Wednesday, August 8, 2007

It's changing, slowly

I mentioned to Grahame Jones that traveling support for MLS teams is slowly changing. Basically, the distances between teams are so considerable, that the support is very one-sided. It's lacking that fan oppositional energy that makes many matches abroad really riveting.

But as fans grow up with a team, (say, Kansas City), and then move on (perhaps to New York), they're more likely to remain loyal to whatever team they first supported and turn out to do so when that team visits.

For example, I have a group of friends here who are from Chicago, and they never miss a Cubs game when they're in town here in Los Angeles. They're not alone. Cubs fans practically make up half of the stadium for those games. Well, the other day, there was a new Chicago expat in the group, someone studying at USC for a grad degree. My friends were talking to him about adding him to the ticket count for the Cubs game.

"I don't know," he responded. "I'm short on cash right now, and I'd really rather save the money for when the Fire come to town."

He explained to the other Chicagoeans that the Fire was the team he'd followed for years, since they were formed.

"It was amazing," he declared. "First year in the league and they won the championship. I was so pumped."

By the time the meal was finished, he'd convinced half the group to join him at the Fire game, just in a show of Chicago solidarity.

It will take time, but that's part of the soccer diaspora. A Revs fan in Ohio. A Colorado fan in Chicago. Bit by bit, especially if they form groups to go to games together, away fans will make more of an impact on games.


Eric PZ said...

I had Galaxy season tickets before moving to the Chicago area (well, an hour away). I had to hustle to be able to get tickets to the Galaxy game here now that we've added someone who...well, maybe he'll be playing by then. I know of a couple other former season ticket holders in the region who'll be in Bridgeview for that game as well.

It would be nice if MLS would create some sort of membership plan so that fans who have moved can get tickets together directly through their team. Take a look at how the Aussie Rules teams do things...those teams are pretty spread out as well.

El G├╝ero said...

We're stuck with the only Crew fan in existence down here in Atlanta. Used to live in Ohio.