14th August 2014
Ben’s Placement with the Orlando City Soccer Club Marketing Department
I was up bright and early at 4am to make my way to Manchester airport for the 11am flight to Orlando and I couldn’t wait to get started. Everything at the check-in went smoothly so I had a bite to eat before heading to the departure lounge where I found Hal who would also be interning in the marketing department at Orlando City for the next few weeks.
9 hours and three movies later and we had arrived in the USA. Stepping out of the airport was a bit of a shock to the system and the heat hits you straight away, not that I was complaining but I’d never felt heat like it. Our host Alex was waiting to pick us up before we made way to what would be our home for the next few weeks.
Upon arrival we were pleasantly surprised with how nice the apartment was, particularly the view. We got settled in before Alex showed us around the town a little before eventually heading to bed, ready to get straight into work the following morning.
The first day of our internship was upon us, and John – who is the marketing coordinator at Orlando City – picked us up from our place before taking the short trip across downtown to the offices. After having a tour around the offices and meeting everyone at the club, we got stuck straight into things, the club hasn’t long been in the new offices and they are very modern and smart.
Our frst job was to re-arrange and count stock in the store room, not the most glamorous of jobs but very much necessary with everything going on with the inaugural MLS season approaching and the imminent arrival of Kaká. Marketing props and merchandise are always in and out so it’s difficult to keep everything organised.
We were then set our first project, which was to look into what other MLS clubs have done when launching their new kits and what events stood out, picking out positives and negatives of a few examples. With the club preparing for their first MLS season early next year, they are already in the process of planning their kit launch and with it being their first ever MLS jersey, by the looks of things they are planning something big.
Before leaving, we set up a few things in preparation for the following day’s home game and then headed back to the apartment after a successful first day in the office.
We had only been in the states for about 48 hours and we had our first of two home games to cover. Orlando was playing against the Charlotte Eagles and a win on the night would secure a play-off spot. We had to be at the office for 4pm to head to the game so we had until then to have a look around the down-town area and familiarise ourselves with what’s around.
We got to the game at about 4:30pm; they play at the ESPN wide world of sport in Disney, the facilities were fantastic and the game was a sell-out. This is only their temporary home and the plan is to have their new 20,000 seater stadium built by 2016, ready for their second season in the MLS.
Our role at the game was to initially help set up the press area and conference room and as supporters arrived we were required to enter them into a monthly competition, getting their names, numbers and email so they could be contacted if successful.
Talking to supporters, you really get the feeling that soccer is starting to take off over here and many are still very excited following the World Cup. We managed to watch pretty much all of the game as well as helping plan and organise the half time events.
The game finished 4-1 to Orlando and their position in the play-off was secured! Before heading back home, we were handing out flyers to supporters as they made their way from the ground.
I was required to hand out magnets and I was swarmed by supporters who were very keen to get their hands on the free merchandise, it’s not uncommon to see these magnets on the back of cars around the town.
Written by Ben Friend – BA (Hons) Football Business & Marketing student at UCFB