One of the long time debates within soccer circles in the US is the whole debate of marketing to hardcore soccer fans versus the soccer family demographic. Former Chicago Fire GM Peter Wilt touched on this issue in his recent Q&A on du Nord.
Throw into the mix the ongoing debate in Portland over the plan to spend boatloads of money to revamp PGE Stadium from a multi-use facility to a soccer stadium and then build a new home for the Beavers AA baseball team and it got me thinking about how best to put together a stadium for an MLS team.
I wonder if you take the overall design of Millerntor Stadion in Hamburg, throw in Sam's idea of endzone based suites, and separate the stands by demographics, if you might not have a lower cost option that also caters to both "soccer supporters" and "soccer families".
Have one side of the stadium built for supporters having minimalist bench seating with no backs to save on cost. I mean, since they'll likely be singing and standing for ninety minutes, it's not like seats in a supporter's area would be a value add. And make sure the stand has a big roof to channel the sound created by the fans towards the pitch and the opposite stands.
On the opposite side, have the regular seating, including the club seating that MLS teams want for added revenue, for the family atmosphere. And on this side you have the roof less for keeping sound in and more for the creature comfort of the club seat holders and the soccer families.
In one end zone you have Sam's suite/locker room/party deck idea. At the opposite end you can have another seating area (perhaps even an away supporters section.....) if you need the capacity or have an open ended party deck in that area as well.
I would suspect that building a more "barebones" facility with this type of layout could come in at a lot less than places like Red Bull Arena and The Home Depot Center in LA while also setting the club up to be able to market to both supporters and soccer families alike.
News & Notes:
- Devo's latest blog posting has the Rhinos that made the team of the week and Jeff's take on Melia vs Vallow.
- Speaking of Vallow, he is the tournament co-host of Soccer in the Sand on August 23rd at Ontario Beach Park.
- TFC has signed Ali Gerba, but they need to wait until the summer transfer window opens for him to play a match.
- Iranian players have been banned for life for wearing green wrist bands in protest of the election results.
- I wonder if the broadcast of the Portland-Seattle match will be blacked out for me?
- I hope this guy never refs a Rhinos match.
- I have to say, it took some guts for the FC Dallas coach and GM to do a town hall meeting with fans.
- Tim Howard was "drafted" by the Harlem Globetrotters. OK.....
- I'm surprised that it took Drew Carey this long to get a Sounders player on The Price is Right!
- Vancouver had to settle for a 2-2 draw in Cleveland. The City Stars are playing better. But, their attendance is at Miami FC levels......
- If you look at this list of the best MLS players sorted out by their college soccer teams, you will see a few Rochester ties with Yari Allnut, John Ball, and Dema Kovalenko all on their school's XI.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.