Interview with Davy Ratchford, RSL’s Director of Marketing

 

rsl

Over the last few weeks we have posted a number of interviews with MLS Team executives regarding efforts to market their Clubs in the current economic and technological climate.  Each team has unique circumstances that make their marketing and fan outreach efforts fascinating fodder for discussion and analysis. This week we touch base with Davy Ratchford, RSL’s Director of Marketing.  RSL is in their first full season at Rio Tinto Stadium and brought huge crowds to their playoff games at Rio Tinto last year.

Thanks to Mr. Ratchford.  Check out our other recent marketing interviews with Revolution COO Brian Bilello, Kansas City VP of Marketing and Communications Rob Thomson and  Dynamo Senior Vice President Rocky Harris

Footiebusiness.com: What is RSL doing differently for marketing in 2009?  How has the economy changed/impacted those efforts?

 

Davy Ratchford: Everyone is operating on tighter budgets.  We’ve focused our marketing efforts around a segmented marketplace.  Our mass media is focused on research driven statistics telling us what stations our prospects watch and listen.  Although we are doing well, it is easy to see the economy’s effect when it comes to discretionary entertainment spending.


FB: RSL opened Rio Tinto Stadium last year.  How does the presence of the new stadium change/impact marketing efforts?  Is the stadium experience a
marketing tool?

 

DR: Absolutely, when we opened the stadium at the end of the 2008 season, we had fantastic attendance which helped us both on the field and off. The experience that people had was captured and bottled into our 2009 pre-season marketing “where you there” campaign.  We tried to remind people of what those few games’ magical moments were like.

Having a home to call our own brings a level of optimism in our marketing.  But at the same time, we don’t want it to be just about the building.  Our players and fans are the soul of our organization and the building helps us showcase that.


FB: How has RSL utilized online avenues such as social networking sites, SUM’s new online ad network, etc… to market the team?  Do you find that
these efforts increase interest in RSL or impact attendance?

 

DR: We actually do quite a few online promotions.  We have a steady following on Facebook and our sales pods keep their clients informed via twitter.  These avenues are the right price “free” and allow us to communicate to our fans in their comfort zone.  We do a lot of online banner ads and have tracked some fantastic click through numbers.


FB: Unlike other MLS franchises, RSL plays in a city without competition from multiple “big four” sports franchises.  How does that impact RSL’s
media exposure and ability to generate interest through “free” exposure?

 

DR: The Jazz have been a great anchor for professional sports here in Utah for some time.  As have the college sports teams at BYU and The University of Utah.  Real Salt Lake is rebounding from some years of losing seasons and the media has started to embrace a 2nd professional sports team.  We’ve negotiated some larger broadcast deals that allow us more coverage on local networks.


FB: Is it inconsistent/challenging for teams to target “hard core” supporters, non-soccer sports fans and families?  How do you resolve those
inconsistencies/challenges?

 

DR: I think it does become a challenge, but a good one to have. In our marketplace we have a certain market segment that is young, male and single.  We also have married with 3 kids and we also have grandparents and grandkids.  Having a broad marketplace does cause us to stretch our budgets across the spectrum to reach these differnt targets.  The key is creating a good media mix that is atrractive to all of these groups.  And to have a strategy in place to move them along in their commitment level towards us.  We are happy to have folks come to one or two games a year, but our goal is for them to experience us and increase their connection to us.

About these ads

4 Responses

  1. [...] Gallegos.  Please check out some of our other interviews with MLS marketing executives including Davy Ratchford, Director of Marketing for RSL, Dynamo Senior VP Rocky Harris, Revolution COO Brian Bilello and Kansas City VP of Marketing and [...]

  2. [...] Gallegos.  Please check out some of our other interviews with MLS marketing executives including Davy Ratchford, Director of Marketing for RSL, Dynamo Senior VP Rocky Harris, Revolution COO Brian Bilello and Kansas City VP of Marketing and [...]

  3. [...] Interview with RSL Director of Marketing Davy Ratchford Last year, RSL surprised many in MLS  be winning the championship over the Galaxy.  Now firmly entrenched in Rio Tinto stadium while defending  its first championship, RSL is off to a great attendance start in 2010. RSL has consistently been one of the most innovative teams with respect to marketing and in-stadium programs and their attendance reflects those efforts.  As part of our ongoing series of interviews with MLS marketing personnel, RSL Director of Marketing Davy Ratchford was kind enough to chat with footiebusiness.  Thanks to Mr. Ratchford.  For our other 2010 interviews, click here.  For our 2009 interview with Mr. Ratchford, click here. [...]

  4. [...] Last year, RSL surprised many in MLS  be winning the championship over the Galaxy.  Now firmly entrenched in Rio Tinto stadium while defending  its first championship, RSL is off to a great attendance start in 2010. RSL has consistently been one of the most innovative teams with respect to marketing and in-stadium programs and their attendance reflects those efforts.  As part of our ongoing series of interviews with MLS marketing personnel, RSL Director of Marketing Davy Ratchford was kind enough to chat with footiebusiness.  Thanks to Mr. Ratchford.  For our other 2010 interviews, click here.  For our 2009 interview with Mr. Ratchford, click here. [...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 70 other followers