On a Monday night I received a call saying I was selected to try out for a North American Soccer League team. On Tuesday I asked my boss if I could go for the try outs which were on Wednesday and Thursday. I woke up on Wednesday at 5am and couldn’t go back to sleep. Instead of business casual I wore cleats. Instead of a desk, I arrived at a soccer field. Instead of reviewing engineering drawings, I was stretching with athletes gunning for the top spot. Wouldn’t it be great to make money through soccer? Here’s a couple of ways.
1. Become a citizen of a team ranked low in the FIFA rankings, and make their national team. Countries that are easy to become a citizen of: Singapore (FIFA rank 150, requires 2 years of permanent residency), St Kitts and Nevis (FIFA rank 153, requires $250,000 local investment), Dominica (FIFA rank 166, requires $100,000 local investment).
2. Create a Yelp for soccer leagues. Where/when do the leagues occur, how good are they, and does anyone need players? The website or app helps new folks transition to life in the town. Veterans can find new leagues or rate the ones they’re in. How does Yelp make money? 80% from local ads (in our case, each league), 15% from brand advertising (Nike/Adidas/Puma), and 5% affiliates (if a user clicks on a link and buys something from Nike/Adidas, then part of the sale goes to Yelp).
3. Remodel your living room or basement to be a spectacular place to watch soccer. Have a giant screen, surround sound, memorabilia, BYOB, and knowledgeable friends. Start free of charge and let the word spread. As your house begins to regularly reach capacity, begin charging cover. It’s like the public viewing they have at World Cups/Euros, but in your house.
4. Run a food truck next to soccer fields. Have food soccer players crave after games. Me? Beer, brats, and french fries.
5. Become a “journalist” for the local league and cover it professionally: Write match reports, take pictures, do interviews, and publish behind the scenes stories. Make the content entertaining and everyone in the league will read your website to find news about themselves. Now, check who sponsors your league and ask them to sponsor you instead. Ask for less than what they do in the league – it’ll be a higher ROI for them.
6. Get a sponsor, create an event involving the whole community, and break a soccer related World Record. Suggestions – Play 558 passes in a row (http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/2000/most-consecutive-football-(soccer)-passes). Play 5v5 for over 54 hours (http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-4000/longest-marathon-playing-five-a-side-football-(soccer)/). You can combine the second one with a charity cause. While you’re at it, advertise #2-5.
7. Write Grant applications for local soccer clubs. Everyone needs funding. If your strength is writing and not soccer, you could try this one. Actually if you like writing, write ten articles about the weekend soccer games and send it to multiple websites. Maybe one will pick you up and let you be a soccer journalist. Combine with #5.
8. Buy cheap soccer shirts online or overseas and sell them in or outside stadiums. Some of my favorite stadium memories are seeing long lines of vendors and their knockoff shirts – Batistuta, Suker, Ronaldo, Totti, Beckham. Showcase them at stadium tailgates or kids soccer tournaments.
9. Bet on outcomes of soccer matches. According to an article on bettingexpert.com, over the last 10 seasons, 93% of Italian teams who were favorite to win at odds of 1.2 actually did win the game. Across seven major European leagues, the percentage was 89%. Sounds like if you keep betting $100 per round, after 10 rounds you would be up $80 ($20*9 – 100).
10. Start a soccer blog, get thousands of fans, and watch your inbox fill with offers from companies who target the soccer fan or coach interested in learning about soccer, not just watching it weekly.
If you’re one of those companies, email me.
Has anyone tried any of these? If you did and succeeded (or failed), let me know in the comments. I also want to hear more audacious ideas. With the internet lowering cost of entry into businesses, surely there are things we can do to make money through soccer.
Image Credit: Andrew Magill