Inside Events: Kings Hammer Soccer
29 Sep, 2020By: Mary Helen Sprecher
An Interview with Dave McIver, Senior Director of Events
Kings Hammer Soccer Club, which was founded in the Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and central Kentucky area, has become one of the most recognizable youth soccer clubs in the Midwest region of the United States. (The organization recently started a new esports program as well).
The club provides appropriate training of soccer at every level. Players, coaches, staff and parents contribute directly to the positive environment at Kings Hammer Soccer Club. From developing collegiate, professional and national team level athletes to providing all players the opportunity to love the game, the development structure services all skill levels.
Sports Destination Management: It would be impossible to sum up all the ways youth soccer has been impacted by COVID but what effects have you particularly noticed in Kings Hammer?
Dave McIver:I think we’ve had a lot of changing information coming down from the governments in Ohio and Kentucky recently. In both states, the governors have now cleared the way for youth sports and school sports to resume. That includes both league play and tournaments so we are excited to begin hosting events.
SDM: Does it include fans?
McIver: Yes, Fans are now being able to be in attendance at events and high school games in a limited capacity.
SDM: Does the fact that Kings Hammer straddles multiple states make it difficult for you?
McIver: Kings Hammer has teams that are affiliated with youth soccer in both Ohio South and Kentucky. Those are the two state associations that the majority of our teams play in, however We do also have a teams in the ECNL and US Youth Soccer National League so there are a number of different leagues and governing bodies we have to follow.
SDM: What are Kings Hammer’s events like?
McIver: Currently, we have nine outdoor club-run events that are in the greater Cincinnati area, as well as one preseason event that would have been in August in our Kings Hammer Bluegrass program – but we had to postpone that due to COVID-19. We recently hosted the Crown Challenge Fall Kickoff in Cincinnati in early September, and will host the Blue Chip Invitational October 9-11th at the Warren Co Sports Park and Voice of America Park. Most of our current events are hosted in Ohio.
SDM: What would be a breakdown of those other events?
McIver: Again in October, from the 9th to the 11th, we have our Blue Chip Invitational at Warren County Sports Park. In November, we host our Gateway Showcase that runs for two weekends, which, over the years, has evolved into a good early season college showcase event for all levels of teams. In March, we host the Nike Turf Classic over 2 weekends, then the Nike Elite Spring Thaw – those take place on all-turf fields across Ohio and in Northern Kentucky. In April, we have our largest event, the Blue Chip College Showcase, which has 600 teams over two weekends and 500 college coaches. Then in May we wrap up with our Crown Challenge over Mother’s Day weekend.
SDM: Are you live streaming any of your events?
McIver: We’re working with some vendors to create an arrangement so that we can partner on live streaming and game filming for teams, with a special package for college coaches who can’t be in attendance at events. Families attending the event or players can also buy specific games which can then be sent to coaches in the form of a video clip.
SDM: Which, of course, adds to the bottom line.
McIver: With the current recruiting landscape being impacted by COVID-19, we understand the importance of video and eventually live streaming to help teams market their players to colleges and for college coaches who may not be able to attend in person to still be able to recruit through video. We also understand this is a way to expand our event marketing and branding.
SDM: You’re mainly in Ohio and Kentucky now; do you intend to grow that?
McIver: Most of our events are currently hosted around the Cincinnati market. But we have begun to explore ideas to expand into some additional markets around the country. We’ve recently had several people reaching out to us about opportunities to bring events to other areas of the country.
SDM: What are you looking for in facilities to host your events?
McIver: Local club partnerships can help get people interested in the events but what you’re really looking at is finding the geographic area that makes the most sense. You want to know what events are already there and who they’re bringing in. And looking at what facilities are available to host that have strong local CVB partnerships is important.
SDM: Are you looking to expand any specific events?
McIver: We are considering expanding the Blue Chip Showcase to some new markets in 2021/2022.
SDM: What kind of economic impact are you talking about for a bigger event?
McIver: For our Blue Chip Showcase in April, we host around 600 teams with more than 10,000 players coming from a 15-state radius plus Canada. This event alone can impact the local community by millions of dollars over the course of two weekends.
SDM: Where should people reach out if they are interested in hosting?
McIver: They can reach out to me directly if they want, at firstname.lastname@example.org