Thursday, November 8, 2007

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

No, really... I can.

As a fan of the Mexican league, I knew 3 years ago that the concept of Chivas USA was, by name more suitable for your local AYSO leagues in latino areas. There, you'll find:

Cementeros USA [Cruz Azul], Monarcas USA [Morelia], Atlas USA [Atlas] and if we get fancy, we'll also find Juventus USA, Real Madrid USA, etc. etc. etc.

After 3 years of a steadily decreasing attendance, steadily increasing on-field product, and steadily increasing efforts to convince us otherwise by giving away free tickets match-day and offering tickets left and right at 25%, or 50% off, it's safe to say: "I was right."

That leaves us with a problem. Los Angeles is still the best market for soccer in America, and by far the only market that could support two teams. However, despite what MLS tells you, derby nights aside, there's only one team in L.A.

On the night of a derby, you may find a full house and the Chivas FO will have an oversized flag on hand, but on most night, Chivas USA's announced attendance of 13,000 really means that there are about 9,000 people in the stands. Let’s not even get into how many of those are there on a fully paid admission ticket.

With people like Landon Donovan, Alexi Lalas, David Beckham, and Cobi Jones, this city is oozing with your typical "haters." There are thousands of soccer fans in Los Angeles who would love to have any team that rivaled Galaxy... except for Chivas USA.

And while the on-field product continues to improve, you can't help but wonder what the stands would look like if rather than using the seal of the city of Guadalajara for a Los Angeles based team, they had used the seal of the City of Los Angeles and named the team something like City of Los Angeles F.C.

Maybe then they could attract more people of different backgrounds in Los Angeles, rather than the 10,000 [inflated attendance] that they average when they’re not playing teams that feature the likes of David Beckham, or Cuauhtemoc Blanco.

This season's success may have bought the team some time, but in order for this brand to be successful, it needs to appeal to all of the people of Los Angeles. CD Guadalajara supporters have their team already, and as Legion showed us in August, when there's a conflict of interest, the Chiva faithful would rather take a roadtrip north to San Jose to see the real team play in a meaningless friendly, than to watch their daughter team play in an official match. They won’t switch loyalties, and while some may back the sister team, I find it hard to believe that they'd be willing to buy full season tickets for a product they consider 'inferior.'

Vergara and Cue are sitting on a winnig loterry ticket by having taken hold of a Los Angeles based franchise early on, and are squandering it on a team with an AYSO image.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What about the announced 19K attendance for the Goats playoff game? I hear that the crowd did look bigger. Were the tix cheap or giveaways? Was playoff buzz a factor?

Good write-up. They are trying to be the anti-Galaxy of LA, which is fine, but they got to rebrand in order to reach the masses that are anti-Galaxy.