July 28th, 2008
Carvel, Kraft Join Youth Soccer Tour
By Richard Tedesco
The 3v3 “Kick It’ youth soccer tour is going strong after nearly 20 years, with Carvel, Kraft and Nestlé providing assists as this year’s sponsors.
It’s the first year for Carvel, which is sampling its ice cream products, and Kraft, sampling its Easy Mac microwave macaroni and cheese cups. Nestlé is in its second season of the tour, distributing its Juicy Juice beverage boxes.
The 3v3 soccer tour, developed by U.S. Youth Soccer as a format for 5-to-9-year-olds in 1990, will stage 60 events around the country involving an estimated 80,000 players and 400,000 spectators this year. Teams of eight to 10 players break into five-man squads for each game.
“It’s a good training tool because kids get a lot of touches on the ball,” said Dan Cramer, executive vice president of Best Experiential Properties, which organizes the annual tour.
The two-day local tourneys also offer a good opportunity for sponsors to touch both the kids playing and the adults watching the action, according to Cramer.
Carvel has two or three freezers full of ice cream at each event, and typically gives out 1,500 samples per day. Along with sampling, Kraft distributes coupons and sponsors an interactive soccer activity during the event, with kids competing for prizes.
Verizon Wireless and Croc’s are also supporting the tour in some markets.
“You get a real wide demographic spectrum because it’s soccer,” Cramer said. “It mirrors the market you’re in.”
Nine teams that win regional events advance to a finals face-off at Disney World in January.