Only in Louisville
Louisville City Emphasizes Fast Pace of Soccer Games and Fun in The Stands
Marketing Efforts Differentiate the Soccer Experience from Other Sports
By Rachel Reynolds
Agile and often international soccer players sprint, spin and surprise with their amazing feet and passion for the game. A fan in the stands has to think twice about ducking out to the concession stand for a hotdog and drink for fear of missing multiple outstanding plays.
And then there’s the impromptu player celebrations and removing of shirts …
It’s this lightning pace and spontaneity – not to mention the exuberant glee in the stands – that Louisville City pitches when marketing to potential corporate sponsors and new fans.
“I think the environment really shocks people,” says Eric Schenasi, account executive for Louisville City. “The ball is always moving and anything could happen at any second. It’s a fast game.”
Soccer – the new kid on the block when competing for sports-focused corporate dollars – is finding a way to differential itself in a crowded field of football, basketball and baseball sponsorship contenders.
“I really try to harp on the idea that this is something new for Louisville when pitching business-to-business ticket sales,” Schenasi says. “It’s a lot of fun. The energy in the stadium is awesome.”
While European and South American fans are fanatical about soccer, Americans are newbies who are sticking their toe in the water and sampling the professional soccer experience. Schenasi says that once Louisville City gets a fan into the stadium, many are hooked on the game.
“It’s both easy and hard at the same time to market soccer,” Schenasi says. “We had a good base of fans at the start who got on board early. The rest we have to convince.”
Louisville City soccer club is in its third season here in Louisville, and the club is made up of 20 players who hail from far and wide including the Southern U.S., United Kingdom, Midwest and Ireland. Head Coach James O’Connor is also Irish.
There are 32 games in the club’s soccer season. Sixteen of those are home games. There are also exhibition games and potential tournament games. Louisville City played its opening game on March 25 and its first U.S. Open Cup game kicks off May 17.
Matches played on the soccer pitch include two 45-minute halves with two 5-minute optional additions.
“Most games last 95-100 minutes,” Schenasi says. “And what a wild 100 minutes!”
Single-game tickets cost $15 and up, and season tickets for all 16 home games range from $180-$480. The stadium Louisville City currently plays in includes a patio deck and plenty of places to socialize while still watching the match.
Louisville City hopes to build a new stadium from the ground up that would open for the 2020-2021 season. The club has employed HOK architectural firm from St. Louis to draw up plans for a 10,000-capacity stadium with an easy option to expand to 20,000 capacity. The club will offer naming rights for the stadium as part of its sponsorship opportunities, Schenasi says.
Schenasi, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, started working for Louisville City about three months ago. His phone number still sports the (310) area code that reveals roots in the chic west side of LA. This is his first time living in Kentucky and he likes Louisville.
“I’m really enjoying it and the only thing I miss is being 10 minutes from the beach,” he says. Schenasi has settled into a NuLu apartment and is exploring the city’s culinary and arts scene.
“NuLu is three blocks from food, bars and breweries,” Schenasi says. “I love it here so far.”
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