Search for the Netherlands’ best mascot: “Empathy is important”
In the Netherlands you see mascots in various places. Think amusement parks, such as Pardoes van de Efteling and Rick de Kikker van Duinrell. But some sports clubs also have one, such as PSV’s Phoxy and Groningen’s basketball club Donar’s Thunder.
Choice of club
They appeared in the Dutch sports world in the 1990s, says Ruud van der Knaap, sports marketing specialist at Triple Double. “Many football clubs have one, but a club like NAC Breda consciously chooses not to have one. They find a useless mascot there; the fans create the atmosphere themselves,” he said. declared to EditieNL.
Sometimes mascots have a connection to the club’s past, he sees. “For example, you have Coentje in Feyenoord, which is named after Coen Moulijn. Or it’s an animal from the region.”
Mascots in the Netherlands are often aimed at children. “They are intended to draw children’s attention to the club in a positive way.”
In the United States, mascots have a broader function. “You see them much more often there. The sporting experience is also very different there. A lot of things are always happening around. On the screens and on the pitch, you can see artists performing at halftime , or when the game is coming. Not just the mascots, but also the cheerleaders. In Europe, we are a little more restrained.
To be a good mascot, it is important that you can interact well with your audience, explains Michel van ‘t Ende. He was the mascot of Walibi, the dolphinarium and television programs for many years. He now has his own entertainment company and trains mascots. “You need to be able to communicate non-verbally, because a mascot is not allowed to speak, so you need to paint the big picture.”
Empathy is also essential. “Certainly with children, because some of them find the mascots very exciting. Improvisation is also important. During a sports competition, you often joke with the public.”
However, spontaneity depends on the moment. “We also give shows ourselves, which are designed in advance. But afterwards, during the meet & greet, you have to be able to respond to the person in front of you. Then, for example, you can respond to shoes that hit from someone. “
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