Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Initial Enthusiasm Turning Into Season Tickets?

It's clear that the opening game of the Colorado Rapids' season could not really have got off to a much better start. And, in the Rapids organization's latest marketing ploy, the comments of some of the fans show this. Fans have been asked to email their impressions of the first game and they are all, of course, highly complementary. Admittedly, the organization is unlikely to highlight potentially negative impressions (i.e the quiet of the opening minutes of the game) but there are some interesting points in the published comments. One thing that stands out is the enthusiasm of some of the soccer virgins, people who had barely been to a game before. Some of them even bought season tickets on the spot. This is really good news though it of course remains to be seen just how many people would actually do this. It does show, however, that it is relatively easy to convert people to the joys of soccer. It is, after all, a simple game. You just have to put the ball in the back of the net or stop it from going in. I did like, also, the comment about the easy access to the players; the way they go to the Cantina afterwards to mingle with the fans. Or, in Bouna's case, sign autographs in the cold for adoring fans. No other professional sport in the US would allow such access and this is a fantastic USP for the game. It was also great to notice Terry Cooke's brother commenting but I bet he never used the phrase rear end in his original email. More likely to have been closer to something akin to Arsenal? I know he would never spell defense with an s.
On the subject of fans, spare a thought for the brave folks at Class VI who will now have to leave Denver at midnight on Friday night to get to Kansas in time for the revised kickoff time of 3pm. As they so eloquently put it on their website, it is good that the Kansas City Wizards organization helped out local sports fans by accommodating their basketball wishes but it is one giant middle finger to the Class VI boys. Good luck on the trip boys and girls. May your presence inspire the Rapids to a more than encouraging away win against Lopez and the rest.


Anonymous said...

If Class VI drives fast, they should be able to get some sleep and leave around 5 am and be there with no problems. Anyway, I agree that fans are waiting to show up if the Rapids can show some offensive improvement. There is a huge latent base of potential Rapids fans (in CO, and in the surrounding Rocky Mtn region), and to draw fans and attract a consistent base, they need to play attractive soccer. Look how the performance of the Rockies in the MLB playoffs cemented them as the favorite baseball team of the entire region, drawing fans from Kansas, Wyoming, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah. The Rapids have invested in a great stadium and dedicated facilities, which will hopefully contribute in changing the organization's culture toward higher expectations and better performance. They need to capitalize on their opportunity (and sparkling new stadium) and win some games, because in a competitive American sports market, people aren't satisfied with a hard-fought draw, especially the casual soccer fan. The Avalanche are hugely popular in Denver, and deservedly so because of the way the organization has performed since they arrived here from Quebec. The Avs have a reputation for success, and hopefully the Rapids will invest to achieve a similar outcome. I think it's great the Rapids players make themselves available to fans, and I'm optimistic about the long-term potential of the Rapids club.

johncos said...

It was sort of a "perfect storm" for the Rapids fans and Front Office. The weather was nice. The crowd was large. The football was fast. The goals were many & pretty. The names on the field were famous! I, for one, had a GREAT time! I've always really enjoyed "chatting" with people sitting near by when I go to any sporting event. But, for whatever reason, I enjoy Rapids games and Rapids FANS the most! When I meet a "true" fan it feels like an elite club that we get to share in. When I happen to sit next to a "newbie" they always seem eager in learning about our players, and delighted to find out that the action on the field is NOT random but full of strategy, finesse and spectacular athleticism. Last year, our first year as season ticket holders, my son and I started in section 131. As we became bigger and bigger fans we decided to join CVI and sit with them. We then moved down and sat in the corner with the C-Firm. What a great time! We met some great people, but when it came time to re-new the tickets we decided to go back to 131 because in 131 we get meet different people every game. We figured we could have more impact on the game and the other fans if we got up out of the corner. (And actually see the flow of the game as well.) I hope the play on the pitch stays exciting and the team keeps winning and fans keep coming. After so many "droughts" last year we deserve a few more "perfect storms"!