Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bad ideas for soccer promotions.

Last night the San Jose Earthquakes celebrated David Bingham’s 90-yard wonder goal against West Bromwich Albion with its daring season ticket holders.  About 250 lined up to try their hand, or foot, at replicating Bingham’s goal for which they would be rewarded with free season tickets for the 2012 season.

Efforts were as varied as the fans that kicked them: some focused on accuracy, kicking low with the hope of trundling it in to the net; others booted high arcing powerful punts, and even one who picked up the ball, ran to the opposite 18 yard box and still missed (“you can still play for the Galaxy” sang the Ultras).  Everyone left happy and smiling – even those that overreached their ability and ended up on their backsides - and all got the chance to shake the hand of the Wonder Goalie himself. 

The Quakes front office has worked hard to reward the endurance of the fans while we wait for the new stadium.  The stadium isn’t likely to be ready for a season or two, so I’m sure there will be other similar events in the coming seasons.  If they are as much as fun as last night then the fans will be happy, but here are some ideas for promotions that would surely be rejected early in the planning process.

Running of the bulls: Here’s an obvious Pamplona tie in for the New York home game.  The 1906 Ultras are spirited enough to participate, though they would insist on wearing blue scarves instead of red neckerchiefs. OSHA regulations would permit the Ultras to participate with the necessary paperwork, but the SPCA considers that running with the Ultras might be dangerous for the bulls. 

Vuvuzela night:  I met a season ticket holder who had his vuvuzela confiscated on his way into Buck Shaw stadium; we tried to appear sympathetic but were secretly relieved.  This promotion only works if it’s “brought to you by Tylenol” or comes with a set of noise canceling ear phones.

Ampaipitakwong spelling bee: There's a small window of opportunity for this one. Once Joel the super-mini-fan learns to read everyone else is toast. Right now, the Quakes littlest season ticket holder is really good with numbers, but once he’s mastered letters and spelling then it's all over for the rest of us.

Steven Lenhart Wig night: Big blond wigs would be uncomfortable on hot summer nights and the copious curls would restrict view of fans behind (and I know my own complexion looks washed out as a blond).  A springtime promotion would result in Hitchcock-like flocks of starlings that would swoop down on the fans in spring as the birds search for nesting material – the dry cleaning bills would be astronomical, but a good opportunity for a tie-in with a local laundry service. 

And bring up the rear (ahem): “These bleachers brought to you by Preparation H”. Just a pain in the Buck…