The Rapids are expected to announce today a partnership with famed Arsenal of England, what type of partnership is the question? Will the Kroencke Sports Group actually buy a portion of Arsenal? The partnership should see the Rapids change their name to Arsenal Colorado or Colorado Arsenal and include potential friendly matches, coaching initiatives and development of players. All sounds good but for Arsenal this is all about exposure in America.
The Rapids will change the colors of their uniform as well to Maroon that Arsenal is associated with. Maroon is also the color of other sporting properties that Kroencke Sports the owners of the Rapids have include the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, lacrosse team the Mammoth plus and indoor football team the Crush. Both out-draw the Rapids and have 5 or 6 fewer home games.
It is a bit humbling to think that the world’s game is being outdrawn by a lacrosse team.
So what is happening locally for the Rapids? Not much it seems. I would love to hear more about advances being made locally penetrating the soccer market and putting more fans in seats.
It is no secret that Rapids vice president and managing director Jeff Plush has been pushing for this relationship with Arsenal.
Plush is a long-time fan of Arsenal who has come on to the scene after Kroencke Sports purchased the Rapids from AEG.
This worries me. Why, simply because I am concerned about where the local ties, relationships and connections that don’t exist in Colorado. The team is just not important in their market after 11 seasons . The situation is the same in New York, Kansas City and Columbus. More accountability has to be placed upon the leadership of these clubs if we ever want to enjoy the fruits of stronger MLS markets.
Back to the Rapids I mean Arsenal Colorado.
The team draws poorly and has limited marketing in the Colorado area.
Consider this quote from the Rapids website from Plush after the Rapids announced the signing of Panamanian striker Roberto Brown.
“Fernando’s experienced eye for scouting talent, along with strategic partnerships that we are building with selected teams around the world, have led us to be able to reach out to players like Brown,” said Colorado Rapids Managing Director Jeff Plush. “The more prominently we position our club on the world’s stage, the more we will be able to benefit from the relationships we build around the globe.”
Reach out to players like Roberto Brown? No offense to Brown who could do well in MLS but were not talking about Thierry Henry here. Roberto Brown was signed through Fernando Clavijo’s talents and awareness of Concacaf players, nothing more.
MEMO TO JEFF: Build RELATIONSHIPS locally, reach out to your community. Put fans in seats, market your team on a daily basis and get aggressive selling tickets. Don’t rely on a new stadium and an Arsenal relationship to be your savior. Your players want to play in front of fans and you have been given a golden opportunity with a new stadium to build and create RELATIONSHIPS. Stop, look, and listen. Leadership is about building relationship. That’s the only free advice I will give.
For now, no one on the world’s stage knows who the Colorado Rapids are. More importantly no one knows who the Colorado Rapids are in Colorado. Today’s announcement will gain exposure , it will get some run with U.S. investors in the EPL now but the focus and future of the Rapids must be built locally in Colorado first.
Rapids fan are you frustrated?