary stadium and permanent stadium. They could promote the new partial ownership of NBA star Steve Nash or just create general excitement of the upcoming season.<br />Facebook: As with the Vancouver Whitecaps Twitter account, their Facebook page has very few fans for a near MLS team at 1,528 fans. Important team information posted on their Twitter could also be posted here as well as photos and videos promoting the lead up to the team joining the MLS. The Whitecaps are already doing this by putting a promotional video on their current MLS website, www.vancouvermls2011.com.<br />
Contest<br />A contest could be implemented that would be associated with the ‘Ride the Wave’ promotion. Since the minor league soccer team is already established in the area, there could be a contest called ‘How Big is Your Wave?’ This would be a contest trying to find the biggest current Vancouver Whitecaps fan with the prize being season tickets for the first two years the franchise is in the MLS. The first year while they’re in the temporary stadium and so the lucky fan can see games in their permanent home of BC Place Stadium.<br />
Blogging<br />The Vancouver Whitecaps don’t currently have an official blog, but there is a blog called The Offside (vancouver.theoffside.com) that follows teams from all over the world. The site still has some extensive information and the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Whitecaps could expand into this area by giving their own “behind-the-scenes” view of what is happening as far as the MLS transition goes.<br />
Measurement of Success<br />With the expansion and implementation of a new social media direction, Google Analytics would be a great way to track and adjust to this new online landscape. <br />
Timeline and Budget<br />The timeline for this campaign would start in the middle of the 2010 season and go through the beginning of the 2011 season.<br />The team would have to increase the intensity of the campaign during the offseason due to the lack of interest in soccer during the winter time when hockey dominates the area.<br />The budget for campaign would lie solely in the online advertising and the cost of 2 years of season tickets ($1,134) for one lucky fan.<br />The cost of the online advertising would most likely be point per click if possible, reducing the overall cost of having the online ads. These types of ads usually run under $1 per click, adding up to a very small budget for the overall promotion.<br />
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