When R. Scott Jenkins, Tournament of Roses president for the 2014 celebration, said that it would be difficult in today’s economy for a new city to garner the resources to enter the Rose Parade, he could have added that it’s increasingly difficult for cities who are traditionally in the Rose Parade to maintain their organizations.
The Torrance Rose Float Association, looking towards its 100th anniversary of Rose Parade participation in 2014 and its 60th entry, faced a huge shortfall in funds. Enter AYSO—American Youth Soccer Organization—looking for a way to celebrate its 50th anniversary and honor the city where it was founded in a garage near Jefferson Middle School.
With a goal of raising $100,000 in one week to fund the Torrance float, AYSO broadcast an appeal to its member organizations and raised the funds 24 hours before the deadline of March 15. The city must commit to a float builder between March 15 and April 1, and get a $5,000 non-refundable deposit to the Tournament of Roses by April 1.
AYSO considers it money well spent. The organization estimates that a Rose Parade float, seen by as many as 43 million television viewers and 13 percent of households in the United States, is worth $1 million in public relations and earned media value. Families with AYSO-age children (ages 4 to 18) are the dominant audience, and broadcasts in English and Spanish reach a large swath of the American public.
AYSO is encouraging member groups around the country to sit down together for breakfast and a parade on Jan. 1, 2014, and will fill five of the eight rider slots on the float. The remaining three will be raffled off for $10 per ticket by the float association.
Mike Hoyer, director for AYSO Area 1D that covers Westchester to Redondo Beach, told Nick Green of the Daily Breeze, “AYSO is integral to our community, the beach cities, so for us to be able to give back to the national organization to promote the national organization in the end helps us.”
Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto, also an AYSO volunteer, told the Daily Breeze, “I’m really pleased they’ve taken this challenge and I’m really pleased they’ve done so well so quickly. It’s going to be beneficial for both organizations, AYSO and the city of Torrance.”
The benefits come through the strengths of each organization. The City of Torrance has a long history with the Tournament of Roses, the Torrance Rose Float Association can muster an army of volunteers to decorate the float, and the AYSO knows how to raise funds. The name of the float, “Torrance, birthplace of AYSO,” underscores the relationship.
Torrance and AYSO will work together again on the weeklong annual National Games, June 29 through July 7, 2014. With 500 soccer teams and 15,000 to 20,000 players, parents and volunteers, the event should be a boost to the local economy.
This is the second Rose Parade float for AYSO. The first was a partnership with Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West in 1979 in celebration of the 15th anniversary of AYSO, and the second Torrance float paid for by an outside group. The 2013 float was funded by local aerospace company Ace Clearwater.
“It kind of captured the imagination of people across the country,” said Lynn Berling-Manual, AYSO’s chief marketing officer said. “It is amazing, the power of the Rose Parade.”
Individuals wanting to donate to the float can send a check to AYSO Rose Float, 19750 S. Vermont Ave. Suite 200, Torrance, CA 90502 or donate online at http://www.razoo.com/story/Help-Ayso-Get-A-Rose-Float.
The theme of the 125th Rose Parade and 100th Rose Bowl Game is “Dreams Come True” The Tournament of Roses is a celebration that lasts several weeks in the fall and winter, with the high points being the Rose Parade presented by Honda and the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. Keep following your Tournament of Roses Examiner for the latest news and for upcoming announcements.
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