Opinion: CARAA should be promoted as a sports event

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Another way of attracting audience to follow the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) Games is the promotion of the participating athletes and what can they do.

Connection with the audience is one of the key elements of sports fan-following. The audience has better appreciation of a sporting event if they can relate to what is happening on the competition floor.

That’s why the audience needs to know who is participating in the event and what are they expecting to see when they attend.

Time to acknowledge CARAA is a sporting event

The Department of Education (DepEd) and their officials have to acknowledge they are promoting a sporting event and that they have to compete with the Panagbenga in terms of drawing audiences in case Baguio hosts it.

It’s been a while now that the CARAA has been promoted in line with the host’s tourism spots and activities.

The tourism aspect should really take the backseat because the CARAA meet is a sports event.

The CARAA meet is supposed to be the main selection process in determining which CAR athletes will represent the region in the Palarong Pambansa. It should remain as such, in form and in substance.

Baguio doesn’t need the CARAA for tourism purposes

Another truth: Baguio doesn’t have a need for the CARAA to attract a big group of audiences and showcase Baguio tourism spots to them.

The Baguio City Government and some local business groups have already proven they can attract tourists, foreign and local, with the events they host.

How many times did residents complain about their lack of mobility when visitors flood the city during Panagbenga? Or the Lantern Parade? Or even during the Sundays when half of Session Road was closed due to pedestrianization and conduct of certain commercial activities?

The traffic jams and congestion problems during these events should be enough proof of this fact.

So to say that holding the CARAA simultaneously with the Panagbenga will add more income for the city is simply not true. It would be even safer to say the other way around, that the audiences who will attend CARAA events are primarily in the city because of the Panagbenga.

So, if Baguio is to host the CARAA and expects to generate some good for its constituents in return for their allocation of resources, the hosting duty has to be accepted because of athletic reasons.

The showcasing of athletes’ talents and skills should provide Baguio residents and other Cordillera “kailians” enjoyment in watching games. This is another justification why Baguio will accept of hosting duties and spend taxpayer money on the games.

See related articles:
Opinion: Bad economics is driving CAR LGUs away as CARAA hosts
Opinion: Other delegations have to level up the competition if they are to entice Baguio to host CARAA

Easy access to games is the first step to create sports fan following

Sports following is hard to generate, given that not many in the community love sports. That’s why an event should normally be fan friendly and relatable.

Think of these sports event situations involving fans reactions:

(1) The fan who loses interest after acquiring knowledge of who won the game normally wouldn’t bother to attend the game, even if he/she has the time and resources.

(2) The fan who loses interest after acquiring knowledge of who performed best normally would spend resources to view the highlights.

(3) The fan who loses interest after knowledge of the final score normally would spend resources to get hold of the box scores or stats.

(4) The fan who loses interest after knowledge of all three scenarios and still wanna know how was the game played normally would spend resources to go to the venue or watch the entire game.

Whoever is organizing the games has to rise above the challenge of obtaining fan following, especially of the last kind.

Games are better patronized if they are properly scheduled, held at a suitable venue or can be easily watched through a medium, provide entertainment, the results worthy of being told and retold, and at best, provoke discussion.

The organizers should make fans better appreciate their spending resources to attend events by making them easily know when and where game are to be held and have accessible ways to attend or follow the games, be it in a live venue or live coverage.

They may also consider taking the promotion of the event into another level by making the game results, boxscores, and statistics available to the public and archived at a place where they can be easily reviewed.

DepEd may want to consider filling in details about player resume, achievements, and capabilities that can be officially released to the public.

While not all information about athletes can be disseminated to the public due to some laws implemented nowadays, DepEd has the key to which information, critical to the sports function, can be released.

The more the public know about the players involved and what can they offer to the viewing public, the better chances of increase the probability of attendance in games, building a long-term fan, and possibly attract sponsors.

And there are many ways nowadays to achieve this: announcements, coverage, and press releases through the internet and technology, social media, traditional media, and careful venue selection, are just a few of the cheap and handy ways to do the trick.

CARAA gotta have heroes and moments

Sport heroes and moments are the best reasons why the normal sports fans go to an event. They want to see players performing extra-ordinary acts and enjoy game moments they normally don’t see in their daily routine.

Here are some made up situations that show what I mean: (1) Can somebody give the reaction of the Cordillera sports fandom if they are hypothetically expecting to see an “Ateneo-LaSalle basketball match-up” between Baguio and Abra in the CARAA? Or (2) there could be potentially “another version of Carl Jammes Martin” in a young pug from Mountain Province? Or (3) the next libero of the Philippine Women’s Volleyball Team could be coming from Benguet? Etc….

I’m sure fan interest would perk up if, social and traditional media will hypothetically be reporting something like these and fans attending games at the venue confirmed them to be true.