While this post will be specific to the NYC market, supporters of all MLS clubs should take this into consideration no matter where they reside, it only makes sense to expand your supporter base by engaging the already established supporter groups of your market. If you are in LA, it is great to reach out to already established Central American supporters, if you are in Chicago than it would be either Eastern Europeans or Mexicans to reach out to, If you are Seattle then you don’t need to read this but please do!
NYC has been hailed as the great melting pot of the world, the most important market in the USA and perhaps undoubtedly the World as well. It is a rich mix of culture, taste, language and vision. For generations immigrants have been bringing their most prized possessions into America with them. If you were to move abroad what would you take with you? Family will and should be the automatic first choice, but after that it can be anything! It may be photographs, diaries, pets, who knows, but for some it is their everlasting love and passion of not just the beautiful game but also the colors that they bleed through and through.
14 years ago when MLS started much of those immigrants were engaged and looked forward to share their eternal passion with the rest of America every weekend when their local team took the field at Giants Stadium, the Rose Bowl, Soldier Field, etc. In the course of time they eventually fell off the boat and recently we have won some of them back, but that is a small percent that we have won back. In 1996 the then known Metrostars had an average attendance of 23,898 after inaugurating the season with 46,000 fans. Somewhere we lost that support and it probably most likely was the on-field product. But those are elements that are far out of our control, it does not matter how much we complain or stress our frustrations via board postings, tweeting, or blogging! What we do have control over however is team following, stadium atmosphere, and how much we will drink before the match!
In South America supporter clubs often travel within the continent to gain ideas and how to properly setup a successful supporter infrastructure. I can only imagine that the same happens in Europe. Most notably in South America is the amount of supporter clubs that ask for advice from the Boca Juniors supporters, if you are to observe the supporters of ANY South American club, they actually copied the model of both River Plate and Boca Juniors. I am not saying lets to the same thing but I am saying lets embrace new ideas that have not been pushed.
In our backyard we have the privilege of having supporter groups of Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Rangers, Celtic, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Boca Juniors, and the list goes on and on and on! The club has tried to reach out to these supporter groups to pretty much no success but, there is no reason why the NYRB supporter family cant reach to them successfully!
Lets ask them for advice and for help, lets be the ones that takes this proactive approach and not be reactive. I am all about the recent ESC drives and would encourage even more, but we also have to go out and reach to those who don’t come to us. If anything they will be appreciative of our gesture and because of that they might even join us at Red Bull Arena. It could be an informal round table discussion, it could be questions of how to enter the stadium with a bigger presence, new ideas on chants and props.. The possibilities are endless, the hardest part is actually getting it going.
I propose planning days in which we join the other supporter groups whether it be for a match they are going to watch or just for a great time to get drinks and get to know them better. Maybe we could even join the Boca supporters at their New York headquarters. Check out their support for their team here at a game last week .
Let me know if this is just a bunch of gibberish or something all of you are willing to embrace! If so, I encourage to start planning something now and would love to hear your ideas. Thanks for reading this post and hope to hear from you soon.