CAMPAIGNS: View of England’s Spanish bolthole - Publicity

Spain’s La Manga Club (owned by P&O) is Europe’s number one sports and leisure resort, famous for its golf and other sporting facilities, and this year it opened a new soccer centre.

Spain’s La Manga Club (owned by P&O) is Europe’s number one sports

and leisure resort, famous for its golf and other sporting facilities,

and this year it opened a new soccer centre.



In February England’s World Cup football team coach Glenn Hoddle and the

Football Association’s director of communications David Davies visited

the facilities and agreed to make the resort the location of England’s

pre-World Cup training camp. Sport Inter-Media, which has been the

resort’s PR agency for over a year worked to ensure that this

opportunity yielded good coverage for the resort.



Objectives



To raise the profile of La Manga Club, positioning it as the premier

sporting and fitness venue in Europe.



Tactics



Anticipating the huge amount of interest from the English media, travel

wholesaler Barwell Travel was asked to organise a package tour for

journalists, including flights - both to the training camp in Spain and

to the friendly matches in Morocco - and accommodation.



Sport Inter-Media followed up the 70 English journalists who signed on

for the package tour with a pack containing videos and brochures about

the resort and a press release. This pack was also sent to some 200

national and regional newspaper, radio and TV journalists explaining

where the England team was going to be.



At the club, a fully-equipped press centre was set up, including

separate radio, television and press interview rooms. Journalists were

given tours of the resort and its facilities. The Sport Inter-Media team

also ensured that journalists got good positions for photographs of the

England team at work and that materials were translated for the 20

Spanish journalists covering the story.



La Manga Club’s soccer centre, where the training took place, was open

to the public and training sessions were broadcast live on Sky News.

Sport Inter-Media negotiated with the FA (which brought all its own

sponsors’ signage) to have boards placed around the grounds, bearing the

La Manga Club and P&O resort logos. These were placed in front of the

grandstand so that cameras filming the crowd would pick them up and

broadcast them across the world.



Knowing that the final press conference, where Glenn Hoddle announced

his squad, would attract a huge amount of attention, the FA agreed to

hold it on the terrace of the Hyatt Regency La Manga hotel, with its

backdrop of a golf course and the Mediterranean.



Results



Naturally, the 12-day training camp was covered everywhere, but among

the tales of Gazza’s antics, the La Manga Club ’premier resort’ message

still managed to make an impact. The resort featured in 200 television

extracts (both mentions and visuals), it received more than three hours

of radio coverage and over 500 press cuttings.



Highlights of the coverage included an in-depth feature on Radio 5 Live

and coverage on BBC One’s Football Focus. It is estimated that the Sky

News coverage, broadcast on the Fox and Star networks reached some

two-thirds of the globe.



Verdict



This campaign was something of a balancing act, as the Sport Inter-Media

team worked to promote La Manga Club while co-ordinating its activities

with those of the FA’s communications team. There was a danger of the

club going relatively unnoticed in all the pre-World Cup hype, but a

well thought out strategy and capitalising on the opportunity the event

afforded has been beneficial for La Manga Club.



Client: La Manga Club

PR Team: Sport Inter-Media

Campaign: England soccer team pre-World Cup training camp

Timescale: March-June 1998

Budget: Undisclosed



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