Tonight I played in an after-work soccer league. The game itself isn’t much to talk about, especially my contributions – which are never much to speak of.
But as I tried to stay warm on the sideline during a cold (for June) driving rain, I had a very interesting conversation that made clear a problem that I always guessed the New England Revolution had, but never saw so obviously.
While chatting with a teammate I mentioned that I was hoping to see Brazilian club side Cruzeiro play the Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.
He nodded, knowingly. (Or so I thought.)
Ten seconds or so later, he said something like ”Wait, Cruzeiro, the Brazilian team?”
“Yes.” I replied.
“Really? Here?” He questioned.
“Yup. Against the Revs, at Gillette.” I reminded him.
“Wow. Cool.” He remarked.
And then we went back to watching our team run around, mostly out of position, in a losing effort.
Nothing remarkable, for sure.
But let’s be a little more specific about this situation.
The person I was speaking with? He was ON A soccer field. He was an immigrant from Costa Rica. He was asking me about who I supported in the World Cup. He loved soccer.
His younger brother was also on the team, potentially even a better player – or at least one with flashier ball skills. It was clear to me that these brothers are close and no doubt talk, watch and play soccer together. If one of them didn’t know about a game, neither of them did.
If these brothers aren’t a logical target market for the Revolution, it’s hard to figure out who is. Local. Latin. Soccer fans. Young and employed.
Their knowledge of the visit of a popular South American team’s visit to their local professional team… zero. Nada. Zilch. But I’m guessing this scene could have repeated itself with most Latin guys on most kick-around fields in New England.
It’s one thing for the Revolution’s local target market to know of games (both MLS and international) and not care. That’s not a good situation, but it’s one we can discuss in another post.
But for them not to know at all? That’s a problem.
I saw some flyers for this around Somerville, but I’m not in the target demographic (not Brazilian) so I don’t know if they did more…I suspect probably not. The team needs to market more to the people you’re talking about here, of course…but they need to market to everyone more. I watched US/England at a friend’s house with some guys (all young, white, college-educated males) who were really into foreign soccer and the World Cup. They were all US fans but had no knowledge of the Revs at all, even though they knew about MLS (we talked about Red Bull Arena and Nowak’s coaching style in Philly).
They are out of sight and out of mind to almost everyone except the already-dedicated fans…of which there are few.
Thanks for the comment.
Your example of soccer fans having that little info on the Revs is pretty depressing.
I don’t doubt that this is a tough marketing task, but something feels very broken right now.
The entire way the front office is structured is part of their problem. The team’s top dog, their COO, is a glorified retail guy. He’s also in charge of the Patriots Pro Shop and their Hall of Fame. If the boss isn’t even a full-timer, what does that say? This year’s attempts at marketing have been woefully inadequate. The team’s main marketing tool, their website (hyped to fans at the Supporter’s Summit) has yet to make its appearance. Their billboards, which went up and came down quick fast, had no contact information on them. The team primarily relies on Twitter and Facebook. Those are certainly tools to utilize, but not to rely almost solely on. Buses chartered for trips to home games by local bars have been cancelled for lack of interest (due to lack of promotion, if you ask me), alienating potential business partners.
Broken isn’t the word for the what’s wrong down at One Patriots Place.