Not so fast Ricardo . . .
It seems I may have jumped the gun on Ricardo Clark’s impending transfer to Livorno. No Short Corners is reporting that he has the offer but it isn’t a done deal. If you haven’t my read my “Forza America” yet, please do so with this liberal dditions of “ifs” . . .
Supporter’s Club (Brought To You By Soccer Soap Box)
OK, I’m not about to be sponsoring any supporter’s clubs . . . but the idea promoted here that companies could be bypassing sports sponsorships to instead directly align to/sponsor major fan groups is very interesting. Those groups are influential and cut out the middle-men when wanting to directly reach your end customers. There are significant risks of course, since such fan groups will undoubtedly be interested in the funding and perks, but will have little tolerance of the rules that might be tied to them. Of course, no sport seems to have more vocal and organized fan groups than soccer. The article refers to one of the primary US National Team supporter groups the “American Outlaws” and their ever growing presence on the US Soccer scene.
Selling (MLS) Stuff
Sponsoring fan groups is all well and good . . . but I doubt the official soccer merchandising will ever slow. This New York Times blog (thanks to the very interesting FootieBusiness) talks about merchandising efforts by the league, including the mini-takeover of the “World’s Largest Toy Store” in NYC. A few notes of interest . . . the top three teams in terms of sponsorship Seattle Sounders, Los Angeles Galaxy, Toronto F.C. – Seattle and Toronto off of their amazing local fan support, and L.A. clearly because of Beckham. The Red Bulls are 6th in merchandising, but have generally been terrible on the field . . . a statement to the potential that remains out of reach in that market.
While MLS makes it clear that they have trouble accurately tracking player-specific merchandise, it comes as no surprise that David Beckham, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Landon Donovan, Freddie Ljungberg, and Juan Pablo Angel would lead the way. That most of them are “Designated Players” is not a coincidence . . . and makes the ideas recently posted over at the Daily Soccer Fix to increase the rule’s use all the more critical.