Bemoaning pre-season tours is rather short sighted

Pre-season tours are an essential part of a football club, they are commercial vehicles but also a way to connect with fans who wouldn't normally see their team live and create new fans.

 Bemoaning pre-season tours is rather short sighted


They generally take two forms, the worlds major clubs playing each other for appearance money or individual club organised tours. Tottenham engage in the latter.

Instead of joining other clubs on a tour of the US simply stopping at a city to play a game, Tottenham arrange their own tours with community engagement in mind.  The summer has seen the third tour in five years to the USA, which stared in Seattle, then moved on to Toronto in Canada and finally back to the US and Chicago.

Spurs drew 3-3 with Seattle in the first leg and travelled there because an old player, Clint Dempsey was sold to Seattle by us. That helps to generate interest in an area where football gets the largest attendances. Growing support in an area that has engaged with the game and getting the Tottenham name across on as personal a level as possible promotes the club in the right light to individuals and businesses.

Moving on Tottenham beat Toronto FC 3-2 as part of a deal which took Jermain Defoe to Canada, part of that also was a 4-year advertising deal.

Tottenham are a more in touch club than the 'superstar' clubs and that is a deliberate ploy. Our players are more accessible to the fans and media, meeting the supporters groups and going out into the community. Michael Dawson and Lewis Holtby for instance went fish tossing in a market while Ledley King undertook multiple engagements in all cities, coaching, making pizza, casking beer, all chances for the club to engage on a personal level.

A team of coaches work with the local community and in Toronto they went into a school, maximising media attention and bringing the club name to the fore. American Ambassador Brad Friedel played in all the games and was on hand for press conferences and quotes, again maximising exposure.

Compare that to AC Milan who flew to Toronto, played the next day and flew home again for a £2.79 million (€3.5m) appearance fee. The approaches are quite different. AC Milan lost 3-0 to Olympiakos of Greece in front of a sparse crowd.

The Tottenham game in Toronto was a sell out and Canadian fans who had never seen their club play live before got the chance to do so. Engaging with the community clearly was a pull and must have a far greater long term benefit to Tottenham than a short term appearance fee.

As part of the advertising deal official Spurs products will be available in the Toronto FC store which it is hoped will boost local support and increase membership of the Official fan club in Canada.

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Engaging with the community helps to establish ongoing grass roots relationships as Tottenham executive director Donna Cullen explained to local media.

“We’re not about playing one match and just picking up and leaving. Some children may want an alternative to the tried and tested clubs like Manchester United to come and perhaps support us.”

It's all part of selling a brand and engaging with children where possible, they are potential future supporters so the earlier you plant a seed the better. Meeting stars from a club and finding out they are nice people can have a lasting affect and who knows how many new supporters may be born.

Gareth Bale was big business commercially, a superstar which brought the Tottenham name to prominence, the North American tour helps keep the Tottenham name in the picture.

Many fans only think about football, but Tottenham is a business and without the business there is no football and certainly not football at the level we currently enjoy. The tour has been a roaring success from the outside, constant media attention and the opportunity to watch a team take shape.

 Bemoaning pre-season tours is rather short sighted.




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