by Scotty Smith
(photo credit: @Peter_Fleischer)
If an American soccer team holds a press conference and nobody comes, does it make a sound? At any rate, it’s not going to make any noise. In order for any team in any sport to be successful, there has to be buzz. Some of that buzz will be created by word of mouth, but is also important to have community leaders, youth soccer representatives, and local media members at the event as well. All of those groups were present on the day of the USL announcement.
Community leaders from many walks of life attended the event. This speaks to the connections that Peter Freund, Craig Unger, and the entire Redbirds organization have made in the city. The mayor (barely pictured here) spoke at the presser and seemed to be quite excited about the team. He tweeted about it later, which brings awareness to the general public (regardless of your political leanings).
There were also representatives from the youth soccer scene. Craig Unger’s daughters wore their Soccer Ole’ jerseys, and a few guys (likely coaches) were wearing Lobos jackets. With the thousands of kids playing youth soccer in the Memphis area, the team could literally grow a fan base. They must create a marketing plan to get Memphis-area youth soccer players down to Auto Zone Park on match days. If the team captures the imaginations of the youth soccer players, their families might be willing to consider season tickets (and that’s a really, really good thing).
It was incredibly refreshing to see so many members of the media present at the event. Social media will be an important tool in spreading the word, but the mainstream media still has significant reach. It was great to see Geoff Calkins and Jarvis Greer on the same row as Michael Phillips of Choose 901 and Holly Whitfield of the I LOVE MEMPHIS blog. The more this team can get the word out that they exist, the greater their chances of success will be. That row of cameras on the left of this photo proves that editors all of the city were sending their employees out to make sure there was media coverage. We can only hope that trend continues.
Last but certainly not least, the fans were packing it in at the event, creating a “standing-room only” environment. We’ll spend more time talking about that dynamic next week in part four of this series, but for now, suffice it to say that there was noise being made.
If you have not yet read about our other favorite photos, do it now!