Drawing a Crowd

One of the most important components of the initial Soccer Center marketing campaign was to offer a product with a competitive edge. The LNSC is the largest single-use facility of its kind in the West. The high-quality maintenance and service of the facility initially resulted in valuable word-of-mouth promotion. The five international-quality championship-sized fields, with prescription turf and tournament-quality goals, offered marketing advantages over other soccer venues. However, the fields themselves were not enough to provide the influx of events hoped for by the city. Although only an hour from Los Angeles, the city understood that the High Desert area where Lancaster is located was not a prime attraction for activities outside of the soccer events taking place at the complex.

The city determined to begin the marketing of its soccer complex by naming it the Lancaster National Soccer Center, thereby branding it as a newly competitive entry into the exclusive soccer market. This gained appeal in the Southern California market with the California Youth Soccer Association (Cal South), the U.S. Youth Soccer Association and the American Youth Soccer Organization, with its national headquarters based in the Los Angeles area. Soon after its completion, the Cal South State Cup and National Cup competitions, and the AYSO Area and Sectional playoffs, were shifted to the new facility, which is now recognized as an Official Cal South Venue.

The city then went national by organizing the Inaugural Lancaster Cup at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, a unique tournament marketing concept. The preliminary matches took place at the LNSC, while the finals were held at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Collaboration with the prestigious Disney logo and utilizing its renowned Wide World of Sports complex placed Lancaster on the national map. The preliminary tournament resulted in Northern California teams competing against Southern California teams, while the finals pitted teams from Florida against teams from California, both long-standing regional and national rivalries.

A promotional video and DVD documented the success achieved by the complex while promoting future development and event opportunities. The DVD production not only included the promotion of the soccer center and its amenities, but stressed the advantages of the Lancaster area as the gateway to a diverse and exciting tournament and vacation experience. Lancaster is less than one hour from Six Flags Magic Mountain, Hurricane Harbor, Universal Studios, Burbank Studios and Hollywood; ninety minutes from Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, beaches and other Orange County attractions. The city stressed the nearby diverse shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities for tournament participants. The combination of marketing the LNSC and the Southern California attractions helped position Lancaster as a premier soccer destination.

Drawing Them In

After winning a national competition for the event, the city hosted the AYSO National Games in 2004. The city committed staff, financial resources and its National Soccer Center to insure its partnership with AYSO, and ultimately the National Games were a success. The week-long national games attracted approximately 200 teams from throughout the United States as well as from the Virgin Islands. More recently, in January 2007, the complex hosted its first lacrosse tournament, teaming with Adrenaline Lacrosse of San Diego. The Warrior Challenge attracted 75 teams from throughout the western United States for the college showcase tournament.

Other Venues

Soccer is not the only generator of sports tourism for the City of Lancaster, however. Another element of the city’s sports tourism program takes place at the Big 8 softball complex. Each year, the complex hosts about 50 tournaments over 34 weekends throughout the year. Several ASA National Championship events have taken place at the eight championship fields, including the 2007 Class A Girls U18 and Men’s Class D Championships. These and other softball events, including the annual 110 team Oktoberfest Girls Fast Pitch Festival, generate over $2 million in economic impact. Besides the tournaments, the city offers three seasons of league softball to residents. The year-round program of men’s, women’s, coed, and church teams keeps the fields busy six nights a week to accommodate over 500 participating teams, says Jeff Campbell, Sports Supervisor for the Big 8 Complex.

Page 2 of 3 | Previous page | Next page

Related posts:

  1. Major League Maintenance
  2. A Never-Ending Battle
  3. Listen, Create, Construct!
  4. Complex Planning
  5. Nesquik Tips Glass For Boys & Girls Club
  • Columns
  • Departments