• Loading stock data...
Monday, June 17, 2024

NYCFC Finding New Fans Through Differentiated Events

Jun 12, 2019; Queens, NY, USA; New York City FC starting eleven pose for a photo before a game against North Carolina FC at Belson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
NYCFC

When New York City FC fans arrived at the adidas Fifth Avenue flagship store in Manhattan for a meet-the-team event, they might have expected the traditional approach that some of these events follow – players seated at a long table, where a fan can walk down the line and get an item signed and then walk away.

But as the more than 150 fans arrived, the scene was quite different. A quick look around the room and you might spot Alexandru Mitriță and Héber Araújo dos Santos playing foosball, while several players gathered around a television to watch NYCFC’s eMLS player Chris Holly take on any challenger in FIFA 19. On the other side of the room, some players ducked behind a DJ’s turntable, while others sampled food from celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson.

“Back in the day, an event like this might just be the players sitting there and you someone walk up and get an autograph, autograph, autograph and then leave,” said NYCFC CEO Brad Sims. “We want to take that to the next level.”

Events like this are at the core of NYCFC’s strategy to deepen its bond with the wide swath of people that make up its potential fan base across the tri-state area.

While the size of the market could be viewed as daunting, NYCFC is aiming to embrace it, designing a slate of fan-facing events that hit different age groups, genders, price points, and locations.

“This is such a broad marketplace, but we’re making a concerted effort to engage as many people as possible,” said Sims, who joined the club in December 2018 after most recently serving as the chief revenue officer of the Cleveland Cavaliers. “We also want to make sure we’re providing a differentiated experience for different groups, so there is a balance between creating events for the general marketplace and then for specific parts of our fanbase.”

READ MORE: USL Launching New Initiative That Celebrates Supporters

That means smaller events like this, which was open to anyone who had spent more than $75 on NYCFC merchandise at the adidas store in the days before the event. It also means things like the 24-hour pick-up game that NYCFC hosts in Rockefeller Center ahead of the start of the season. It also means sending a player to a youth soccer camp in Connecticut or having a player making an appearance at a sponsored event on Long Island.

“We’re trying to find the next evolution in regards to our activations as we try to find things that put us on the map,” Sims said. “Some of that will be geographical as we push into areas we hadn’t been before, while some of that will be making sure we’re connecting with all of our members, creating highly valuable touchpoints.”

Making sure that NYCFC is creating a buzz in its hometown is one of Sims’ most critical tasks.

While the club hasn’t struggled on the field after star striker David Villa departed in the offseason, its visibility in what already is a tough sports market has taken a slight hit. Across the country, the LA Galaxy – LAFC matchup was a headline event that seemingly drew attention across Los Angeles during MLS’s rivalry week. NYCFC’s match with New York Red Bulls, played during the same weekend, lacked that same gravitas despite both clubs playing well. Through its first 11 home matches, NYCFC is averaging 20,420 fans per game in 2019, down roughly 12% year-over-year. In its first season in MLS in 2015, NYCFC averaged 29,016 fans per game.

READ MORE: MLS Seeing Attendance Decline At 2019 Halfway Point

While the club continues to try to find a long-term stadium solution – it has played temporarily at Yankee Stadium, a non-ideal soccer environment that has certainly depressed attendance – events like the one it held at the adidas store hopefully will play a role in creating those diehard supporters that any MLS club needs to have success.

“For the fans that are investing their time and money into our club, we want to make sure we show how much we value them,” Sims said. “The more opportunities we have to engage with our fans, the better.”

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Major Selling Point for Cities Pushing New Stadium Projects: Big Events

Several jurisdictions have mentioned events such as the Super Bowl as part of the impetus to build or renovate stadiums.
MLS Cup Eastern Conference First Round-Game 2-Columbus Crew SC at Atlanta United FC

The Highest-Paid MLS Coaches

Phil Neville and Gerardo Martino are tied atop the list, each earning $1 per year.
MLS: US Open Cup Final-Houston Dynamo FC at Inter Miami CF

The Highest-Paid MLS Midfielders

Only the top four highest-paid midfielders earn over $2 million a year.

Foot Locker, Dick’s, and Adidas Fueling a Sporting Goods Comeback

Foot Locker posts improved results, joining similar reports made recently by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Adidas.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

How the US Open is Designed for Drama

0:00

Featured Today

Jan 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; General view of the NFL shield logo signage before the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.

Odds Stacked Against NFL in Multibillion-Dollar Sunday Ticket Trial

Why the class action trial does not look promising for the league.
Jan 7, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter (11) takes a three-point shot against the Golden State Warriors during the second half at Chase Center.
June 9, 2024

‘Bound to Happen’: The Age of the Sports Betting Scandal Has Arrived

A banishment, betting scheme, and guilty plea all in one scandal-filled span.
June 8, 2024

‘Experimental in Nature’: The Rapid, Confounding Rise of Streaming Bundles

Here’s why confusion continues to outweigh solutions in the streaming package boom.
June 2, 2024

The Nostalgia Market: Michael Jordan’s Memorabilia Remains Coveted, With Caveats

Due to scarcity, and sometimes, items’ undisclosed whereabouts, this world has limitations.

Everything You Need to Know About the Schism Rocking Competitive Eating

The business story about hot dogs that you never knew you needed.
May 21, 2024

Lawsuit: Florida Football Coaches Made False NIL Promises

The quarterback says UF backed out of a $13.85 million NIL agreement.
June 12, 2024

Fanatics Dives Into Ultra-Niche With G League Trading Cards

The company will take over the NBA license in 2025.
Sponsored

How HOKA is Reimagining the NIL Relationship

HOKA, the renowned athletic footwear and apparel brand, is betting on a new reality with NIL.
May 8, 2024

Candace Parker Joins Shaq, Iverson in Court-to-Sneaker Boardroom Pipeline

Parker was named president of Adidas women’s basketball Wednesday.
April 16, 2024

The WNBA Has Huge Ambitions as Caitlin Clark Finally Comes Aboard

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert is aware of the moment in front of the league.
March 11, 2024

WWE Borrows From UFC, Puts On-Mat Advertising in the Ring

The wrestling outfit is learning from its MMA counterpart’s playbook under the TKO Group.
Drew Brees smiling while wearing hat
December 2, 2022

Drew Brees, PointsBet Pull Off Elaborate Lightning Publicity Stunt

The video racked up over 2 million views in about 12 hours.