OttoinFocus: ” Kyle Beane gets it”

From “OttoinFocus”

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YUCAIPA, CA – I don’t know what Kyle Beane does for a living. But I suspect it has something to do with sales or marketing.

Beane along with Dave Lach are the Co-chairmen of the 2010 International Softball Congress World Tournament to be held in Midland, Michigan, Aug. 14-21. And I am learning fast that it would be hard to find two finer promoters for the tournament – and the sport of men’s fastpitch softball.

Recently Beane sent an email to several people including myself. He asked for help in promoting the world tournament by writing a serious of stories about the 48 teams playing in the tournament.

“…Throughout the course of the ISC, and leading up to it, we’re hoping to do some things that other hosts haven’t done,” Bean said in his email. “One thing is to provide a unique team profile, article, and feature on our website of all 48 teams…. probably starting around May 1st, and adding three to four per week leading up to the beginning of the tournament.”
What a great idea. And one long overdue.

Telling fastpitch fans across the world about the teams, players, managers, and sponsors who are the “guts of the game” is one of the promotional things this sport needs to do if it is to survive.

Beane understands that to create interest and entice fastpitch fans to come to the tournament, he has to get the word out. Call it marketing, call it advertising, call it promoting…Beane gets it.

Let’s suppose I know very little about men’s fastpitch softball. And let’s suppose I’ve got this firebrand trying to sell me on the sport and this event he calls a “world tournament.”

I’m probably going to have a few questions I want answered before I buy a plane ticket and fly halfway across the country to a softball tournament I know very little about:

“What’s so special about men’s fastpitch softball?”

“Who plays this sport that I’ve heard so very little about?”

“What’s so special about the ISC World Tournament?”

And the most basic question fans of any sport want answered before they shell out (vacation days) and entertainment dollars is:

“What’s in it for me?”

Beane plays infield for the Midland Explorers, a team long recognized as a top-flight team in men’s fastpitch. And a team that is a household word in the sport.

Why? Because of promotion – getting the word out. The Explorers have this wonderful support group called the “Midland Explorers Booster Club.” They do everything from raising money to keep the team afloat to promotion. Without them the Explorers may not even exist.

Do you remember the Decatur Pride of Decatur, Illinois? When they were in operation, I dare say that there wasn’t a fastpitch fan in the world that didn’t know about this team. And again it’s because of promotion.

I don’t know who was behind the effort, but the name “Decatur Pride” was always in the news. Always in publications like the Fastpitch Chronicle run first by Ray Anderson and then later by Bob Tomlinson.

And Executive Sports Editor, Mark Tupper, of the Decatur Herald & Review, wrote story upon story about the team. About the players. About the tournaments they hosted or played in.

So someone within the Decatur Pride organization “got it,” and embraced marketing. Embraced promotion.

In his email, Beane also said, “I think each team has a unique story, and things that are of interest to fans and within the sport. I also see these (stories) potentially being used by local media…”

Finally, someone who “gets it.”

Editor’s note:
To visit the Official Midland 2010 ISC World Tournament website, click the banner below:

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