Friday, March 7, 2008

This is the Galaxy

"Not Real Madrid"

Looks like another game that isn't going to sell out, but at least Becks wasn't really hurt by the knock he took in that last match.


The Hammer said...

Andrea, I'm curious. How many people do you think would have attended these pre-season friendlies in these countries had the team been... oh... lets say... Chivas USA?

Yes, Beckham was a big draw, and you've made it clear that his teams were a bigger draw. Even so, I think a lot of people have lost focus. You're talking about an MLS team drawing crowds bigger than the MLS average. Not to mention that these nations are notorious for their merchandise consumption.

As a business person, judging these tours would depend largely on what AEG's objectives are. We don't know what AEG + Adidas are doing out there in terms of long-term sales relationship building.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

"This is the Galaxy, not Real Madrid."

Funny how Lalas, Leiweke et al don't seem to believe that.

However, the hammer does have a point about the long-term economic implications. If the Galaxy is going to market itself as a "world brand," it's going to have to start slowly in some areas. Beckham would obviously be a far bigger draw in English-speaking countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand) than in Asia, despite his popularity there.

FC Uptown said...

Ahem....surely the crowds are low, but the jersey sales are certainly high. And the team is getting in shape. Is there a problem here?

A.C. said...

hammer has a good point. By MLS standards, this tour is wildly successful. It's important to note that perspective. The reason I linked to this article, though, was to show that others clearly don't have that perspective.

The Hammer said...

Well short story long, Galaxy has become the Club America of MLS. Either you love the team or you hate them, there's little room for middle ground... unless you're a journalist, in which case you can love them because by acting like you hate them, you "sell papers" (does anybody really sell papers anymore?)

The criticisms are going to come left and right, so Galaxy fans are going to have to start growing a second layer of skin in a hurry. If the team starts losing it'll be the "you're a joke, you care more about selling jerseys and posters, you're a group of retired name players with nothing left, etc. etc."

If the team starts winning, then we'll hear comments like "you pay off the referees, the league wanted you to win so the games were fixed, you 'buy' championships, that's the only way you could win, you bend the rules, you pay your players under the table" and so on.

That's where the alternative perspective comes from Andrea. I think this tour is good news for the league and definitely a solid starting point. If Galaxy develops good relationships with these teams, you could have the team heading out to the same location each year and starting to develop a solid overseas following with the local supporters of sides like Gamba Osaka, Sydney FC, and so on.

A.C. said...

I can't agree with the idea that journalists knock the Galaxy just for publicity. At least, I can say that's not what I'm trying to do. When I talk to the Galaxy players themselves, though (the few left that have history with the team), they're disappointed with the way things have gone for the squad recently and they understand the pressure to turn that around. It's possible to criticize the Galaxy without having a personal vendetta against the organization.

Let's look at it this way - the Galaxy won't become Real Madrid tomorrow, but can we assume that this tour would be selling better if they had become SuperLiga and MLS champions last year?

Of course, many media might bash Beckham's decision to play with the Galaxy regardless of results, but to put all journalism under that blanket takes away the distinction and perspective that you're actually asking others to give the Galaxy.

The Hammer said...

You're right. Let me revise my statement:

Unless you're of a certain kind of journalist*

You know that these journalists do exist. And while they may be 3 out of every 10 reporters, maybe even far less than that... squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Anonymous said...

Also, keep in mind that the majority of MLS teams are abroad in Brazil, England, Mexico playing games. The difference being Beckham and the Galaxy get the headlines in international and US papers and no one hears about the other teams. So props for LA Galaxy for generating positive publicity and successfully marketing their team.

L.B. said...

I've not gotten a chance to post today since i've been away from my computer all day.

Nothing against AC, but the one thing that irks me is when the Galaxy is judged "by MLS standards."

I mean, the Galaxy is the self-proclaimed Jewel of MLS, America's supposed Super Club, and now suddenly their being compared to a team that's been around three years?

Yeah, if Chivas USA or Real Salt Lake or most any other MLS club went to Korea and drew 30,000, that would be something. But the Galaxy is not supposed to be just another MLS club.

Hammer brought up the comparison to America and that has some truth to it. But I don't see America comparing themselves to Tecos or Veracruz in anything. America judges itself by their own standards, and anything short of their own standards is unacceptable regardless of what other teams do.

The Galaxy isn't just an MLS team anymore. They are Beckham's team. If they wanted to be judged against other MLS teams, they shouldn't have gotten Beckham.

A.C. said...

I guess what I don't like about the the point you bring up, Luis, is the implication that Beckham is bigger than the league itself. No matter how big or famous he is, the Galaxy is an MLS team. No amount of hyperbole by Lalas or anyone else can change that. They play league games and aspire to be league champions, just like America does in their league, Real Madrid does in theirs, etc. As far as being compared against other MLS teams, ultimately, that comparison is what the Galaxy will have to win to reach that title. I've always hated abstract comparisons - compare where it counts, on the field.