On Tuesday night the Gold Cup comes to Hartford, with a double header including the United States and Cost Rica. The game will be held in East Hartford, at Rentschler Field, the home of UCONN Football. Over the years, the “Rent” has hosted the US Women, the US Men, Liverpool, Celtic and other soccer powers. Longtime readers of Footiebusiness know that I am based in Hartford, and the “Rent” is a great venue for the game. The venue has long been managed by AEG, but the role has been taken by Global Spectrum.
Yet noticeably missing from the Greater Hartford area over the last few weeks has been any noticeable promotion of the game. There has been little mention of the Gold Cup on local television stations or in the Hartford Courant. Promotion through local soccer clubs has been scant and Greater Hartford radio stations have lacked for advertising.
Given the shortage of big time sports in the area (UCONN notwithstanding), the Gold Cup should be a big event in the Insurance City. There are no more Hartford Whalers (despite our fervent wishes to the contrary). The game is expected to draw a crowd in excess of 20k, but far below the 40k plus capacity. However, given the paucity of major sporting events in the Hartford area, the projected crowd is fairly disappointing.
Also, the youth soccer set is enormous in the Greater Hartford area and offers a ready made target audience. Obviously, part of the problem is that the other three teams (Costa Rica, Belize and Cuba) don’t travel particularly well in this area. Nevertheless, it appears that a great opportunity to sell the game to a willing community has been missed.
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