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NYCFC Pops Up in the Big Apple

The shop has been a hit with fans and on social media.

Photo via @NYCFC

Yesterday, New York City FC opened #NYCFCHouse, its first-ever pop-up retail shop and soccer experience space in the Meatpacking District.

The pop-up is a three-week activation celebrating the club and soccer community in New York. During the next three weeks, the club will host various fan engagement opportunities including “Chalk Talk” seminars with key members of the city’s soccer community, pick up games, and nighttime parties. Along with a large retail space, offering exclusive merchandise, the #NYCFCHouse will host players throughout the month, giving fans the unique opportunity to engage off the field.

Francisco Terreros, the Executive Vice President of SportBox Entertainment Group, sees the #NYCFCHouse as an initiative that is poised to be successful.

“NYCFC is taking a concept that works well in sports marketing and bringing it to the fans,” he said.

Photo via @NYCFC

The initiative sparked Terreros’ memory and reminded him of a similar experiential initiative run by the Columbus Crew several years ago.

“During my time at Columbus Crew SC, during the 2010 World Cup, we turned our party tent into World Cup Headquarters, giving fans a place to watch the World Cup games with fellow fans, eat, and shop,” he said.

The impact this experiential initiative had on the club’s fan engagement was striking and led to an increase in fan affinity and ticket sales.

NYCFC can only hope the #NYCFCHouse has a similar fan response – and in all likelihood it will. If the recent success of the American soccer industry is any indication, fans will come flocking.

The timing for the pop-up is perfect. Soccer in the U.S. is coming off a red-hot summer where the sport set attendance and viewership records across the country. If soccer teams, both domestic and international, have proven anything, it is that they are willing to innovate.

Particularly in the U.S., while trying to develop a fan base in the saturated sports marketplace, teams have had to think outside the box in order to not only stay relevant, but capitalize on the growing number of eyes that are watching the sport across the country.

In general, sports across the board are suffering from fans’ short attention spans and soccer, in particular, isn’t always top of mind for the average fan. Through this initiative, NYCFC is closing the gap between games and giving fans a one-stop shop for all things soccer in the city.

On top of the entertainment and experiential value this will give the club, it will also provide an excellent opportunity to engage with fans digitally. The pop-up is branded with its own hashtag, #NYCFCHouse, allowing it to easily be shared across social media channels and attract followers to the club handles.

In today’s world, sports teams aren’t just defined by their performance on the field. Their engagement with fans off the field is just as, if not more, important in building affinity and a solid community. The #NYCFCHouse is providing the club an opportunity to stay relevant for three weeks both on and off the field in the saturated New York market.

Terreros believes the club’s first-time initiative will pay off and that similar activations will follow.

“If teams in MLS can take these type of ideas to the fans, similar to what NYCFC is doing, the pop-up shop concept will continue to be a very effective marketing tool to attract the average soccer fan and convert them into MLS fan.”

Visit the #NYCFCHouse from August 31 to September 21 at 446 West 14th Street in the Meatpacking District, NYC. Follow on social media with #NYCFCHouse.

Front Office Sports is a leading multi-platform publication and industry resource that covers the intersection of business and sports.

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