“A game is a game….”
Last Sunday, I was in attendance at the Chivas USA v. Chicago Fire game and I noticed a couple of things while walking around Stub Hub Center as the host side welcomed The Fire to open the season. I could write this post from the perspective of an upset MLS fan that can continue to beat the drum that Chivas USA is one of the few problems that plagues the league as we are trying to build the game here in the United States.
While there is some validity to that argument, while I was at the game, I saw something completely different.
There is no denying that Chivas has their issues, NO ONE can deny that, but as an eternal optimist in life, I actually think that Chivas USA aka the soon to be renamed and rebranded other MLS franchise in Southern California, presents one of the greatest opportunities in all of sports for both fans AND the organization itself.
* After writing this in one shot and then rereading it right now…. this gets really random, and kind of all over the place, but I think the point gets across….
In straight business terms, what are some of the things that you look for in a new start up? The basic premise, in most businesses, is that you find something in society, that no one is currently doing and do it OR a way of doing something better than the folks that are currently doing it.
Now, this can be an idea that is randomly pulled out of thin air in some fit of genius or simply looking at your surroundings and finding an opportunity to take advantage of. In this case, we have an opportunity that can be taken advantage of. There is no denying that being involved in soccer in America is an opportunity. We know that Chivas needs some help but there is a lot of potential in the franchise.
If I was looking, and a business man, I would seriously think of buying this franchise because of what it can and what it will be if my team came in and ran it well.
If I was looking, and not a media person, I would buy a season ticket in a heartbeat.
Look at the Chivas USA season tickets packages.
Not to get too business’y but there is this thing called a SWOT analysis that one looks at in any business project or new venture. You can look at it simply for what it is, or you can look verrrrry deeply into it.
A SWOT analysis, loosely defined would be Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. As I was walking around the grounds last weekend, my mind was buzzing through a SWOT analysis both as a fan and as a businessman.
Strengths are the characteristics of the business or project that give it an advantage over others – when I look at Chivas I think that there are OVERWHELMING strengths as both a organization and a fan. For one, its a Los Angeles franchise… and I may be somewhat biased, but there is sunshine and great weather 75% of the year. There is perfect weather probably 20% of that time. And when I say perfect, I mean perfect.
Summertime, which is most of the MLS season, is as good as it gets. The environment is ripe for a soccer side.
Southern Cali (and northern Mexico) is a soccer rich region. Youth leagues, adult leagues, organizations, professional teams, motivated residents all equate to a populous that is positive toward the game. The jury is split on the idea of trying to include Mexico into the ‘Los Angeles team supporters’ that Chivas tried to execute by aligning the LA squad with the Mexico squad, but after being at the Galaxy v. Club Tijuana game this week and seeing the 1000s of fans who drove up to support that club in the CCL game, one could argue that if its done correctly, getting that San Diego, Chula Vista and Tijuana crowd is a no brainer.
It will be a lot harder since the XOLOS are around, but you can see the opportunity there.
I could go on about more and more opportunities and strengths that I saw, and some of them are self explanatory in the images but I’ll just briefly go over them by saying this:
The beer is still cold, the food still tastes good, there are still beautiful women there (It IS SoCal) and the supporters are just as passionate if not more so in my opinion.
When you think about it, its always easy to support a champion. Supporting a team that isn’t winning or isn’t at the top of the standings is REAL support. I was talking with Beans at the aforementioned CCL match about fan support and things like that. I wondered if the players can really hear what is going on in sold out stadiums in the stands, and what he said was interesting to me.
He said that you can, without a doubt, hear what the crowds are saying. A lot of the times the songs that they hear and the chanting, are songs and chants that are sang every game, so you come to recognize them and its almost just white noise. But, on the flip side of that, when you hear someone say something to you, directly to you, you can definitely hear it. And it goes both ways – good or bad.
Players read the papers and the internet comments and tweets and things like that so being on the pitch and getting some encouragement or still seeing supporters come out means a lot.
As a fan hitching your wagon to the soon to be renamed and rebranded other team in Los Angeles, imagine what it will be like when the team is fresh and new.
Weaknesses are the characteristics that place the business or project at a disadvantage relative to others and I won’t go into them because there are numerous articles out there hammering home all of the weaknesses. But weaknesses are opportunities.
Opportunities are the elements that the project could exploit to its advantage. SoCal location. Great supporter potential. A tradition of soccer excellence (mostly from the Galaxy) but there are great colleges and great high school teams and great club teams to draw from. The tradition is rich!
You want to look for opportunities and inspiration from wherever and I would even argue that the biggest inspiration can come from another sport. Take Los Angeles basketball as the best example ever. Los Angeles is and will always be a Lakers town, but we’ve seen that with good management and player acquisition, more marketing dollars and improved performance, you will get fans.
You can get people to come out, they just need something to cheer for. And once the tide starts turning in Los Angeles, it rolls downhill. Less than 5 years ago, the Clippers were an absolute laughing stock of a franchise. Decades of incompetence were overcome in just three short years. It wasn’t a full rebrand, but it was just a focus on whats important, playing quality ball with quality talent and building on that.
Its not easy. But its been done.
As a fan, that makes me excited, to see what can happen. Now, for the ‘right now’ aspect of things, I think there is a reason to go to Chivas games. Point blank, its the best bang for your buck if you want to watch professional soccer in Southern California. The tickets are less expensive than Galaxy games. If you are a fan of the game, a game is a game.
I said it before and I’ll say it again… the beer at a Chivas game is just as cold and tastes just as good as it does at a Galaxy game. There are still smoke shows walking around the stadium. Its still beautiful southern california weather. Stub Hub Center is just as beautiful at a Chivas game as it is at a Galaxy.
There aren’t as many people there, so you will actually get great seats.
There aren’t as many people there so when its time to get a beer you won’t be in line for 20 minutes. When its time to drain and go get another beer, there aren’t as many people there so you can get in and out of the bathroom in no time!
The players play just as hard. The fans cheer just as loud. The games are just as fun. I don’t know if you watched it but the Chivas v. Chicago game was GREAT. Check out the highlights below. A late game winner for the home team. Dare I say that the crowd was electric. I challenge you to go to a Chivas game and not have a good time.
Speaking of that, the one thing I noticed about the schedule is that Chivas plays the majority of their home games on Saturdays and Sundays mid day or early afternoon. You want to talk about a reason to buy a season ticket, thats the one. You may not be familiar with SoCal traffic, but trying to get to a game that kicks off at 7.30 local time is the absolute worst idea in the history of ideas. Early afternoon is perfect.
It All Starts Here:
The supporters are everything.
I think the future for the soon to be renamed and rebranded other franchise in Los Angeles is bright. If I was looking, and not a media person, I would buy a season ticket in a heartbeat. Look at the Chivas USA season tickets packages. Seriously. Talk about family fun for a good price. Or this would be something cool for the dads out there that want to take their kids to pro sports but doesn’t want to break the bank. Or, its the regular boys outing that any wife would be ok with.
And when this team, becomes the Clippers of the MLS, you can say that you were in from the start.
Another thing, and this is important if you are a go to games type of person… when a team that is not good, becomes good, the list for getting tickets starts with the people who have bought tickets before. Take it from a guy who regularly attended Lakers games and Clippers games.
Come out to Chivas games, I’ll be there. Come say whats up and lets get a beer and watch some football.