Golden Goal for the Montafon
The training camp of Spain, the football world champions, in the Montafon has reaped dividends.
Montafon. A great cheer went up in the Montafon with the news that the Spanish national football team had booked Schruns-Tschagguns as its training camp in preparation for the World Cup in South Africa. Weeks of negotiations, flying visits and preparations at the grounds had preceded the Spanish decision. “Contacts to the top-class Löwen hotel in Schruns and the good international reputation which the Montafon has as a destination for football training camps were crucial factors in the decision to travel to the Montafon,” explained Manuel Bitschnau, director of Schruns-Tschagguns Tourismus (STT). After a magnificent reception to mark their arrival on 30 May, the Spanish national team completed several training sessions at the sports stadium in the Aktivpark. Three training sessions were open to the public until the team’s departure on 3 June. Despite the mainly poor weather these sessions attracted a total crowd of about 7,000 spectators and an explosion of media interest.
Global presence in the media
Over 100 international journalists established a constant presence around the training camp and numerous fans from Austria and abroad besieged the hotel, the press centre at the “Haus des Gastes” and the stadium at the Aktivpark. There was also a heavy demand for merchandise in the shops. Since the Spanish team was regarded as a favourite for the World Cup title, comprehensive security arrangements were put in place and excellently managed by Securitas.
From a media perspective, the Spanish national football team’s stay in the Montafon was a complete success. The Spanish stay in Schruns-Tschagguns, in the Montafon, received well over 100 minutes of television coverage from Austrian and foreign broadcasters. The sports programmes were mainly broadcast during prime time so they achieved correspondingly high viewing figures, with a media value calculated at over EUR1.5m (without taking the viewing figures into consideration). The equivalent figure for the print media is well over EUR800,000 until now. The media value for radio is only available for Austria and the nearby regions of Switzerland and Liechtenstein and is about EUR200,000. Altogether, this comes to a media value of EUR2.5m for the Montafon and Schruns-Tschagguns. Data for the online field points to continuous coverage. Unfortunately, however, the difficulty of specifically evaluating clicks on the website meant that it was impossible to calculate media values for the online segment. A total of 603,329,643 hits were recorded in the Austrian online media. Based on this figure, a further 85% of reports were published in the online media abroad. Altogether, over 250 online reports about the Montafon and Schruns-Tschagguns were recorded.
The Spanish victory at the Word Cup was followed live by hundreds of fans watching the public viewing screens in Schruns and duly celebrated at a subsequent party. For weeks afterwards, the Montafon was once again the subject of comprehensive media coverage (print, TV, radio, online). From Johannesburg we received news of television reports about the Spanish football team’s training camp in the Montafon. The fact that the World Cup champions held their training camp in the Montafon has obviously boosted the importance of our region.
The Montafon is a haven for football
The World Cup titleholders are a superb point of reference in our efforts to promote football tourism. Spain’s victory led to an immediate flurry of inquiries in this regard. Our five-year programmes of investments in the field of football tourism (the Lazio Rome match in 2000, the Montafon Golden Key Cup tournament in 2005, the Spanish national football team in 2010) have helped the region become a top international destination for football and benefit each year from over 80 teams which now travel to the Montafon for training programmes or matches. Investments for 2010 were increased many times over by the international media echo and, according to Siegi Stemer, member of the Vorarlberg government, resulted in Vorarlberg’s biggest sports event in recent decades. “We should especially like to thank all our sponsors, helpers, the authorities and everyone who contributed to the security arrangements. In particular I would like to mention the willingness of Golm FC Schruns to forego its normal use of the training ground,” was Bitschnau’s final comment.
“Investments were boosted many times over by the presence of the global media.” Manuel Bitschnau, STT
Football world champions Spain were guests in the Montafon and helped carry the name of the region to a worldwide audience.