With all the excitement surrounding Spain's win in the Euro Cup, Americans are wondering about U.S. Soccer. In a society that is as fast moving as ours, is it possible for a low-scoring game to really gain a fan base like other professional sports? For those who see it as a possibility, what is being done to get everyone watching?
Major League Soccer has done a few things to move attendance in the right direction. David Beckham created quite a buzz by joining the MLS with the L.A. Galaxy. And his star power hasn't only gotten attention, but Beckham has brought his celeb friends (such as Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise, Kobe Bryant) along making it chic to be watching U.S. soccer. As attendance increases, so does sponsorship. Big names are more willing to sponsor a team when their are more people watching. By the same token, major sponsorship gives legitimacy to the sport making people more likely to watch a game.
But MLS hasn't done everything right. The biggest problem is that as of today, MLS is not a brand. Its an organization. While other major sports leagues are a brand with identifiable culture. As of right now, MLS has none of that. Their website, a hub for today's sports fans, has an odd URL--www.mlsnet.com. While a play on words (net=goal), it really just says that realtors (the owners of mls.com and mls.net) are beating out this sports league. Additionally, there is no real language of MLS. Brands need to take common terms and make them their own, which MLS does not do. MLS is a brand that needs to be seeping its way into everyones daily lives, and without any good catch phrases, its makes it much more difficult to do so.
Regardless of the downfalls, soccer is making its way into today's society. Now all we needs is a great campaign to make MLS a true American brand. By doing this we will be able to convince hardcore sports fans to jump on the soccer bandwagon. All they need to know is that soccer has all the excitement, suspense, rivalry, and (of course) beer consumption that other sports have. Its what advertising is for--creating a brand where one isn't fully there yet. Any ideas?