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Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by flippin269, Mar 2, 2018.
What thread am I in?
Is that not true everywhere? Is drive time sports radio in Seattle or Atlanta or choose your market talking MLS? I honestly don't know the answer to that question, I figured the dinosaurs would be pretty equally soccer-resistant everywhere.
Forget it Jake, it's Overtown
I don't know about those markets, but after listening to some of our local radio hosts talk soccer during the last world cup........dear God in Heaven, I don't ever want drive time sports radio talking soccer.
Seattle had the big advantage of losing the SuperSonics just before the Sounders moved to MLS. So there was big play from the local media at the beginning.
But then Seattle (and Portland and Vancouver) have always been soccer towns. It has always been treated like an important sport in general by the people in those communities. (I'm old enough to have been around during the NASL Sounders/Timbers/Whitecaps days).
The drive-time sports radio though? No. It's pretty much Seahawks every day all the time, with a bit of Mariners and UW sports thrown in. It will be interesting to see if they treat the coming NHL team any better.
What's happened in Seattle (and Portland) is the fans have made up the difference. There are excellent podcasts and fan websites (Sounder@Heart is spectacular and well read). Real soccer culture doesn't need local TV and radio to play ball or to draw 20,000 fans. The culture and the fans force the media to pay attention, not the other way around.
Spoiler alert: they will try, but they know nothing about hockey and that will be glaringly evident. See, eg:
But at the same time, getting dumb meatballs to care about it is how a sport starts to "matter". If it's only for the cool and knowledgeable it will be niche forever, and if it's niche forever neither MLS nor the USMNT will ever be powerful on the international stage.
If the crowd is big, one might save a couple of minute if they're coming from "downtown." The venues may feel closer when the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge is built.
That oddity of the design was in part because of not just keeping the ROW for PEPCO available under the stands, but deciding to reroute First St to pass through the site instead of simply keeping it closed.
Sure, but what do you do between the breaking the lease and "moving closer to the city"? Go on hiatus?
It's like the Underpants Gnomes. Step 2 is all ?????
Right now there really is only one place in Chicago to play - Bridgeview. Just like you shouldn't quit your job until you have another one lined up (if you want any leverage over salary or conditions), you shouldn't break your lease without having somewhere else to play.
I don't think that's right. Whether it makes any financial sense to play there I don't know, but surely Soldier Field is an option. The long strange trip to Naperville that you mentioned only happened because SF was being renovated. The Bears went all the way to Champaign during that period.
The White Sox stadium might also be an option, but somehow the Reinsdorfs have veto power over events scheduled at that publicly owned and financed facility (Illinois is a terrible place) so they would have to wet their beaks on that deal somehow. I assume that had a hand in Peter Wilt's NASL team concept falling apart.
If the USL Chicago stadium would be finished by that hypothetical time, that would be the main option. In fact, it has been argued that the USL stadium is the end game for MLS, in that it has been suggested that it is where MLS wants the Fire to be. I'm skeptical about that argument, but it's out there in the Twitterverse.
It's not my rumor, nor is it my town. I'm just reporting what is out there.
There's a better chance I start in goal for the Fire on Saturday than that stadium being built.
Amazon isn't coming, they wouldn't pick that site even if they did, and they wouldn't build a soccer stadium on a huge chunk of the land even if they did.
Amazon certainly isn't going there, that is true. Sterling Bay did purchase a USL expansion team that is slated to start during 2021, though. They could always back out, of course.
Quit jobs twice in the past 6 years without a new job lined up. Had three glorious months of freedom both times and ended up with better jobs with significantly better financial/health/retirement packages.
Gotta have some faith and confidence in yourself sometimes.
Yeah, +1 on this.
I agree with this to a point, but I'd counter that the experience of seeing a Sounders game in CenturyLink is probably quite a bit better than seeing Dallas in Frisco or Chicago in Bridgeview. That experience probably helped get you to care and to make that drive. You built that attachment to the team which then made the 3 hour drive in TX worth it, too. The experience in Providence Park certainly helped me care about the Timbers and Thorns.
[Full disclosure: I've attended SEAvPOR games at CenturlyLink. Big stadium, big crowd, plenty to do downtown for pregame/postgame. It feels big time and it's pretty damn fun. I haven't been to FCD or CHI games yet, but I can't imagine the total experience compares based on what I see and hear about them.]
Going back a few years I hadn't watch a MLS game since 1997 but watching videos of Portland fans on youtube I decided that one day I'd fly out to see them play Seattle. I had a few days vacation left so I thought I'd go for a long weekend in Seattle and Vancouver, as I'd never been there before. The day before I flew I looked at who Seattle was playing that weekend and it just happened to be Portland. 61,000 there, brilliant experience. Then an expansion club started playing a mile from my apartment.
I've been to Frisco twice now, and BBVA in Houston three times. BBVA is a bit more fun but what's really missing between those experiences and the Seattle-Portland-Orlando, etc., experience is the passion. Folks in Texas are out with their families to take in a ballgame - could just as easily be baseball. Both places have supporters groups that I admire, but they are such a small percentage of the crowd that it doesn't really carry into the sideline seats. People there are just watching and talking and maybe grabbing a hot dog or beer.
Frisco used to be a long way from any kind of food or entertainment, but there are now some bars just across the street and a fair number of locals gather there before games.
Houston is in a prime location and has some decent bar options and some solid tailgating and such, but I don't think they've done enough to create or support the culture as a club. There's not a huge game day experience difference between an Astros game and a Dynamo match in terms of inside or outside the stadium. I think the failure is to really identify what it is that makes their supporters different from someone who goes to a baseball game or an NBA or NFL game and then to raise that culture up.
One quick example: In Seattle when ECS started boom-boom-clap as the players took the field, there was always some music playing and such. The club quickly realized not to do that and the music stopped, save for one long, loud piercing note that almost serves as the invitation to start boom-boom-clap. It's a case of the supporters dictating the atmosphere, not the team-hired DJ. If I was working for FC Dallas or Houston I'd do everything I can to embrace the guys leading the music on their trumpets for example, putting them up on the screens and allowing that to dictate whether or not I'm doing other entertainment things like showing highlight videos or interviewing fans on the big screen or whatever. Going to a soccer game should be different than what you can find at any other entertainment option. You should go to those games because they aren't baseball or something else, but a completely unique experience that you really feel a part of.
Sorry long reply.
Going to my fifth Fire game in Chicago this June. (2004 at Soldier Field, 2010, 2013, 2016). I have a reasonable idea of the landscape. I think Hauptmann is a bigger issue than Bridgeview. Chicagoland is a very large place and the stadium can be filled to overflowing with merely a small subset of the population comprised of true believers. The Fire had built a sizeable cult-like base with a real club model, but Hauptmann corroded it over time.
The Fire's 'sizeable cult-like base' was never enough to fill the stadium, and it was never enough to get it close to overflowing on anything close to a consistent basis. From conversations with fellow Chicagoans, to comments on Twitter, reddit and (to a lesser extent given the specificity of the site) here, the stadium location is a huge problem, was before Hauptmann and will be after Hauptmann. That's not to say Hauptmann isn't a huge problem (a shitty team for a decade will absolutely have a negative impact on attendance but they'd also have most likely drawn better in a better location all else being equal), but the idea that the stadium would be selling out consistently with or overflowing or whatever is a pipedream. Sure, they can draw well in that location when winning or with a star player (depending on the definition of 'well' - they barely averaged 17k w/Blanco and McBride) but they're not ever likely to average 20k a season in that location, and I'd be pleasantly floored if they even got it to 19k.
For the purpose of this thread, it seems like Miami has a solid ownership group and isn't in danger of getting "Hauptmann'd"- even still, the league (and thankfully the owners) aren't going to just plop the team down in Ft. Lauderdale again or just find anyplace with enough land for a stadium and throw it there because they realize that a bad location is not better than none, thankfully for the fans in Miami.
I think you may have misread my post. I said "the stadium can be filled to overflowing with merely a small subset of the population comprised of true believers." (Emphasis added). That is a truism that can be evaluated simply by comparing the stadium capacity to the overall metro population. I also said the "Fire had built a sizeable cult-like base" before Hauptmann, which you don't deny. (Emphasis added). I did not say that the historical base was sufficient in itself to fill the stadium to overflowing on a consistent basis. Whether or not, as you assert, it is a "pipe dream" that the stadium could be filled on a consistent basis is hard to evaluate because, instead of building on the hard-core base of support, Hauptmann effectively dismantled it.
Since you give such primacy to Bridgeview's location, I'm interested to know what you think of the location of United Airlines Center, where the Blackhawks play. Strikes me, as an outsider, as a terrible location, although it is in the city itself. As I recall, years of neglect had dwindled the Hawks' fan base, but a perennial championship quality team revived its fortunes and filled the arena. You concede with regard to the Fire that "they can draw well in that location when winning or with a star player." How is that different than the Blackhawks?
A pure statistical analysis of metro size to stadium size doesn’t quite tell the whole story, given how location matters more to some markets than others. The densest amount of residents of the metro area is in the city, and the stadium is not, nor is it convenient to a good deal of them, so while your statement may be statistically correct (and I can’t argue it isn’t based on sheer numbers) it is missing some depth that affects the likelihood of even the small subset of people needed to get there actually getting there.
Not sure why you think the United Center is in a terrible location- it’s served by several bus routes, has decent rail access (it will be better when they add the Green Line station next year) and is right by two expressways for the suburbanites/drivers. There are parrelells between the Blackhawks and Fire (lack of marketing, losing teams, absentee ownership) and there are differences (number of games, branding and historical presence in Chicago being a few big ones)- the main one being that, while I said the Fire can draw well (17k a year) with a star player, they likely won’t sell out for entire seasons as the Blackhawks have been able to do, for many reasons, location definitely being one of them.
Honestly I can’t think of many reasons why a Fire or even soccer fan in the city wouldn’t immediately trade locations with the United Center if we lived in a universe where that was possible.
No question. The UC location is far from ideal. It's not even comparable to Toyota Park.
It's not about being downtown, its about being in an accessible place where the overall gameday experience can be satisfying.
Those two notions can overlap, and more often than not they do, but its not a ubiquitous answer in every market. A location like the one in Seattle is awesome, (maybe the perfect case) but the one in KC seems just fine.
It feels silly to live and die on how close sport teams are to the high rises and landmarks when a desired effect can take place a little out of the way in certain cases.
Just as well, sometimes civic and short term financial hurdles make decisions for a team with that regard and in that case you make do with what you have available. We really underestimate the position of privilege some of these new expansions most teams have vs the old guard.
Sure putting a stadium (and sometimes an entire soccer complex) miles away from the central part of the market looks bad NOW but I don't think LA, Dallas, Colorado or Chicago had much choice at the time. (unless somebody can tell me about other opprotunites around that time period)
hell, the Red Bulls look pretty vindicated by their choice given the struggles the blue guys are having finding a place to play in the city proper. Harrison ain't perfect, but all the city's perfect answers seem good and impossible to develop a sports stadium on and what's left isn't ideal anyway so...
Unfortunately, Chicago is a town dominated by meatball sports fans.
The Fire have three things against it: They have the worst stadium location in the city by a wide, wide, wiiiiiide margin. They are terribly run in every conceivable way (see: decision to have no local TV contract) from front office to field, and they are in a market that is basically dominated by the Bears, Cubs, and then the Bulls/Sox/Hawks get whatever scraps are left. The Fire aren't even off the radar here; the AHL team gets more discussion in the media.
I suspect if you asked a Trib of SunTimes sports editor why no
The team is not within the city limits....