No one is more excited than Jeff Wilson to see Richmond’s popular Nations Cup of soccer kick off again this summer, after a pandemic-induced three-year gap.
But the tournament president and his team of volunteer organizers are in a race against time to find the corporate sponsors needed to make the 41st renewal of the amateur soccer festival the roaring success it usually is.
The weekend-long event – based out of Hugh Boyd fields and scheduled for July 15-17 – attracts around 10,000 people in person from across B.C. and enjoys 300,000 hits a day on its website.
Small window for Nations Cup people to get sponsors
However, with the tournament only getting the go-ahead a couple of months ago when COVID restrictions began to ease, it leaves only a small window to solicit the vital corporate dollars.
“We would normally have all this wrapped up, so we are behind the eight ball on the sponsorship front,” Wilson admitted on Tuesday.
“There was always a level of repetition, in so much as reaching out to sponsors and saying ‘hey, are we on for the same as last time?’…that kind of thing.
“We don’t have that continuity this year; businesses have changed or even gone away. And even the ones that are there, they might not be able financially to get involved.
“So we’re having to start some of this from scratch with attracting sponsors to the website or to the program. And then we’re having to go back to square one with describing who we are and what we do; you’re having to sell it from the very beginning.”
Wilson said the tournament is in the market for opportunities as lofty as title sponsors, all the way to taking out a small ad in the event program, along with placing a promotional tent at the festival’s headquarters at Hugh Boyd.
A few corners may need to be cut
“We are happy to figure out what works best for any potential sponsor, it doesn’t have to be a set amount for a set thing,” added Wilson.
“There is a chance we may have to cut some corners. But that’s more to do with the supply chain.
“Some of them are saying we might not even be able to get you a ball in time. We’re having to really work hard to find the basic supplies we need to put the tournament on.”
Thousands of top male and female amateur soccer players of all ages from across B.C. and western Canada converge on Hugh Boyd and surrounding fields for the Nations Cup to play for the countries of their heritage.
The draw for the 41st Nations Cup is taking place this week.
Anyone interesting in sponsoring at the event or volunteering, should email email@example.com