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.
To raise the profile of La Manga Club, positioning it as the premier
sporting and fitness venue in Europe.
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.
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.
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