MLS and Counter Culture

Discussion in 'MLS: General' started by jomario, May 28, 2009.

  1. jomario

    jomario New Member

    Mar 4, 2009
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    The MLS Rumors site (I know some of you all hate it, but bear with me)...has an interesting set of posts (here, here and here) on the influence of punk rock on fan culture in MLS. The blog pointed me to this interesting blog post by Brian Strauss about the German club St. Pauli in Bundesliga 2 and how they promote themselves as anti-establishment. Here is the money quote from his post:

    His prescription for MLS:

    What does the Big Soccer digerati think of this idea of presenting soccer as counter culture? Can MLS be the CBGB's of sport in North America? Can it be counter culture and kid friendly at the same time?
     
  2. Cade

    Cade Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    I'd say there is some truth to it based on myself along with my friends who follow MLS/Soccer - all of whom have piercings, tattoos, and would be considered "counter culture".

    Drinking, singing, the passion of supporter groups, build up of the game, not being a mainstream sport in the U.S.. Makes sense to me.
     
  3. savier

    savier Member

    Jul 10, 2004
    Portland
    Club:
    Portland Timbers
    i think it can and does work already in our country. i know the timbers are not mls yet, but it's those kind of ideas that we have been founded around since the beginning. sort of an alternative vibe, if you will.

    an example, earlier this season a ground hopper from holland, i believe, came to a timbers match. he had this to say:

    http://grondhopper.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html

    i think this is what works, and it shows in the better supported clubs throughout mls.
     
  4. Qrom

    Qrom Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    east bay
    no cause MLS wants to be like all the other sports in the U.S. They have no intrest in being different or unique. hence the anti pro/rel attitudes and anti single table ect ect. They want to be the NFL or MLB and americanize the sport.
     
  5. radmonkey

    radmonkey Member

    Oct 27, 2007
    This has nothing to do with supporter culture. Honestly.

    Anyway, how is this different than say Nascar.......I think those fans love beer, tattoos and long hair. Seriously, I'm playing devils advocate here.

    What separates us from them?
     
  6. Cade

    Cade Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    Lynard Skynard tattoo's vs Black flag tattoo's
     
  7. Carnell

    Carnell New Member

    May 20, 2009
    Club:
    Vancouver Whitecaps
    As someone who loves Punk Music, and someone who would like to consider himself part of the counter culture i dont see MLS ever being able to market themselves as part of the counter culture and become a mainstream N.A. Sport force.

    The Counter culture is too small! it prides itself on being small likeminded group and and not selling out. Sure the MLS could market itself as the counter culture league, but it better do it right as those of the counter culture consider themselves wise to marketing propagandha and any advertisment to tie the two that is less than thouroughly researched could spell the end of the endeavor, as anything that pertends to be counter culture is quickly pushed aways as not core and thus not cool. Such an attempt could not only alienate children and families but also the "counter culture".

    Furthermore if the MLS successfully was able to market itself to the counter culture the fan base would never be large enough to rival any other pro league in N.A. because as soon as anything within the Counter Culture becomes to mainstream it is kicked out.
     
  8. radmonkey

    radmonkey Member

    Oct 27, 2007
    Yeah, MLS can't be the driving force. But it can definitely encourage supporter culture and incubate it. Instead of seemingly fighting it tooth and nail in several markets and ummmmmmm.......placing stadiums in suburbia. I realize not all teams have a choice with the latter, but it's something to think about.
     
  9. Carnell

    Carnell New Member

    May 20, 2009
    Club:
    Vancouver Whitecaps
    honestly i would love the league to go "counter culture" (i think the word we're looking for is Hard Core), it would fit me perfectly, but i dont think that is thier vision.
     
  10. savier

    savier Member

    Jul 10, 2004
    Portland
    Club:
    Portland Timbers
    i think the main point that is being missed here is that you don't need the league's permission to make the league, or more specifically your club, counter culture. this is a fan movement, not an executive decision.
     
  11. radmonkey

    radmonkey Member

    Oct 27, 2007
    Yes, but realistically supporters don't exist in a vacuum and a lot of energy can be wasted fighting against clueless people putting up barriers.
     
  12. Cade

    Cade Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    City/stadium placement and ownership is pretty much what stands in the way, imo. Most would naturally be drawn to the SG culture once exposed or experienced properly. I imagine if Austin Aztex stick around for awhile - they have the possibility of having a counter culture type SG's like in Portland.
    Dallas is Dallas and we have HSG and inflatable bouncehouses for atmoshphere, and giving the location of the stadium being in suburbia hell - I can't ever imagine that type of support in Frisco. One untapped market I think tho is Univeristy of North Texas/City of Denton, which has (imo)a lot of alternative/counter culture students, but I've decided its just easier to pretend HSG managed FCD doesn't exist.
     
  13. bright

    bright Member

    Dec 28, 2000
    Central District
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That is your point, which I wholeheartedly agree with. The counter-culture vibe is totally a fan movement and should remain that way lest it be diluted by corporate marketing.

    It wasn't the point of the quote from that stupid web site, though, which was suggesting that MLS market the league in some "alternative" fashion. MLS would never be able to get away with marketing a punk rock or counter-culture vibe. In fact, I can't think of any group or person who successfully markets a punk rock or counter-culture vibe. As soon as the marketing is successful, you shoot the whole "counter-culture" vibe in the foot. It's a classic dilemma that all counter-cultures have had to deal with. Even a fan movement could potentially over-saturate the vibe and kill it.

    By the way, for those who remember, MLS attempted to market a skate-punk vibe when it was first launched. That is how we ended up with those ridiculous uniforms and names.
     
  14. IKickAndIm50

    IKickAndIm50 Member

    Apr 13, 2009
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    I think making MLS "counter culture" will scare away normal/lame people and hence inhibit fan attendance more than anything else.... teenagers and punk rockers arent known for big spending?
     
  15. Fort York Redcoat

    May 29, 2008
    Toronto
    I agree that this counter culture is already seen in the league and being fostered or unhindered by the teams in the league.

    If the league were to market counter culture the people already practicing it would think it lame.
     
  16. Ngadhnjyesi

    Ngadhnjyesi New Member

    Dec 14, 2007
    Brooklyn
    Nat'l Team:
    Albania
    Didn't CBGB close its doors a couple of years ago? I'm afraid MLS would suffer the same fate if it chose that route. Some of the earlier posters wrote about the economic risks of such a plan but I'd like to add one thing: The reason why FCSP is so successful at marketing itself as "counter-culture" is because it's one small club within a top-European league. This approach can work for one club within MLS, say Portland Timbers, but not the league as a whole.
     
  17. RaveGreen

    RaveGreen Member

    Apr 6, 2009
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    I read both the article on St Pauli and the ones on MLS Rumors and can say that the article about St Pauli was the only one to endorse the league making an actual marketing plan aimed at the punk subculture. The articles at MLS Rumors pointed out that there was no need for that and that what the author of the St Pauli article neglected to mention was that MLS supporters groups are already pretty punk rock on their own.

    And yeah I agree, the best thing the league could do to foster this is to ensure ALL their clubs have an easygoing and more liberal relationship with their supporters groups. There are practices that they don't necessarily have to endorse but they could look the other way while still having plausible deniability if something went wrong.
     
  18. RaveGreen

    RaveGreen Member

    Apr 6, 2009
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Not for lack of demand but because someone made the owners an offer they couldn't refuse in an insane commercial real estate market.

    If the Premier League wants to buy out MLS in 30 years for 2 billion dollars because it is so popular as the counter-culture sport what's wrong with that?


    Timbers, DC, both sort of have that approach already. Agreed it should not be a league down directive.
     
  19. G Enriquez

    G Enriquez Member+

    Apr 1, 2002
    Tampa
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The Bouncing Souls are an american punk rock band that do
    a version of Ole ole ole.
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KABUQxllGbk"]YouTube - Bouncing Souls - Ole[/ame]
     
  20. DixieDean

    DixieDean New Member

    Jun 4, 2004
    Nassau, Bahamas
    St. Pauli didn't market itself as counterculture. the atmosphere at their games is 100% fan created. not long ago they were just another struggling, poorly attended lower league german side. the punks from the neighborhood around their stadium decided to start going to matches. the large amounts of right wing supporters at other clubs help push them to be more active in fighting racism, homophobia and sexism.

    what happened there was completely organic.

    if any teams in mls try to market themselves as 'counter culture' it will fail.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-kl93Husv0"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-kl93Husv0[/ame]
     
  21. Haig

    Haig Member+

    May 14, 2000
    METROSTARS
    Club:
    --other--

    This is just the kind of clueless Big Soccer stuff that I love. And by "love" I mean "want to drown in a bathtub."

    MLS is a big giant corporate whore league. There's no more or less "authentic" team in this gross franchise system. And practically every team in MLS has supporters from different "counterculture" or whatever groups.

    I support my team and that's the end of it. It has nothing to do with being a aging punk or whatever. Even if we're talking about the supporters clubs, there are lots and lots of affinity groups that are DIY besides "counter culture" types. The ESC was basically founded by ARA/RASH folks but that doesn't mean the ESC (or any other supporters group) represents some counter culture.

    Maybe there's some slick marketing bullshit that a team could do to make its image look more edgy, putting out ads with that torn newsprint ransom letter font and showing the guy in the section with the mohawk or whatever.

    But this, like everything else, gets into a pissing contest about which branch of MLS LLC is more "punk" or "authentic" or whatever, which is about the least punk rock thing I've ever heard of. (No surprise that this horseshit can be traced back to MLS Rumors, the most poseur soccer website ever.)

    And anyone who tries to figure out how to "market" an MLS operation as some sort of pseudo-St. Pauli deserves all the mockery that they'll get. MLS teams : St Pauli :: crappy kidcore emo bands : Black Flag.
     
    1 person likes this.
  22. BBBulldog

    BBBulldog Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jun 25, 2004
    Dinamo Zagreb
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    Croatia
    how does DC have any approach, wtf are you talking about :D

    PS St Pauli is for commies :D
     
  23. Haig

    Haig Member+

    May 14, 2000
    METROSTARS
    Club:
    --other--
    I should point out that while I'm defending St Pauli's authenticity, I'm not even a fan of the team. Though I may be a commie :D

    Fans of the team may be authentic whatevers, but at the level of professional leagues, the teams themselves aren't. 99% of the weird notions of what teams are "leftist" or countercultural or whatever are based in nothing but masturbation on the part of that team's fans. There isn't a grassroots, "counterculture" team in MLS, and there are hardly any (at a professional club level) in the world. That isn't to say there aren't supporters groups that come out of countercultures, but the popular notions here of what teams are the cool "counter culture" teams don't hold water.
     
  24. song219

    song219 BigSoccer Supporter

    Apr 5, 2004
    La Norte
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    Vanuatu

    So Dougie Brimson has give up on his preditions of violent American firms criss-crossing the country & now sees soccer at the root of a new counter-culture. I guess the new book will be on sale soon. :D
     
  25. DavidP

    DavidP Member

    Mar 21, 1999
    Powder Springs, GA
    MLS tied to target the counter culture from the get-go. Thus, we suffered through "Wiz," "Burn," "Clash," "Crew," "Galaxy," "Revolution," et al, and the crazy looking uniforms. It was a deliberate attempt to attract the skater/grunger crowd, to be the "cool" sport. It didn't work; they didn't like soccer then, and still don't. Which would you rather have, 250 punks and skaters, and no team in a couple of years, or 20,000 fans of all shapes and sizes? Alienate the rest of the fans by appealing primarily to a subset, and you lose every time. Just look at Atlanta.
     

Share This Page