Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hop aboard

Chivas USA front office, take note:

The Kansas City Wizards, who like Chivas USA have also suffered terribly at the gate, announced a new program that seems like it could be successful.

From the press release:

The Kansas Wizards and First Student will partner on a program providing FREE “Legends Express” buses to Kansas City Wizards matches at CommunityAmerica Ballpark for groups of 50 or more. As part of the Wizards Soccer Shuttle program, groups will be picked up from anywhere inside the Kansas City metropolitan and surrounding areas, dropped off at CommunityAmerica Ballpark at the Legends in KCK and then returned to their initial location after the match.

“We are pleased to form a relationship with First Student and provide large groups the opportunity for free transportation to Wizards matches via the Legends Express,” Wizards Executive Vice President Greg Cotton said. “The Wizards Soccer Shuttle program will help us create a party atmosphere at the stadium that all fans of Kansas City's team enjoy.”...

Alcohol will be permitted, but not included, on the Legends Express vehicles for patrons 21 and older, excluding kegs. Tailgating at the stadium will also be available and encouraged in a special Legends-Express parking section. Participants in the Wizards Soccer Shuttle program will receive commemorative T-shirts as part of the package. Ticket prices for groups of 50+ start at $500 for berm seats.

Now, some observers feel that if Chivas USA played closer to the Coliseum that the club would draw more fans. I have my doubts about that, but if the team would provide a similar busing program it could have some success, if anything to avoid paying the $15 for parking, or whatever the cost is.

Maybe, though, it's not so easy for Chivas USA to get things like this through since they don't actually own their stadium, and maybe there are hurdles that they can't get past. But if they have the option to provide free busing, it could boost attendance.

As far as Kansas City fans go, will this program succeed? Fifty people seems like a rather large contingent to get together. Will this translate into solid attendance figures?


Anonymous said...

Let's be honest, it doesn't matter what Chivas USA does, they won't draw at the gate. After the season they just put together and the type of soccer they played, they should have people showing up.

The only problem is the huge identity crisis the team has. The sooner they rebrand the better.

And the Coliseum is 12 miles from the Home Depot Center. Give me a break. I drive 60 miles one way to watch the Galaxy play.

L.B. said...

I drive 50 miles one way to see the Galaxy too. And Chivas. But I get paid to do so, so I guess that's a little different.

Like I said, I don't necessarily agree, just throwing out what some of the common arguments for lack of attendance are.

CACuzcatlan said...

L.B. and A.C., where do you think would be a good place around LA for Chivas to build their stadium? I've heard everything from Pomona to East LA to Santa Ana. What's your take on it?

The Hammer said...

Everybody except Antonio Cue (and a few of the club's few fans) have come to terms with the fact that Chivas = not welcome to a lot of people. You should hear the way Cue talks about this project though, he still thinks the problem is that people aren't aware of Chivas USA. I don't think it's a matter of awareness. Remember that LA Times Poll? If you could kick an LA team out of town and have them never return which team would it be? A: Chivas USA.

Lets face it Luis, if Chivas USA hadn't come in with a "you gringos don't know how to play futbol" attitude, and had adopted a more representative name/image that ALL Angelinos could relate to [heck, it'd be nice if they'd picked a name/image all latinos could relate to] then the team would be pulling in huge crowds by now. At least big enough to worry the Galaxy.

Lets face it, there are a lot of "Beckham-haters" in LA looking for a team. They find Chivas and say "meh, not that team, I'll wake up to watch Everton vs. Derby instead." You give them a 4th year team that came in 2nd league wide, beat Galaxy 3-0 in back-to-back games, and you'll have yourself some support.

I have $20 says they'd rather bring in Adolfo "Bofo" Bautista and mess with the team's chemistry. How many coaches has Bautista fought with? That should be fun to watch. Preki vs. Bofo.

L.B. said...

You're right, Hammer. I agree 100 percent with you. The ball was dropped before this club ever played a game.

As far as a stadium goes, I'd love for a stadium in Pomona since that would be closer to me! I don't know about Santa Ana. I don't think that would work. East LA might be the best option of those three though.

But I don't know if a new stadium is the answer. Might just be a waste of money.

just another one of you said...

Didn't they hire someone mid-season last year to handle this issue? Perhaps an interview with what he's doing would be informative? Just suggesting.

Perhaps b/c i work in marketing that I am more aware of this, but most seats aren't sold through winngin records they are sold through direct marketing efforts. Basically you need to target people and call them up. The winning record is just a facilitator to that conversation, a big one by the way, but it just creates awareness. People have too many options on where to spend their entertainment dollars to be expected to make the decision on their own. You need to persuade them directly. My guess is that that the guy they hired knows this and has upped the direct effort. I have no idea what their season ticket sales are looking like so I could be completely off base and he could be doing a shit job.

just another one of you said...

Oh and on another note about KCW, doesn't their stadium only have about 50-70 seats anyway? If a KCW home game is ever televised it's only going to hurt the league's reputation.

The Hammer said...

Isn't it going to be somehwere around 11k for the Wizards? I don't think that televising a game there will be bad. I'd just recommend that the cameras are pointed at the people [infield] instead of the empty outfield.

The small capacity isn't that bad, I keep thinking of Het Kasteel in Holland, home of Rotterdam Sparta. 11,500.

I'd say KC should really focus on loading the place with banners, flags, streamers off the roof, things of that nature.

just another one of you said...

Hammer, you're right. I was still assuming they'd stick with the 6K capacity that is used for basebal games. 12K isn't bad at all, especially in an intimate environment.

Why not put a Chivas stadium in Vernon?

Anonymous said...

Shawn Hunter was the guy who came in last year as GM and I think even part owner. Suuposedly he has a track record of "rebranding" teams in the NHL...

Chivas USA can direct market to whoever they want. When they start with a target market that is as drilled down as what Chivas USA represents, that's a hard sell from the start.

The hypocrosy of the name and entire concept of Chivas USA has been beaten up since the beginning, but come on, this has to be one of the worst market failures on a large scale since Coke tried it's original formula or whatever it was.

The Galaxy has sucked ass the past three seasons and yet people continue to show up. It's simple, they identify with the team. The Angels were horrible for most of the 90's, they start winning again and people show up.

I'd personally love for Chivas to rename and get a huge following. It'd make the rivalry so much better.

papa bear said...

their stadium should be in the GIANT plot of land that is right next to the redline station in NoHo where the Orangeline also feeds into it.
Hell, the Galaxy should give Chivas USA the HDC and move to that location. It's PRIME.
As far as Chivas USA's woes, I think Hammer hit most of them. The attitude problem was huge. It turned me off at first.
The on the field product is there in spades.IMO they played the most attractive football in the league (I'm not a supporter of their's, I support Chicago,but I do catch most of Chivas USA's games on TV when they are on)