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Trade Show Report and Q&A

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Show Report

First off, I would like to thank El Hombre for really sticking it out in the booth the long hours. Simply could not have done this without him coming down from Ottawa.

Duane Rollins helped set up and get all the stuff down to the show in his car.

BrennanFan & Gabby for bringing by the scarves and handing out stickers.

David Bailey for helping out on Sunday and impressing people with more historical knowledge than anyone at the show.

And thanks to all the people that came by to visit!

Why do the show

There is only one reason to do the show. The CSA is going to deliver. If they don't, then all of this is a waste of time beyond a minor social group of soccer miscreants (which is fine and I thoroughly enjoy). However, all of us have dreamed of this being bigger and the opportunity to make that happen is now before us. That is the reason for the show.

"It's gonna be huge!"

Quick Summary

The response was overwhelmingly positive. The one thing I simply cannot stress enough from this show is how big this can be. If the CSA can pull off regular Canada games on an annual basis, we will have home games at home within a few years.

Opportunities

I would like to discuss many off the opportunities presented to us, but I do not think we should do it on a public forum.

I will make a private forum and invite people in. The opportunities I am talking about involve businesses and associations and I don't think these should be discussed publicly at this point until we have had a chance to talk to them further and also decide how we want to proceed. I do not want a he said she said situation to arise by people reading something on the forum.

It is also possible the people I talked to do not have the authority to present such an idea or need to talk to other people first. I don't want to get people in trouble or embarrass ourselves and or them.

Regardless, the only thing I spoke to all of these people about are various means of increasing our presence in the soccer community, nothing that would affect us in an operational sense.

Challenges

1. Membership: An internet forum is a very bad way of having people join your organization. Most people don't even know what it means. We need to have a way people 'join' that has some meaning, some benefit and requires no explanation. We need to figure out what that is.

2. Communication: We need something beyond the forum to communicate with people. Mailing list and magic thing I will discuss elsewhere.

3. Ticketing. We need a vastly improved ticketing system. Based on the response of people, and if we cash in on the opportunities we have no one will be able to take on the financial aspect of pre buying tickets.

4. Security. Security came up a few times, and aside from making requests is mostly beyond out control. But security comes in different flavors. Parents expressed concern about bringing kids into a supporters section.

Costs

The cost of the show was negligible. The color printing was going to be way too much. We will need it in the future, and I used what squizz wrote for the brochure on a handout. Lots of people actually read it. But the most important thing was talking to people and handing out the business cards.

Business cards $113

Photocopying $15

Sales $290 in scarves and shirts.

Future Shows or Event Tables

Push the Voyageurs cup as a credibility angle.

Stickers, must have stickers.

Any material should have an est. 1996 on it. This was an important point of distinction that said we were not the same as the TFC supporter groups.

The selling point I felt had the biggest impact, which worked on parents, coaches and club execs, was "look around you, we have all this but getting the kids into the stadium for Canada games is the final piece of the puzzle"

"Home games at home"

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I would like to add something to the budget for this show.

I want to buy the show organizers a extremely nice bottle of something. To be honest I don't know anything about extremely nice bottles of anything, so if you have any suggestions please PM me. I mean like $100 good. I don't think I can stress how good a booth we got, and they put us on the sticker hunt for the kids. It made the show for us.

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Guys, you did a great job representing the V's.

I think the presence of the V's (and the Red Patch Boys) was great for showing that Canadians do support Canadian soccer. We need to continue to reinforce that.

For next year, I'd like to see the booth feature a nice banner for the back wall next year. I've got a hook up on excellent quality banners and very good prices. If we are in again next year, I'll spearhead getting the money for that to happen.

I'd like to see some signs that make it clear that scarves and shirts were for sale (with prices listed...maybe even a mannequin to show them off more attractively).

I'd LOVE to see the V's Cup in the V's booth for the show. Don't know if that is possible but it would be great with something discussing the history of the trophy.

I would LOVE LOVE to see the V's and the CSA in adjacent booths.

I totally agree that we need a better vehicle for "signing up" members than simply registering to chat on the forum. We could learn something from RPB, in my opinion, in that regard. Our Message Board can be a bit of an intimidating realm to enter into for soccer newbies who might want to be part of a group that so passionately supports Canadian soccer (we're not always the most friendly to each other on here).

Again, kudos to those of you who made the booth happen. We are an important part of the Canadian soccer landscape and we need to come out from behind our laptops and do a little outreach with the Canadian soccer community.

General Comment about the show:

Jamie, Dan, Vicki and crew did a good job. Kris and Kat and their staff ought to be commended for the quality of the futsal tournament.

First time shows are always full of hiccups but this event went off quite well. Working together, I'm sure we can help them make it a bigger success in 2011 (I hope there is a 2nd event).

If the timing of the show is able to be moved up a bit (maybe even into mid December), I think this event in general could be far bigger. Getting players to attend and do autograph signings would be a great draw but the timing of the show makes that very hard.

Edited by VPjr

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It sounded like a very successful venture and kudos to all of you who made it and staffed the booth. I'm sure even though we couldn't be there physically, we were there in spirit. Got a similar positive response from the posts on the RPB members forum.

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Mid December would be very tough time of year though wouldn't it? Office parties, family stuff ect...

One advantage the show date has is coinciding with the NSCAA show. Hopefully they can make a deal and double up on speakers/coaches ect....

Bringing in the kind of heavy hitting presenters they have at the NSCAA show would be phenomenal.

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I really think the biggest thing with the Voyageurs is getting together a better ticketing situation. Cause for people just finding out about the Vee's they probably don't want to be sending random people email money transfers to get tickets (or T-shirts/scarves). Problem is we need to keep it inside the Voyageurs so we don't have Jamaicans/Hondurans/Mexicans/Ticos etc. in our section. I remember right before the Jamaica game we had a rule something like if you hadn't been a member for a certain amount of time then you needed to know someone in the Voyageurs who had been to games before and had people who could vouch for them.

A lot of this system is really off putting but we have to find a way to ensure we get as many Canadians and both new and long time Voyageurs into our supporters section.

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How would we do a "membership" outside of the forum... are we talking paid membership? What would the advantages be, I think that could get us into a difficult situation

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How would we do a "membership" outside of the forum... are we talking paid membership? What would the advantages be, I think that could get us into a difficult situation

No, it doesn't have to be paid. Shouldn't be.

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What was the general demographic breakdown for people who came to the booth? I've noticed that many of the recommendations you've posted are aimed at a youth aspect (ex. parents wanting to bring kids into the Vs section, etc...).

Could someone explain what RPB does that is so effective in growing its numbers?

As for options for the Membership challenge, due to this group spanning the country (and abroad), we're stuck with electronic options only it seems (unless someone likes snail mail a whole hell of a lot!). One suggestion I have is that the Voyageurs Newsletter that is sent out quad-annually? should be sent out far more regularly, perhaps as often as once a week. This is a tool that could be used to keep new people fully up-to-date, as well as something education in relation to the history of the game in Canada (former players, historic games, etc...). I mean there's far more to it than that, it could be a fully multimedia email newsletter that would look exceptionally professional.

I hope we see some new faces on the boards in the next few weeks. How's your optimism, Jamie?

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That would be a great idea - it would be a lot of work, but a weekly mail out with a historical piece about an old game or player. Or something like Voyageur story of the week/month where a Voyageur can recount their story about being at a particular game. This would be really cool, especially if we got some of the older guys who supported the team back in the 70s and 80s

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Could someone explain what RPB does that is so effective in growing its numbers?

As for options for the Membership challenge, due to this group spanning the country (and abroad), we're stuck with electronic options only it seems (unless someone likes snail mail a whole hell of a lot!).

The RPB have home games they can attend!

As for being stuck with message boards, I think we really need to establish strong chapters across the country. That way people can come out to the pub, meet and greet fellow V's, and really feel like they are a part of something.

The american outlaws have a nice setup for their chapters. They have paid memberships where you get some free swag, priority tickets, etc. If there is a region with over 25 paid members and a home bar, you're an official chapter. You're chapter gets a banner and it's own website provided by the outlaws.

I personally like the idea of paid memberships. It would cut down on the away fans trying to get our priority tickets. We could run a tiered system of "X" amount gets you a card, swag, ticket priority, access to special forum sections etc., "Y" amount gets you ticket priority and the special forum access, and free membership which is basically what everyone has now. The money raised from memberships can be used for flags, tailgates, and all of that good stuff.

For our chapters we could cut down the requirements to 15 members and a home bar and you get a sub-forum and a flag/banner.

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One thing I would suggest that needs to be implemented ASAP is creating a Welcome page as one of the items alongside InsideSoccer Magazine, Shirts & Scarves, and Photos on the main page. Either this or else create a page that auto loads once a person has completed registering for the forum.

I prefer the first option, as it allows new people to learn about the Voyageurs without being forced to sign up (hopefully that would follow once they read the intro and explanation of the Vs, the site, and procedures for interacting with us depressed cynics). It could also offer options on how to become involved if people don't want to sign up to the forum, which could therefore expand the way in which this group grows (I believe we currently only count people as being a V once they sign up to the forum).

The biggest thing that needs to be done is for this site to become a central hub of sorts for all Canadian footy bloggers' sites, and all other supporters groups. When I say hub, I don't mean for it to be the place where they all go in order to access their own forums (that's ludicrous and onpossible [me fail english]), I mean a place where every single blog and site dedicated to the game in Canada in any way should be linked off the main page, or some type of link page(s) off the main page. The more we can draw people to this site, the easier it will be to become more relevant to them.

Finally, this organization needs to connect with as many soccer associations as possible. An example would be that when Eastside Youth Soccer (EYSA) here in Saskatoon get people to go to their site, our name will be one of the links that can be checked out, with a brief explanation of who we are, something along the lines of that. When people check out Saskatoon Adult Soccer's website, we should be linked through them as well. If we can connect better with grassroots soccer in that way, we will be able to tap into the very core of the people who could potentially become part of this organization.

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Since we are talking abouit our support of all Canadian teams we should consider a much bigger liason with the CSA.We should be the arm of the CSA for that reason.This without any control by these guys.They should be happy enough to support us and in fact this alone will be an enormous booster for our NT players.We could do wonders for them of and on the field.Our extensive networks which in fact I have never experienced is in it's infancy and realising it's enormous potential alone will make me live another fifty years just to enjoy that enormous and motivating excitement,yes on guard for thee.

Canada here we come and by the many many thousands.

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Those are indeed some great points Tuscan. I agree completely on all of them in fact. I don't really frequent the blog sites too much, although the ones I do read on occasion (24th minute and onward) do have links to the site. Maybe we could get them to put up a link with our logo??

Also getting better PR with all of the provincial orgaizations is key, although it would require a lot of work, seeing as how they're essentially at war with the CSA in many regards.

I think the link on the homepage or a pop-up would be fantastic. Maybe a link or section is better as many newcomers wouldn't even check out a blocked pop-up. Getting fans to fill in a very simple form for database purposes would be fantastic, even if they never contribute one word to the forums. It shouldn't be necessary to do so just to be a Voyageur.

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Also getting better PR with all of the provincial orgaizations is key, although it would require a lot of work, seeing as how they're essentially at war with the CSA in many regards.

Hopefully this won't be the case as the reformation of the CSA is aiming to eliminate hidden provincial agendas from obscuring CSA operations. We need to formalize ourselves a bit further before we should look at proposing serious partnerships with soccer associations. The SSA, or even SAS (s'toon adult) won't bat an eyelash at our request unless we appear a slight bit more formalized to them. This opens up the perenial can of worms on here - what level of formalization do the Voyageurs need to realize in order to have an impact on the growth of the organization?

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... This opens up the perenial can of worms on here - what level of formalization do the Voyageurs need to realize in order to have an impact on the growth of the organization?

One of my favorite themes... the voyageurs becoming a registered entity, which I support. We cannot talk about the "organization" because we don't have one. We are just a website. We need to be an Organization with a website.

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In reality I suppose we are just a website, but that's really just down to you perspective isn't it?

True, without the internet we more than likely wouldn't exsist, at least nowhere near the level we do now, but that doesn't mean that we're just a website. We're a supporters group, who because of the size of our country and lack of games with which to show our support, have to settle for mostly blogging on a website forum. But hey, that doesn't restrict us to just being bloggers. We're Voyageurs. One day, those who follow after us will look back and wonder at our compassion and commitment. They might even be able to talk about it amongst themselves in person.

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I agree with this point. Geography dictates that we have to use the internet in this fashion to connect with people with like passions.

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im not sure of ways to get new members but

as a kinda new poster I think people on this site are very nice and back up what they said I love Canada soccer and I have been learning more about it the more I post and ask questions

I use to just read posts but after my user name was changed its easier to log in here

One thing tho when I made the trip down to a Canada National Team game for Regina to Edmonton my twin bro kcisoul and I never knew about the Voyageurs. When we founfd out about this group we wanted to sit/stand with the Voyageours and it was easy to be involed and thats a good thing

We met Tuscan on these boards and found out we played soccer vs him in Saskatoon. My twin brother and Justin set up a small gathering at Winstons in Saskatoon to watch a game and we ended up having a viewing party in Regina this past Summer I believe we had about 7 and 8 people there ... not bad since there is only a few Voyageurs in Sask. Tuscan plans on planning more viewing parties for up coming games. We also get together for TFC games.

I was thinking has the Voyageurs tried to put on any booths at Canada soccer games after or after the games to show people there are people in Canada that love there Country and their players??

- maybe have a small info card about the Supporters group

- maybe just to get people more pumped about the games

- I think if people seen a big group of people in Red and white having a good time they would want to learn more about the group

If the voyageurs did look into getting younger people to join what do you think we would have to do to gain younger people??

Its also hard to stay around after games since the games or on school nights but i think next time ill plan to stay around the parties after the games sound fun

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You know it's interesting that you mention gaining younger people, because that's a facet that I've never really considered, or ever seen posted anywhere in the forum for that matter. Viewing parties in pubs are great for getting all of us booze hounds, but do we want to get underagers in the supporters' sections? I suppose some might say that we're putting way too much thought into all this, that the group should just grow organically through the growing interest in soccer in the country. My counter-argument to that is we don't have the luxury of England or Germany or the Dutch in that footy is the #1 sport that kids will gravitate to in the media, nor will the media cover it like it's a #1 sport, so we have an extra-hard set of circumstances to work with, and have to do this extra leg work to grow our group. Just throwing that out there in case anyone might think we're going a little far with the whole "grow the group" thing.

On another note, how come the front page hasn't been updated regarding the game yet? Not trying to ride anyone, but pretty much every single blogger in this country has something up already, and we've been made aware of Haber becoming a Baggy for a few weeks now. Hell, we should just copy and paste Sam's post from the CanadianStretty and put it up :P

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