I had the pleasure recently of meeting with two of the owners of the Wenatchee United Football Club of the fledging Evergreen Premier League. Ivan Arroyo and Juan Valle stopped by the Sports Council and enthusiastically laid out their initial plans for their opening season, which will run from May through July 2014.
Like most people interested in sports, I’ve seen teams and organizations come and go. One of the culprits that can rear its ugly head is when ownership is in it for the wrong reasons — ego, for example. Instead of running it like a business, they play with it like a toy. This group is already taking steps to make sure that doesn’t happen.
For example, they’re going to leave the roster and game plan decisions in the hands of the folks (coaches, etc.) that are hired to do that job. They vow to keep their own ownership skills and experience behind the scenes, and work on the business side of the business. It sounds easy, but once the ball is in play, it’s easy to stray.
I came away from the meeting feeling that their priorities seem to be in the right order. Do they want to win? You bet! But they also want to be an integral part of the community, and have several focused ideas on how to achieve that, foremost among them engaging our youth.
We exchanged a number of marketing ideas, and they have a great feel for ones that should be effective, but also fun for fans. Most players will be in the college and post-college age range, and will present a high caliber of soccer, developing rivalries with the other seven teams in the all-Washington state league.
Their core roster will feature North Central Washington talent (and believe me, there’s plenty of it), which should lead to the foundation of a solid fan base.
One of the promotional models they have wisely followed is that of the Seattle Sounders, an incredible story of smart business, savvy marketing and on-field success that has captured a huge following of multiple demographics. They’ve also taken note of the tremendous popularity of the Wenatchee Wild and the Wenatchee AppleSox. These success stories don’t happen by accident.
Well thought-out marketing decisions and putting an entertaining product on the field don’t happen by chance. But I came away after my initial exposure to Wenatchee United FC feeling that they do in fact have a chance. It’s still early in the game, and it will be interesting to see how they work their way through the growing pains of not only a first-year franchise, but a first-year league as well.
For more Sports Council related information, please contact Matt Kearny at the Chamber offices: 509-662-2116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.