By: Ian Thomas
Univision has signed on four partners for its new event, modeled as soccer’s version of the Little League World Series.
The tournament, called the Prospects Cup and set to be played in Kissimmee, Fla., in December, will bring together 16 domestic and international under-12 boys teams to crown the world’s best. Participants include youth teams affiliated with AS Roma, Manchester City, Real Madrid, the LA Galaxy and Orlando City SC as well as teams from Boston and Medford, N.J.
UCI Live, the network’s in-house experiential marketing unit operating the event, has signed partnerships with Gatorade as official isotonic beverage and sideline partner, Olive Garden as official casual dining partner, video mobile app TopYa! as official skills and freestyle training partner, and Sports Illustrated as official media partner.
Brett Ehrlich, vice president of sponsorship sales for UCI Live and who is helping to oversee the event, said it expects to add three to four more partners by the start of the tournament. It is not selling presenting rights to the tournament this year, but is expecting to in the years ahead. He declined to comment on the terms of the deals.
Previously, UCI Live tapped digital media company Sportsrocket to livestream the event, as well as provide media distribution such as tournament highlights and social video creation. U.S. men’s team player Christian Pulisic was named the tournament’s athlete ambassador.
The Prospects Cup will be broadcast in Spanish on Univision Deportes Network, and in English on television through Eleven Sports. Matches and content will also be streamed in Spanish on UDN digital, and will be distributed in English through social channels with Sportsrocket, Ehrlich said. Event organizers will make the streams available to all participating teams if they wish to share it online as well.
Sticking to the same strategy as the Little League World Series, Univision won’t charge for tickets to the matches. Ehrlich said the property will generate revenue through the content produced around it and integrated partnerships. Also similar to the LLWS, Univision is building out the on-site experience and events for players that will participate and their families. While this year the tournament is limited to 16 teams, the hope is that it will be expanded to more teams as well as a girls tournament in the near future. A selection committee put together by Univision is in charge of picking the participants.
Ehrlich noted that both European and MLS clubs have contacted Univision to send their youth teams in subsequent years, as many look to highlight their successful young prospects.
“If this event existed seven years ago, Christian Pulisic could have been playing in it,” he said. “The thing we want to do is give those players a platform to compete against the best in the world.”
Source: Sports Business Journal