MLS in LA – Marvel Two-In-One
Posted on February 19, 2014 7:29 am
I can’t say enough good things about Alicia Ratterree at The Goat Parade this week, a site I thought would have as much impact on my life as GreatTajikShortstops.com. Or, for that matter, cdchivasusa.com. Reaction to the news that Chivas USA will change its name to Literally Anything Else FC has been uniformly positive.
Wait! It’s the Bringdown Signal!
Could it be? Yes! Soaring through the air…sideswiping the Bluebird of Happiness into the Powerlines of Despair…it’s CAPTAIN BRINGDOWN!
Okay, so, the Chivas USA business model – as near as anyone could tell – was marketing to Guadalajara fans in Los Angeles, on the theory that hitting 0.01% of that target would have sold out what used to be called the Home Depot Center forever. Unfortunately, the actual target for Chivas USA turned out to be:
(A) Southern California Chivas fans
(B) who were willing to watch MLS instead of Mexican teams or European teams on TV and
(C) who were willing to watch second/third/fourteenth-tier Mexican players or good American players.
That turned out to be a small number.
The secondary target was:
(D) who weren’t already Galaxy fans and
(E) who weren’t alienated by the Chivas name.
That number could fit in a booth at Fatburger.
The conventional wisdom seems to be that the Chivas name was the problem. But the original theory was that Chivas USA would not draw from the Galaxy fanbase, because the Chivas ethos precluded following the Galaxy. Say what you will about the tenets of Chivas de Guadalajara, at least it’s an ethos.
With Los Angeles FC, you have a Lakers-Clippers, Giants-Jets situation officially and for realsies. The Clippers and Jets exist because the local fan base for their sport can accommodate overspill from the more popular team. I am not convinced MLS is so established in the LA market that another MLS team wouldn’t end up cannibalizing the Galaxy. I don’t know what would be worse for the league – an LAFC which doesn’t do any better than CUSA, or one that does, but at the expense of LAG.
I’d seriously be interested to read how anyone, let alone someone with the track record of towering non-success as Jorge Vergara, would plan to market LAFC. Yes, the math says that D-E < D, but there’s nothing in the math that says breaking even < D. Certainly not if the Galaxy aren’t breaking even, and the party line claims they don’t.
Instead of changing the name and staying in Los Angeles, Chivas USA would probably be better off changing location and keeping the name. (They should really do both, of course.)
And staying within Los Angeles County doesn’t solve anything. USC’s practice stadium - assuming that ever happens, or that it’s a workable option - is right next to Carson for all intensive purposes (I know, I’m trying to be funny); NFL stadia plans are years away at best; and I’m not picturing Vergara spending the bucks to build Estadio Omnilife Norte anywhere, let alone in the tax-for-sports allergic communities of Los Angeles.
But leave it to Jorge Vergara to perform plastic surgery on a gunshot to the stomach. Of course, when the Big One hits, and millions of people are killed or maimed, it probably won’t matter so much.
Wow, thanks, Cap. Never a pleasure.
Wait…what’s THIS? It’s a SUPERHERO TEAM-UP! Ladies and gentlemen, CAPTAIN NO-FOLLOW-UP!
Hey, remember when Jorge Vergara was being sued in Mexico over his right to use the Chivas trademark? Well, that’s okay – apparently, neither does anyone else, at least according to Google. This was a five day wonder story, then fell off the face of the Earth. Chivas didn’t shut down, or anything. And the MLS take was that it didn’t affect America’s Sweethearts anyway.
Except, I can’t find that Chivas USA was registered as a trademark. As a disclaimer, I wasn’t able to find the Los Angeles FC mark on uspto.gov…or Toronto FC, or DC United. So take my research for what it’s worth. Maybe we can all sell generic DC United shirts and make a killing.
I did notice that Chivas de Guadalajara was registered…past tense. It’s a dead mark now. So apparently we can sell all the Chivas shirts we want.
It’s tough to believe that in four years there has been no news on this front, even on whether it had settled or not. So I’m asking you out there to enlighten me. If Vergara does not own the Chivas mark, then this answers many, many questions.
Except how he plans to sell tickets, of course. Millions of Bofo Bautista fans can’t be wrong.
EDIT – PLUS, LAFC and the Galaxy will have to compete with all the Arsenal fans who will support the LA Gunners *16 ton weight lands on head like in Monty Python*