Thursday, March 09, 2006

Metrotards are dead, long live the Red Bullshits

As you soccer fans in the audience, which is to say three of you, are aware, Metrostars have been bought by the folks who make Red Bull energy drinks and have been rebranded as "Red Bull New York" or "New York Red Bulls" or both.

From a totally rational standpoint, this is A Good Thing for all the reasons Not Doug Logan points out. Plus, the fewer clubs Phil Anschutz owns and operates (he currently owns and operates DC United, LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes Houston 1836 Houston Dynamo and Chicago Fire), the better for each club, and a new investor gives confidence to sponsors and investors, current and potential. Uncle Phil's been invaluable for the sport's development and he could support half the league if he wanted to, but each club needs its own dedicated investor/operator. Red Bull gets us closer to 1 owner-1 team.

But of course, if sports were a rational pursuit, we wouldn't be so obsessed about it, would we? There's that whole corporate named team that suggests bush league (never mind that the New York Red Bulls have a sister club in Saltzburg). And this happened with little, if any, consultation with the supporters. In soccer, especially in a league that is still trying to build a base, communication with supporters is essential. Plus, 10 years of Metrostars tradition, however awful, is being discarded with a few clicks and drag-and-drops of the mouse to help a soft drink maker sell a few more cans. I imagine Michael K isn't the only fan who's not happy about it. Or other clubs' supporters for that matter. I can see this move alienating fans, though more likely, they'll get over it, if it means stability for top flight soccer in the most important market in the nation. And the last thing fans should worry about is being the object of mockery - they should be used to it by now. Soccer will always be ridiculed, but insults only hurt the ego, not the bottom line.

Still, there will always be something disconcerting about having to promote a brand of energy drinks in order to support the local club. Oh, and in case you care about that sort of thing, the color scheme will not do much for soccer's image in this country as teh ghey if the club website is any indication.


<< Home