Lessons on identifying your space in the market.

By Amber Hudson and Luke Sklar

Last week a couple colleagues walked into a meeting talking about getting tickets to next year’s Pan Am games in Toronto.  I was all, um…what.  I knew they were coming, the maddening Toronto construction being the main (only) reason it was brought to my attention.  But I hadn’t heard a thing about tickets.  Huh.  But now that I am aware, I just can’t muster up any excitement.  And I’d wager I’m not the only one.  Has our global sports interest been sapped by the Olympics and World Cup, leaving us with little bandwidth for more?  Maybe all we hear about is the $2.5 billion+ the Ontario government is piling into this thing and not much else.

With the World Cup, the Olympics, the Asian Games and, yes even the Super Bowl, the Pan Am games need to find their way in the global sports arena.   And the bidding cities, Toronto included, need to manage their expectations as I fear they over-estimate the Pan Am Game’s ability to position them on the world stage.   Aside from those passionate about a particular sport I’m not convinced the broader public enthusiasm is there to make this a success for Toronto.

So what’s the lesson?  Know your place.  Sometimes you just can’t compete with the big boys.  So manage expectations, find your special corner of the market and reach out to those consumers with the most passion and energy.  As markets fragment go deep with your niche rather than broad with those who don’t care.

Maybe I’m wrong and the Pan Am Fever will hit in 2015.  That’s something I’m willing to catch…