Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fading fans

Part of Chivas USA CEO Shawn Hunter's job is to help attendance figures. Not sure if he'll be able to do anything this year about the situation. In fact, I don't think the club can do anything this year to boost attendance. Already, Chivas USA is one of the best teams in MLS and aren't drawing fans. You had somewhere around 19,000 announced fans and maybe 10,000 real ones show up for DC and New York.

Jaime Cardenas of the LA Times takes a look at the crowd problems the club is going through with some player reactions.

Hunter will be introduced today at 1 p.m. We'll see what he has to say about many things but I'm most anxious about hearing if he and owner Antonio Cue have any plans of relocating the club. It seems that Hunter's been given some part ownership of the club, so he'll be wielding quite a bit of power.

12 comments:

gly said...

Part ownership? We're doomed.

Anonymous said...

They're moving.

Goodbye, Chivas! We hardly got to know each other!

Matt L said...

Wasn't the original plan (back when it was founded) to locate the club in San Diego?

If relocation was an option, where would they go? SD? PHX? NYC? I don't think he'll give a straight answer to a relocation question.

Matt L

Anonymous said...

DP trade to New York has to go down as one of the worst trades in professional sports history. They should be in a position to make a move for a big Mexican star player but they screwed that up.

Craig said...

I'm secretly hoping that Chivas USA wins the MLS cup just to see what kind of celebration they'll have... A family BBQ? An in-store appearance at Pep-boys? A halftime celebration at a LA Riptides game?

Seriously, is there anything more embarassing the 2nd best team in the west having less fans than a AYSO game? So who's doing worse at promoting their teams, NY Red Bulls or Chivas USA?

Bob Ramsey said...

10,000? There had to be no more than 6,000 in the house the last couple of times.

I know this is a minority view among Galaxy fans, and an extreme minority view among LARS, of which I'm a part, but I'd like to see Chivas succeed here. I love the buzz in the house when there are away fans a the matches. Maybe this could happen with Chivas in San Diego, but I'd be happy to see it happen in the HDC.

The problem is that I don't think the core Chivas audience could ever support a US team.

Eddie said...

The problem with first appearances, is that you only get one chance. I'm with Bob I would love for this team to succeed for the good of the league and to have a healthy 'organic' rivalry ala San Jose Earthquakes, but as it is our

I grew up a Chivas fan, played in the Chivas youth academy, everyone in my family was a Chivas fan, so really I'm the ideal candidate fan for what they wanted.

I saw right through their BS/gimmick, as did every other real Chivas fan out in LA. This is exactly why our (G's) pep rally's and open practices draw more than their home games.

L.B. said...

Bob, you hit the nail on the head.

I use this example with people: my dad is a die-hard Chivas Guadalajara fan. He doesn't necessarily support them because they field Mexicans or whatever, he's just followed them since he was a child and they were winning trophy after trophy.

My dad could not care less about Chivas USA. He wouldn't follow them with the same passion as he does Chivas Guadalajara if Omar Bravo, Ramon Morales, Oswaldo Sanchez, you name it, played for Chivas USA.

Fans like him won't truly support Chivas USA because they play in MLS, and many Mexican soccer fans either loathe MLS or are, at best, indifferent about it.

Unfortunately, as Eddie points out, you only get one chance to make a first impression, and theirs was terrible on and off the field.

I think now you are seeing the damage control in the front office. We've seen a team now that is a legit title contender but the attendance is beyond lousy; if it were lousy, they wouldn't have sacked their GM and CEO. It's abysmal.

Hopefully this is a step in the right direction. Like Bob says, how great would it be to have a successful Chivas team and a successful Galaxy team in the same year? What if Thursday's game was for the top of the table? There would be a buzz surrounding that game like no other. Unfortunately, either Chivas or the Galaxy have been shitty during the clasico history and even then we've had some awesome games with great environment.

JT (Chicago) said...

LB. I'm like your dad - I was a Chivas fan from early on ('64) when they were at the tail end of their great years. It seemed everybody in our neighborhood in Chicago was a Chivas fan back then.

When the Chicago Sting came and went, I was a supporter. Now that we have the Fire here, I'm a supporter BUT I continue to be a Chivas fan.

I wish ChivasUSA well because they have a connection with the real Chivas but I could never back Chivas USA against the Fire.

I've never been to LA. I'm just curious about the Mexican American futbol fanbase in LA. Is it primarily Chivas fans or split evenly with america or split even more so with most of the Mexican clubs represented? Is that part of the problem?

L.B. said...

Well, they say there are more Chivas fans in LA than in Guadalajara because supposedly half of that city supports Atlas. Not sure if that's true or not, but there's probably some sort of truth in there.

Certainly LA is a huge Chivas market. The three most popular teams out here are the Dodgers, the Lakers and Chivas, not necessarily in that order.

Of course, that hasn't translated into strong support for Chivas USA and that's where Shawn Hunter comes in. He's got to figure out how to get some of those other fans out as well as fans in general, Chivas or otherwise.

America is also immensely popular out here, like you'd imagine. Cruz Azul is strong as well. Tigres and Monterrey don't draw well here but Pachuca does, at least they did during SuperLiga.

Morelia... meh. You'd think there'd be a massive following for Morelia because it's the capital of Michoacan but that's not the case. Hell, my dad's from Michoacan and he despises Morelia. He actually also used to root for a club called Oro back in the day. Not sure what happened to them.

JT (Chicago) said...

Sounds like the Mexican League market in LA is much the same as Chicago (although Morelia is pretty strong here and Pumas have a big presence too).

When Celtic played the Fire, I talked to an Irish friend about the chances of Celtic forming a relationship with the Fire (as Morelia has). He thought Irish Celtic fans wouldn't suddenly start supporting the Fire AND he thought that Rangers, Hearts, & Hibs supporters in Chicago would shun the Fire even more if there was a Celtic link.

I'm wondering if the Chivas link actually hurts ChivasUSA more than it helps (with Mexican League supporters).

Soledad said...

Chivas USA's link to Chivas Mexico certainly hurts them more than helps them. Hardcore Chivas Mexico fan won't care about Chivas USA (or MLS), Chivas Mexiso haters (me included) won't care about Chivas USA because of their connection to Chivas Mexico and because they also don't care about MLS.

I mean, up until I learned Morrissey and third world trash were on the Chivas USA bandwagon I eagerly awaited their destruction.