Attendance Woes

Discussion in 'Fort Lauderdale Strikers' started by Strikermansteve, Apr 25, 2016.

  1. Strikermansteve

    Feb 10, 2012
    Club:
    Ft Lauderdale Strikers
    It's time to talk about the elephant in the room...is this team in trouble? Where are the other 3,000 people who regularly attended these games the last few years? What is the plan to grow the fanbase here? As a ticketholder for many years--going back to the 1970s, it is becoming a bit depressing bringing my kid to the game, with so few people in the stands.

    Jumbotron taken away, no program for the first game (I was told "it's digital"---whoop de freakin do...that's what I want to do, stare at my phone to look up a player....REALLY?!)...for the first time, I'm really worried about the viability of this franchise.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. FootySkeptic

    FootySkeptic Member

    Sep 24, 2015
    Club:
    Cardiff City FC
    I can't find it now, but Kartik optimistically alluded to some big announcement for FTL coming on April 30th on reddit somewhere. He also stated that moves & steps are being taken to address some key issues, whether or not it pans out is a different story though...

    I remember someone mentioning STH of FTL getting three tickets to give away and bring people to games in the past, I think that is a good idea. Additionally, someone in these forums had thrown an intriguing idea around: giving STH of Miami and FTL away game tickets to create an artificial rivalry of sorts. I thought that idea was a great idea and could possibly be extended to other FL teams as well, with SG's buses being organized to a from etc.

    Disclaimer: I myself have only vacationed to Florida plenty of times, my knowledge of the sports market there is truly limited to what I see on message boards. However, if I was a fan down there I would be truly concerned and make all the little efforts I could to help the situation out to keep my team there.
     
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  3. Antique

    Antique Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    the river of grass
    Club:
    Ft Lauderdale Strikers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    True, but, we've heard so many wonderful stories that we now listen skeptically. The key to all this is in July when Schlitterbahn is supposed to have finished their "due diligence" on the water park and a Lockhart rebuild/refreshing. An OK on that and we'll possibly have a much better building for folks to come to in a year or two. If there is no OK? Who knows?

    The Strikers stopped the giveaway of all free tickets because the folks in the FO felt it reduced the value of the season tickets and hurt the sales of game day ticket sales. Maybe. Maybe not. It certainly seems to have reduced the number of butts in seats. We will see what steps are taken to improve this. It is evident that there is much work to be done.

    Both the Strikers and the Rowdies help in arranging bus transportation to away games at the others venue. The Rowdies seem to travel better than we do. Miami FC did nothing for the opening game. I understand that the Strikers FO will help fans with a bus to FIU stadium in Miami when we play there. Jax is still being worked on. It is about 325 miles away and nearly a 5 hour trip by bus. We will see how this works out this year.

    Before the opening game against Miami FC, Strikers Managing Director Luis Cuccatti, the actual individual that runs the franchise, was on the ULTRAS ALIVE podcast on blogtalk radio. He mentioned that he was surprised that the folks from Miami FC were not doing all they could do to let everyone in M-D know about this game to help start a rivalry between the two teams. After he was finished someone from Miami FC called in. He called specifically to answer that question. His comments were that they were more interested in their home opener game vs Tampa Bay the following week and if you ask anyone in the world about Miami they'll know where it is, but if you ask them about Fort Lauderdale they'll not have a clue what you are talking about, etc, etc. The implication being that a game vs the Strikers in Fort Lauderdale is simply a minor incident while anything in Miami is of world wide importance.

    A remarkable attitude to take about minor league soccer in the USA.

    However, this should give you an idea how "THE" Miami FC feels about itself and it's place in NASL, if not overall. It also lets you know what all teams feel about free tickets to supports of the other teams that travel to watch their team play. They'll have to pay to see the game. Prices may be reduced a bit, but no freebies....;)
     
  4. AmericanMag

    AmericanMag Member

    Mar 23, 2011
    Club:
    Newcastle United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I had posted this in the Attendance Numbers thread but figured it would fit in here as well.

    Those FTL Strikers numbers are pathetic... but to be honest, I am not really surprised. I had been a season ticket holder since their "resurrection" and didn't buy this year due to the birth of my daughter but figured that I would go to quite a few games by buying individual tickets. The only game that I have made so far has been the home opener. Couldn't make the Jax game this weekend and won't be able to make the Rowdies on Saturday and for some reason I am not too bothered by it...

    They (the club) haven't done anything. Sure, they have upped the money on players salaries and they have had a pre-season abroad in China and played some big teams over the summer as well as open up some Strikers stores in the area but they really haven't done anything for either the returning fan or the casual person in the area that may not be a fan yet. The stadium has really had nothing done to it... I know that there are ownership issues that prevents major upgrades but that shouldn't stop them from doing little things that would help the game day experience. There has been absolutely nothing (from what I have seen) done on the marketing front to promote the team. On this front, they have actually gone backwards as there were billboards and signs on buses/bus stops last season but those are gone now. On the ticketing front, they have taken away the free tickets that came with season tickets (you used to get three give-aways with each season ticket bought) so bringing someone to the game becomes a cost. Sure, they now have it where kids under 12 are free to games... but I feel for those fans that bought a season ticket for their child and then were told afterwards that they get to go for free (I know of one person where this has happened). There are no fan events either... if you look at the Indy 11 ticket site, there is a promotion happening every single home game. Craft beer night, futbol and furball night, Oktoberfest, etc...

    One of the things that irks me is the website... The website for the Strikers is (IMHO) the worst in the league. All NASL teams must use the same designer/hosting company for their websites but the Strikers' page is lacking in any sort of design. Then the peripherals are also difficult and weak. Buying tickets for the other clubs seems to be rather easy while buying tickets online for Strikers requires going through futebolcard.comwhich is some Brazilian ticketmaster like company. The shop is no better... we have the fewest items available (the SF Deltas already appear to have more on offer) with less options i.e. the largest Strikers jersey you can get is an XL while you can get a 3XL Minnesota top (used Minnesota as they both are Inaria shirts).

    So all in all, as a non-season ticket holder... I am paying 25.00 to just walk into a run-down stadium to watch a club that is poorly ran both on the field and off. They are going to have to do something or this season may just be the beginning of the end, I fear.


    I have also been thinking about how very little they are doing in regards to promoting the upcoming game against the Rowdies... the F#*%!NG ROWDIES! Seriously, we have Miami and we have Jacksonville but the Rowdies are the derby with the history... the only thing I have seen is Kartik posting something on twitter about the history today.

    I am sad to say that this organization has totally left me underwhelmed.
     
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  5. The One X

    The One X Member+

    Sep 9, 2014
    Indiana
    Club:
    Indy Eleven
    To me no longer giving away free tickets to every single season ticket holder is not a bad thing. While it may hurt attendance now, in the long run it is the correct business decision. They should counter that with a more aggressive pricing plan and marketing. That seems to be where they may be failing right now.
     
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  6. AmericanMag

    AmericanMag Member

    Mar 23, 2011
    Club:
    Newcastle United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I agree with this. Free tickets for the first three years was a good idea and brought a lot of people to the games. So why haven't any of the people that went to that one game with a free ticket not come back since? If someone were to offer me a free ticket today (and I had never been before) I would go, look around the grounds, look at the play on the field and think to myself that this isn't a professional team/club and seriously consider coming back.

    I think about the beginning of the modern Strikers era... yeah, they had their issues then as well (Traffic FFS!) but at least there was the knowledge that it was just starting out and that things would get better. There was a camaraderie between fan and player (the Lockhart Leap, players hanging out with the fans after the games) that has been lost. But it was that sort of stuff that made up for the shortcomings. Now the shortcomings remain but the positives have all gone. Another reason (I think) among many that the attendance has been what it is lately...

    Hopefully this will all change this Saturday against Tampa or it will be embarrassing.
     
  7. FootySkeptic

    FootySkeptic Member

    Sep 24, 2015
    Club:
    Cardiff City FC
    After read through this thread I agree that free tickets do cheapen the product if dealt with the wrong way. Not giving out those tickets now in the short term will hurt their attendance but be good for the club in the long run if they can create a professional experience. However, professional teams in the top tiers of all sports do still have fan giveaways and local media create contests. If done in an exciting way with a creative marketing strategy it doesn't cheaper the product. I think the supporter group thing with away games to STH's might be the way to go about it now, because from what I'm reading here the professional experience is lacking at Lockhart. BTW why did they remove the jumbotron?

    In that thread there is another great idea that @panicfc talked about. He mentions tying in ST's to the academy/development membership fees as a way to get people in without cheapening the product. I know the Strikers U-23 team is new, and I don't know much about the way their development going lower under that but I think that's another thing they could look at.

    Basically they need to get good soccer people in their marketing arm and do more to have a strategy going forward. We all know this, the FO should know this, what is it that makes it seem like they don't care or are not adept at running a team?
     
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  8. AmericanMag

    AmericanMag Member

    Mar 23, 2011
    Club:
    Newcastle United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #8 AmericanMag, Apr 27, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
    Great thread! Should pass it on to those running the Strikers! Everything mentioned could help the current plight that the club are finding themselves in... Like I mentioned earlier... just have each night at the game some sort of night to draw other people in.

    I think what is happening in the FO is that they are looking at this as if they are in Brazil... provide soccer team, people will automatically come. But that just isn't the case. Having good soccer people in the marketing arm (I think) is a pretty tall order because I don't think there are that many good soccer people with the marketing nous...
     
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  9. Antique

    Antique Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    the river of grass
    Club:
    Ft Lauderdale Strikers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I 100% recommend that we all double click on "this thread" and get an education on how to get attendance up. Also, how not to run a team. How can we get out dear Brazilians to read it? With the academy, the link-up with Ft Lauderdale FC & the U23s they seem to be going in the proper direction. This may help them continue that trend...:)
     
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  10. AmericanMag

    AmericanMag Member

    Mar 23, 2011
    Club:
    Newcastle United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That's just one step...
     
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  11. Antique

    Antique Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    the river of grass
    Club:
    Ft Lauderdale Strikers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Luis Cuccatti will be on The Tailgate Show next Thursday at 7PM EDT to address this. Should be an interesting interview. I'll be in the kudio as soon as I get off of work and can drive there.
     
  12. Oakland_Soccer

    Sep 27, 2015
    Oaktown, Cali
    Club:
    San Francisco Seals
    I will respect FTL for actually posting real numbers. Today's 1,086 actually did seem like that, I thought actually there was a tad bit more, looked more like 1.5k-2k.

    Anywho, has any of the supporters groups volunteered to help with a grassroots campaign to help get the word out, or shit even sell tickets.
     
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  13. Antique

    Antique Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    the river of grass
    Club:
    Ft Lauderdale Strikers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Flight 19 has been involved for the last couple of years. They are supposed to have a ticket booth set up in the kudio. It has reached to point where they are telling the FO that they have to pitch in locally, too. BTW, there are not any other supporters groups.
     
  14. AmericanMag

    AmericanMag Member

    Mar 23, 2011
    Club:
    Newcastle United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    How do they have a ticket booth setup in the Kudio? From what it looks like, Flight 19 needs to work on growing their numbers as well. It appears that they have taken a hit from what I have seen which is a shame because it is a great group of people...
     
  15. Antique

    Antique Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    the river of grass
    Club:
    Ft Lauderdale Strikers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I have no idea how they will do it. I'll let you know Friday after I go there to see for myself Thursday night.

    BTW, Luis Cuccatti will not be on the podcast Thursday. Thomas Rongen will be there.
     
  16. AmericanMag

    AmericanMag Member

    Mar 23, 2011
    Club:
    Newcastle United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Shame about Cuccatti. I was really looking forward to hear what he had to say. Especially after the attendance at the Tampa game this weekend. That BOGO offer didn't work out so well.
     
  17. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No it isn't.

    To quote Ted Leonsis: "(The theory is) Get people into the building, give tickets away, let them sample and then they'll come back. And when they're in the building, they'll buy merchandise and the like. Just like AOL gave away discs. Then you soon come to realize that the exact opposite is true: when you give tickets away, you suck the value out of the currency for all of the ticket holders. Two, when you give someone a ticket, you forget that it's their time and their money that a fan is giving you. So there's no vested interest. So when you give a ticket away, less than 40 percent of the people that get a free ticket actually show, they actually walk through. And because they were given the ticket for free, when they come to the game, they don't spend any money here. (Giving tickets away is) the worst thing you can do. Suffer through it, build value, build a really good team, then people will create the demand for you."

    Giving away the only thing you have to sell is not a correct long-term business decision. No one has ever been able to survive long-term by giving away their product. Even if you give away more of it to people who have already bought it.

    The integrity of your product's price has to be maintained. Giving it away degrades that. There is no short-term-pain-for-long-term-gain scenario here. You don't train people to want to pay to come to games. You train people to want to come to games for free.

    NOT giving away tickets hurts attendance now and THAT'S a correct business decision (if you can survive it) for the longer term because you establish that your product has value.
     
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  18. The One X

    The One X Member+

    Sep 9, 2014
    Indiana
    Club:
    Indy Eleven
    Um....might want to read what I said again.
     
  19. Antique

    Antique Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    the river of grass
    Club:
    Ft Lauderdale Strikers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Saturday's game Strikers v Indy on 5/14/16 attendance = 1,048. I thought we had more than that. It was a couple hundred after the weather delay...:(
     
  20. bnyc

    bnyc Member

    Jan 20, 2015
    New York
    Club:
    New York Cosmos
    I have to admit that FtL's inability to improve their attendance throughout the spring season is a bad surprise. Is there any attempt by the FO to market and/or reach out to sell tickets? Antique? I don't believe Miami's existence has anything to do with this; this seems self inflicted.

    How can a organization put together a decent team and then do so little to support them?

    It's easy to lose money owning a soccer team but FtL losses have to be staggering. If they can't draw larger attendances what's next, selling PC?
     
  21. Prosoccercdn

    Prosoccercdn Member+

    Aug 6, 2011
    Club:
    FC Edmonton
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    With the owners worth hundreds of millions the losses are likely a drop in the bucket for them and Lockhart is apparently very cheap to rent.

    If the rumored move to the Broward stadium happens as some are expecting for the beginning of the fall season we may soon see how or if it makes any difference. Without serious marketing of the club though I wouldn't expect much of an increase in attendance. Its a shame as the club has built a stronger core with the u23 Strikers team, the new U19 team, and increased sponsorship $ but hasn't focused on increased marketing.
     
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  22. Prosoccercdn

    Prosoccercdn Member+

    Aug 6, 2011
    Club:
    FC Edmonton
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    Ft Lauderdale Strikers Spring Season Attendance
    (paid, no freebies/comps by & large as the club has discontinued these this year)

    2331
    1097
    1086
    1048
    1297

    Average of 1372 over the 5 home games.
     
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  23. Sam U El

    Sam U El Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 31, 2013
    Seoul Korea
    Club:
    New York Cosmos
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I simply want to echo Kenn... While it may suck in the short term and not make for nice visuals during a live telecast it does increase the value of the product. In a recent Inverted Triangle podcast Luis Cuccatti was very open and honest regarding attendance and the changes regarding ticket distribution. He said the 1000 or so fans showing up are paying customers now and they are buying merchandise. He actually said that the club is more profitable now than it was in past years. So take it for what it's worth but all of us who have followed the rise and fall and rise of soccer in America understand that if you are going to invest in this sport moreso than other sports in the present day you have got to be in it and committed for the long haul.
     
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  24. JDogindy

    JDogindy Member

    Nov 20, 2014
    Indianapolis
    Club:
    Indy Eleven
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    When you look at the attendance and compare it to last year's, there's a more than 70% drop (!) from overall figures.

    I'm still amazed how it happened, and I do not at all factor in Miami FC's existence being the issue.
     
  25. AmericanMag

    AmericanMag Member

    Mar 23, 2011
    Club:
    Newcastle United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I can't imagine it having anything to do with Miami... It is still total lack of any marketing from the FO
     
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