Final four of the Volleyball Champions League
12 and 13 May 2018 Каzan hosted for the first time the final stage of the most prestigious club volleyball competition of the world. The Final Four of the Champions League became a big challenge for Sellout Sport System and let us to show all our marketing know-hows with VC «Zenit-Каzan» for 5 years of cooperation.
History of hosting:
Carrying of any big competition starts with the bid. In December 2017 Sellout Sport System and «Zenit-Каzan» started the preparation work. While the club was getting politic and financial guarantees, collecting information about accommodation, transport, visas, we were preparing the marketing plan, promotion program, working out a previous brand and filming a bid promo video. The whole month of the hard mutual work with the club involving the Directorate for Sports and Social Projects resulted in 50-page bid document and video which went to the CEV. By the way, initially one of the options of hosting was «Таtneft-Аrenа», but the concert of Basta already announced in advance for 12 of May, an inconvenient light and other reasons made «Basket-hall» the main object of hosting of the Final Four. Before the 1st of March it was necessary only to make a road-map in order to start immediately its realization in case of our bid's victory.
Besides the creation of the road-map we decided to reconsider the brand which was made for the bid within the minimal time frame. To the 1st of March we had several concepts apart from the initial one which was made in the style of matches of different leagues' stars. The brand is the basis of any event, that is why after Kazan application's victory for the Final Four, we had a target to confirm it as soon as possible. We chose the concept «Volleyball – line of life», as clear as possible and uniting millions of volleyball supporters all over the world. A laconic graphic symbol combined an open hand and a flying ball, аnd in the text part the hosting city was underlined. Bright blue and violet colors made the brand more colorful and became one of factors in favor of this concept. The CEV liked the logo, and we started immediately preparing the gift and award production, branding of the object, typography, promo-video and the Final Four's site.
Ticketing program

The ticketing program development is one of the most important directions and one of the main sources of revenues. In how many areas to divide the arena? How to define correctly the price range? The number of sales stages. Dynamic or static pricing. We had to resolve these and hundreds of other very important issues as soon as possible because the CEV asked to open immediately the ticket sales.
We decided to choose the gradual sales system with a dynamic pricing. It was done in order to evaluate the demand and to understand whether we need to put a lot of money into the advertising campaign. We understood that, from one part, it is the Champions League Final Four, the great international event, but from another part – Kazan had seen a lot of big international events within the recent years. At the first stage we made tickets with lower prices at the match day and a pleasant discount for the season ticket for the whole competition. Tickets were sold only online on the club's website in Russian and in English languages. Results of the first stage surpassed all our expectations. 30 % of tickets were sold out within one day. Having monitored the results, in 10 days we opened the second stage of sales. Prices increased from 30 to 80%, the discount for the season ticket became minimal but the dynamic remained the same. Within two days of sales, to the beginning of April, we have sold 60% of tickets for the event. Moreover, the lower level of Basket hall was sold completely, that is why we decided not to start the third stage and realize quietly the remaining number by means of the selective advertising campaign.
Advertising campaign
The main source of sales became the targeted advertising in Internet and in social nets: starting from the Russian volleyball public, sport Kazan public, to the people looking for the pleasant pastime with family or friends. The database of VC Zenit-Kazan's supporters collected within 5 years of work with the club, helped us very much, it is more than 30 000 people having contact with the Kazan team. At the same time generating the content and creating newsbreaks, to the end of April we raised sales until 90 realized per cents for the final and until 70 for the semi-finals. In order to lead everything to the sold out, we put the weekly advertising on the key media facades, several radio stations, as well as distributed to the info partners. As a result, for the final everything was sold 5 days before the event, and for semi-finals the last tickets were sold at the match day. 85% of tickets for the Champions League Final Four were sold by the club website.
Heritage program

The Final Four was the unique chance to change the attitude toward the volleyball in Kazan, to raise it at the same level with the football and hockey, to make the general public to talk about it and to leave behind it the heritage in the city.
In order to use that chance and besides the hosting of the event at the highest level, we also needed to do some important things which would stay in Kazan and would remind to the Kazan inhabitants and tourists that the volleyball is the important part of this city. Such performances became three massive graffitis in Kazan city center. Thanks to the city Mayor's Office, we confirmed quickly our ideas and designs. The main Zenit veterans – Мikhailov, Verbov and Anderson alongside Kazan landmarks, ornamented three facades at the most important city traffic arteries. The graffitis created a big uproar of federal and local media and announced once more the upcoming event. Moreover, the agency "Global Меdia", by order of "Zenit-Каzan", programmed images by means of the App Layar, with the help of which it was possible to get all the necessary information about the Final Four and to watch a cool promo video about this event.
Very cool!
Zenit players' reaction to huge graffitis for Final Four
Kazan Basket-Hall timelapse transformation for Final Four
Basket Hall

All this time the club, together with us and the Directorate for Sports and Social Projects, made everything to prepare the main Final Four's arena to the reception of the most sophisticated guests. Technical, security, accreditation, CEV requests' adaptation to internal facilities, zoning, transport logistic and many other important issues were resolved within the preparation to the event.
All of us have seen cool promo videos from across the ocean where multifunctional arenas were transforming within several hours from hockey arena to basketball ones or vice versa. Now we can say that we know how to transform Basket Hall to the volleyball arena not within 5 hours but within one day for sure. Namely that task the CEV set to the club. Here nothing would remind about the basketball. For that purpose, we developed a plan of the branding of the Basket Hall's bowl, hall and exterior look and brought it to life at the beginning of May. The "final cherry" became the exchange of 10 basket balls to volleyball ones on the Arena's roof. According to Basket Hall employees' words, nobody have touched those basket balls since the day of their construction.

A huge short-term competition – it is always a good opportunity to make money on the merchandising. There are a lot of tourists and supporters of different categories who have to find something interesting and available for themselves. We divided all merchandise on two parts: the bigger part with Zenit's brand and the smaller one – with the Final Four's brand. The logo and brand colors of the competition dressed up T-shirts, scarfs, pennants, magnets, notebooks, pens and signs – in general about 3000 units. For the Final Four were also ordered 4 types of caps, new shipments of T-shirts, a branded jumper, quality accessories, volleyball souvenirs, and of course game jerseys and replicas. 5 sales points in Basket Hall, 4 mobile sales points and one on site of the shop UNICS helped us to sell a great number of the production.
Fan zone and catering

The Final Four's specificity is that two match days continue at least 6 hours. Аnd a happy fan is a well-fed fan. Having examined the Basket Hall, we understood that in the lobby we can be limited to sales of snacks, pastry, ice-cream and drinks. But for the full nutrition there were neither the equipment nor the engineer communications. That is why our initial concept to create a fan zone in the form of the gastronomic festival was remaining a single option. Moreover, there is Millenium Park near the Basket Hall where it was possible to place a great number of guests. Thanks to Kazan Mayor's Office support, we could organize during the Final Four the main city's gastronomic festival – "Tasty Каzan". More than 60 sales points of different Kazan gastronomic institutions were feeding guests during 12 hours on Saturday and Sunday. More than 50 000 persons visited the competition's fan zone and learnt about the main Europe volleyball tournament. Аnd supporters who had match tickets, could eat something from almost any of kitchen of the world in breaks between matches. The total amount of revenues from the gastronomic festival consisted more than 6 million rubles.
Show program
The show program raised the less of questions. Our great experience in the organization of events let us to fill the lobby by all important attributes: photo zones, face painting, entertainments for kids, special historical area with the photo exhibition and valuable volleyball items, sponsor areas, autograph session with the world volleyball legend. And as for the unique atmosphere of the arena, everybody talked about it after the Final Four. We made a new stage with giant screens, fixed a very good light with a big number of different equipment for the teams' enter for the match, and the sound, according to many professionals, was the best in the history of events in Basket Hall. Because of the roof's construction, there was always an echo effect there and nobody could obtain a clear sound neither at sport events nor at different concerts. Together with our constructors, we could find a decision ideal for Basket Hall as for the sound, so all activities were at the top level. It should be mentioned apart the Final's opening Ceremony with Dina Garipova's performance and with a various performance including everything from mapping to acrobats.
The good bye ceremony with Wilfredo Leon was very touching and left nobody indifferent.
Sponsorship and activation

The last income item, apart from ticket sales, merchandising and catering, became the money from commercial sponsors. CEV, when transferring right for the event organization to the club, specified immediately the list of closed sponsor categories which included the biggest advertising market players. Because of time deficit, we decided to concentrate only on the search of a premium partner – it was a betting company "FONBET". We could realize a unique procedure: together with the holding "Gazprom Media. Entertainment TV" we created a mutual sponsor package including both the sponsor advertising broadcast on TV and the main event's inventory: LED-boards, stickers in the broadcasting area, "Zenit" kit and activation in digital and on the arena. Thanks to it, the club received two guaranteed live broadcasts on МАТCH ТV and the first market sponsor case in the history of the world volleyball. Thanks to our activations which have included active social nets, promo videos on the club TV channel, prize drawing in exchange for supporters' data, as well as thanks to the good rating of broadcasts, "FONBET" remained happy with our cooperation.
Video production
And of course, all this event, including the present case, would not be able without our own video production! All the graphic content, promo and bid videos, preparation to the event and filming during the competition, - all that was Sellout Sport System's responsibility. We hope that you liked this content!
The Champions League Final Four in Kazan – it is a seminal event for the Russian sports. We showed that a good organized volleyball event can be attractive and commercially successful. Thanks to it, the Russian volleyball in general and "Zenit" Kazan in particular have big prospects. We hope that the Final Four will be a starting point for the development of this great kind of sports!