While attending the 2010 MLS Cup soccer match in Toronto earlier this November, I was pleasantly surprised by the city’s warm welcome extended to visiting soccer fans. Banners filled airport terminals, and billboards that welcomed fans to the championship event surrounded the area. Related posters and sidewalk signage extended the coverage from the CN Tower all the way to BMO Field, where the event occurred. Subway stations, train depots, transit ads and cab toppers hyped the event and heightened anticipation for the match. The LED boards in Dundas Square and the fantastic tri-faced message center at the sporting venue displayed videos of exciting soccer goals interspersed with sponsor messages.
In short, the coordinated efforts of event organizers, local governing bodies and business associations harnessed the potential of this event and maximized the merchandising potential. I’m certain I bought more souvenirs, drank more beers and generally enjoyed the city of Toronto far more than I would have if there wasn’t such a special atmosphere surrounding the championship match.
The Colorado Rapids beat FC Dallas 2-1 that night, but event signage ensured Toronto was the winner.
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