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Continuing a 50 Year US Youth Soccer Legacy

Sports Marketing Case Study

Project Details

During this project, we used integrated marketing solutions to provide Washington Youth Soccer, a US Youth Soccer affiliate, with sports marketing services that helped grow the brand.

The Market

Rapid Growth in the US Soccer Market

Demand for professional soccer in the US has grown exponentially over the last decade; Major League Soccer (MLS) as well as Men's and Women's national teams rely on a network of regional youth programs to shape young players into professionals. It's a process that starts in early childhood and continues with players honing skills through elite player development and collegiate play. Along the way, they learn vital skills like team work, commitment, and communication.

The Client

Washington Youth Soccer is one of the most respected US Youth Soccer programs in the country. It hosts almost 200 individual clubs and players compete regionally as well as in international tournaments yearly.

The Challenge

Going Beyond the Mission

The way that players and their families learn about and interact with Washington Youth Soccer has evolved. Its ability to tell a compelling story about the organization's impact on their lives, however, is an enduring aspect of those communications. Reaching its constituents, as well as dozens of regional member associations, with compelling information about its purpose, opportunities, and benefits is critical to sustainability. Failure meant that competing leagues would fill in these gaps and bleed away elite talent.

The Strategy

A Sports Marketing Strategy Based on Legacy

Our strategy focused on communicating the organization's historic role in Pacific Northwest soccer focusing on the pedagogy for personal and professional development as well as its engagement with families, associations, and local communities.

Capabilities

As a nonprofit, the organization needed to focus primarily on league administration. Story telling wasn't core to its mission, but it was key to communicating the value it delivered. It needed a resource that could help it keep up with the latest trends without distracting from its mission.

While the organization had previously used in-house resources and independent contractors, it needed something more robust. Catalyst offered a different kind of solution; one that provided integrated strategic, creative, and technical resources and the expertise to make them work together.

An Integrated Marketing Team

Branding

We deconstructed the organization's existing style - retaining the most recognizable assets. Our brand team then updated and created a definition around the rest, aggregating them into a communications system that could be used to build compelling and consistent stories.

Content

Catalyst created a variety of multimedia assets and collateral to support the organization's communications objectives. They included content ranging from slide decks to informational one-pagers, to social media materials, each helping to grow engagement with the organization.

Digital

Our strategy tied a previously scattered digital marketing and communications ecosystem together under a new marketing-optimized website. The 300+ page from-scratch design integrated the organization's entire communications stack, from CRM to social media. It was purpose-built to help players better discover and engage the organization - from finding a local club to elite player development.

Communications

Our team took over management of the organization's social media and email channels - its primary method of communicating with athletes and their families, member associations, and sponsors/partners. We planned and built consensus around its editorial calendar as well as managing all engagement.

An Ongoing Collaboration

Over three years, Catalyst embedded within the organization as its agency-of-record, providing managed services and tactical support. We worked with key stakeholders to scope, gather feedback, and iterate on objectives in real time.

Collaborative tools like chat, email, and prototyping platforms ensured that stakeholders could provide the ongoing feedback, without distracting its leaders from mission-critical objectives.

The Outcome

Deeper Communications with its Community

Washington Youth Soccer has improved communication with each of its target audiences. As a result, players and families, associations, and sponsors have all shown deeper levels of engagement and advocacy with the organization.

Youth soccer website screenshotYouth soccer website homepage screenshot
86%

Increase in new player registrations over three years

27%

Reduction in club attrition to competing leagues

112%

Increase in fundraising for equipment and scholarships

"Working with Catalyst has been a great solution for us. They're responsive, professional, and creative. It's great to have such a wide pool of resources within arm's reach. I can't recommend them enough for nonprofit organizations."

Quote

Roger Levesque

Executive Director

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