Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Top 10...Ways to save Major League Soccer (MLS)

So a few weeks ago, I was called upon to come up with ideas to save Major League Soccer. Why not take my ideas and post them. Please note that 90% of these ideas are unrealistic and downright dumb.

1) Reality Tv Show- Soccer players vie for an MLS contract. Series of skill tests. Bring on MLS stars to teach the players.

2) Market individual platers-Except for David Beckham, no one really knows any other players. Young stars like Jozy Altidore and Taylor Twellman aren't known outside of the hardcore fan

3) Have an MLS team face a Premier League team- It can be a three-game series or just one game. But putting MLS against Man U, Arsenal, etc. would bring some credibility

4) Bring known players into MLS- Theirry Henry, Zidane, Ronaldinho, C. Ronaldo, Droga, Adebayor are all big stars around the world. The first four are very marketable. Billboards, player interviews, etc. To follow along with this, utilize blogs, television, radio as ways of getting their name out. If Beckham can double his team's ticket revenue from one year, imagine what bringing more players in can do.

5) Bring a European team into the MLS- Most likely make it an expansion team, but imagine having a small team from England competing in the MLS? It would definitely bring International exposure and bring more of an "Us against them" mentality.

6) Have a community-owned team- Currently on the Internet, a community of people literally donated money to a website and bought a team. The website votes on lineups, transactions, etc. http://www.myfootballclub.co.uk/. Even if a community can't own a team, I think having the fans vote for lineups and decisions would bring much more involvement.

7) Make soccer a one-day event- They spread the games out way too much. If you want to do a gimmicky thing and have a Thursday night special every few weeks, fine. But people are confused with when games are.

8) Make games cheaper- There's plenty of empty seats in stadiums. Figure out what seats are consistently empty and slash those ticket prices. I'd rather 0 people sit in the upper deck at $30 a seat than 10 people sit in the Upper Deck at $10 a seat.

9) Talk to players before games- Pick two players a game and have them sign autographs in the parking lot or by the stadium for a 1/2 hour before games. How many times can a sport say they do that?

10) Mic up the players/coaches/referee- AFL(Arena Football) does this and it helped them immensely. Have the viewer feel like he is in the game.


Turd Burglar said...

Last year, I interned with 3601 Creative Group. They are the internal marketing firm for the Philadelphia 76ers, Flyers, Soul, Kixx, Phantoms, Wings, and every even that took place in the Wachovia Center and Spectrum.

The most important thing I learned from interning there was that the biggest source of revenue that the 76ers and Flyers had was the fan that already owned Season Tickets. The theory here is that they are already die hard fans that are going to come to most games, buy the most merchandise/food/beer etc. So the most money spent within the company in terms of marketing was pamphlets and items sent to the houses of season ticket holders to get them to renew and upgrade their season ticket packages. For the season tickets not sold, they would try to get the season ticket holders to encourage their friends and family. This can be done for MLS too. Xavier has told me that MLS actually sells a decent amount of season tickets, and with the recent influx of proposed MLS only stadiums, this is an extremely big source of revenue that is not being taken advantage of by the MLS.

3601 creative group also focuses on the FAN EXPERIENCE a lot. This meaning Promo nights, giveaways, and contests during the games, and player events, signings, fairs during the off season. The Flyers have a huge carnival thing at the stadium every year that draws in a SHIT LOAD of money. MLS teams should be doing events like this. It creates more interest for the younger fan and the older fan alike. It gives parents something to do with their younger kids, and it also makes the players seem more human, as there are always players at these events interacting with fans. This connection with the players at a young age is important, because those fans grow up, and stay fans, buy season tickets and make $ for the teams.

MLS should also be doing stuff during the games in order to make the experience more enjoyable. Player giveaways to make them into names is huge. Stupid shit like bobbleheads were gigantic revenue generators for the 76ers and Flyers.

3601 also was in charge of creative the tag lines for the teams. For instance, I sat in on a creative meeting where the Flyers slogan was created. "Back with a Vengeance" was what we came up with. This was because the flyers were bad last year. It was only like the 4th time in team history that they finished under .500 for a season. Their catch phrase was meant to symbolize that fact that the bad year was a fluke. Since they are in the playoffs, their catch phrase has changed to "Vengeance Now" proving a point to their faithful fans. The NBA has the phrase "Where Amazing happens" that they are cleverly able to change in their ultra dramatic commercials. The Yankees have had some great ones, "looking back, looking forward" comes to mind. The fact is that the MLS needs a short witty catch phrase that will stick in the minds of would be fans and make them curious. Something like..."The world's game...in your own backyard." Thats kinda lame, but you know what I mean.

Peter said...

community-owned teams would never be allowed here in state-capialist america - it makes it more difficult to exploit the players and fans.

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