English Premier League Club Everton has announced plans for the next phase of its international growth strategy – which will see the Club further strengthen relationships with its growing fanbase and strategic partners in North America.
- North America identified as a key growth market for Everton as part of six pillar international strategy
- New soccer school programme to launch across 15 US states this summer
- Inaugural Everton USA Live event will bring North American supporters closer to the Club
- Everton creates new International department and engages Jurgen Mainka – formerly Deputy General Secretary and Chief Commercial Officer for CONCACAF, Chief Business Officer at Inter Miami CF – to grow new strategic partnerships and further develop Everton’s presence in the Americas.
The Club has delivered a series of activations and digital engagements in North and South America, Australasia, the Far East and the Middle East over the last two years – with expansion continuing despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Club’s six-pillar international strategy includes fanbase growth, strategic partnership, brand and business development and the launch of an international academy – while continuing retail expansion and international pre-season tour plans for the First Team, Everton Women and Under-23s.
Building on its significant work in North America – which has seen the launch of supporters’ clubs in every city-state in the US – this week sees the announcement of three initiatives which will be delivered by a new expanded international team working alongside marketing, engagement, commercial and brand specialists across the Club.
The Club will launch a new international Soccer Schools programme (EISS), which will run alongside the recently established Everton International Academy Affiliate programme (EIAAP). The two initiatives will be accessed using a new Everton International Academy web platform.
Everton’s International Soccer Schools (EISS) programme will begin with a series of soccer camps across 15 states in the Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States over the next four months.
The activity will be led and shaped by Everton coaches, and supported and delivered by US-based Community Athletic Solutions (CAS) – the first stage in a plan to develop the programme across the whole country in the coming years.
The soccer camp programme follows the launch of the Everton International Academy Affiliate Programme (EIAAP) in 2020. Columbus United (Ohio, USA) and Schulz Academy (Florida, USA) became the first two US members of the EIAAP in June 2020, alongside clubs in Australasia, South America and Europe.
The EIAAP initiative provides clubs at all tiers of the game with access to the finest coaching knowledge from Everton’s renowned Academy to support the growth of each club – a level of support that sets it apart from more traditional models.
The EIAAP programme has been delivered virtually during the pandemic. When travel restrictions are lifted, Everton Academy coaches will visit the clubs signed up to the programme and staff from US clubs will also visit Everton’s state-of-the-art USM Finch Farm training facility in the UK for education and training. More new US EIAAP members will be announced soon.
Virtual Fan Festival
This weekend (Saturday 17 April) Everton’s Fan Engagement and International departments will stage the first ever virtual event exclusively for US fans.
EvertonUSA Live – developed in conjunction with the blossoming US affiliated Supporters’ Club network – will allow US Evertonians to get closer to their club through the day-long virtual fan festival.
Attendees to the online day of activity will hear from players and coaching staff and have the chance to connect with players from Everton’s past including current Everton Ambassador in the US Tim Howard – as well as having the opportunity to ask key figures from across the Club, such as Director of Football Marcel Brands, questions.
The event will also address how the Club will aid Supporters’ Clubs to continue to grow their membership, and participants will have the chance to take part in a quiz offering money-can’t-buy prizes. Streamed live across the Club’s official social media platforms, the event will be the first of its kind for North American fans.
This creative and collaborative approach to fan engagement in North America is a focal point of Everton’s digital engagement strategy. As a result, the US audience for the official Everton YouTube channel has increased by 743% in four seasons – and there has been a 54% increase in official US account followers on Instagram and a 35.7% increase in official US account followers on twitter.
Looking to the future, Everton has announced its International Team will be supported by Jurgen Mainka, former Concacaf Deputy General Secretary and Chief Commercial Officer, to further develop the Club’s presence across North America.
Mainka and his team at Miami-based Pulse Sport and Entertainment, which will include a dedicated Brand and Business Development Manager for Everton, will act as an extension of the Club’s UK based international team and provide an on-the-ground presence across North America.
They will primarily support brand and business development projects and the Club’s engagement strategy with its expanding US fanbase.
Mainka has held senior positions at four Major League Soccer clubs, having worked in the game for more than 25 years. At Concacaf, Mainka played a key role in the organisation of the Copa America 100th anniversary tournament, held in the United States in 2016.
Before establishing Pulse Sports and Entertainment, Mainka was Chief Business Officer at Inter Miami, where he was a central figure in the Club’s stadium and training facility development and shaped the David Beckham owned club’s commercial and marketing strategies.
Ahead of starting his new role, Jurgen Mainka said: “Everton is a unique club and has a strong familial bond with its fans. It has an illustrious history and an exciting future, with a new state-of-the-art waterfront stadium on the way, and I am proud to be part of telling the Everton story across the Americas.
“Building a deep connection with soccer fans across the US is a key part of Everton’s strategy and while the Club’s US base will be in Miami, we’ll also be keen to meet fans and prospective partners where they are – both physically and in terms of sentiment and understanding of the Club.
That personal interaction is what Everton is all about. I can’t wait to get started and proud to be part of the Everton family.”
Mainka and his team will build on the significant inroads that Everton has already made into the US over the last few years.
These have included the Club:
- Growing the Everton Supporters Club network globally with a focus on the US
- Appointing Everton legend and USMNT hero Tim Howard as an Everton Ambassador in October 2019.
- Extending its strategic partnership with US company Fanatics, a global leader in licensed sports merchandise
- Increasing Everton merchandise sales globally with record numbers in the United States
- Delivering partner activations in the US with international brands such as Fratelli Beretta
- Ensuring Club and former player representation at NBC’s Premier League Mornings Live events and has held special fan get-togethers in Washington DC, Boston, Austin and Miami in the last three years.
- Creating a virtual eSports link-up with David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF (July 2020) where Blues star Richarlison took on Miami forward Julian Carranza in a three-game FIFA20 tournament.
- Launching exclusive US and Spanish-speaking Club social media accounts
- Everton has ensured former player representation at NBC’s Premier League Mornings Live events and has held special fan get-togethers in Washington DC, Boston, Austin and Miami in the last three years.
The Club made a splash in both Miami and New York in September 2020, when they announced the signing of Colombian superstar James Rodriguez on billboards at New York’s Times Square and on an advertising vessel that sailed through Miami Beach, South Beach, Nikki Beach, and round South Pointe Pier on Labor Day.
Richard Kenyon, Director of Marketing, Communications and International at Everton Football Club said: “We have invested significant time and effort over the last two years researching and devising a long-term international strategy and, despite the ongoing challenges brought about by the pandemic, it has been great to get this underway and to take these steps forward over the last few months.
“North America is one of our key target territories and we are pleased to have reached an agreement to work with Jurgen Mainka who – along with other colleagues working in Miami – will be working with us to secure strategic partnerships and develop associated opportunities.
“At the same time, we are continuing to build our International Club Affiliate network after a successful pilot period and will be launching soccer camps in the North East and Mid-West for this summer which will see thousands of young soccer fans attending our programmes.
“These important steps are part of a long-term plan for the Club which has North America as a priority region – but other opportunities in other parts of the world have also been developed by our International Team and further exciting announcements will be made soon.”