Your (Cosmos) Country Needs You: No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn

14591608_10154662362981091_740300998441328142_nWelcome to Your (Cosmos) Country Needs You, where we explore the marketing possibilities for the Boys in Green — er, the front office in green — in getting more butts in seats, more jerseys on backs, and spreading the gospel of the World Famous New York Cosmos.

With rumors of the club’s move to Brooklyn at a fever pitch in recent weeks, we can skip right to the fun part. Let’s suppose the final hurdles are cleared, and immediately following our final Fall Season game on October 29, the club calls a press conference to let the world (or at least, you know, the soccer world) know that the Cosmos will have a new address in the spring, and it WILL be MCU Park.

Cosmos at MCU Park in 2015 (Photo: NY Sports Day)

Cosmos at MCU Park in 2015 (Photo: NY Sports Day)

That gives the ‘Mos about five months to build awareness and ensure the move was a good idea. Ultimately, the  decision to move from Hofstra will almost certainly be made without much say-so from the marketing department, through a number of factors beyond their control. But it will be on them to make it awesome.

Hello Brooklyn, How You Doin’?

The Cosmos have to go big, early, to show the Brooklyn faithful that they’re not an option of last resort. And what better way than a big ass party? I would prescribe a daylong celebration featuring a coed 3v3 soccer tournament with multiple age divisions, a row of food trucks, local bands, and the latest offering from local Brooklyn breweries like Sixpoint, Other Half, Empire, and potential future beer partners Brooklyn Brewery or Coney Island Brewery.

Naturally, soccer tournament winners get season tickets, participants get single games. I’d show some love from the sponsors with drawings for air travel + away game tickets courtesy of Emirates, Under Armour soccer balls and gear, etc. Ideally, you’d want to host something like this the day before a Cosmos playoff game at MCU, but could use another popular spot like Brooklyn Bridge Park or McCarren Park as a fallback location.

A Hazy Shade of Winter

The move to Brooklyn changes the ground game entirely for the critical season ticket sales window starting in November. Current season ticket holders’ home addresses are already in the club’s email database, along with all the single game and mini-plan buyers that would most likely consider an upgrade. So I would push an email offer that handily supplies Google Maps routes to MCU from their home, both by car and public trans. Make it easy for them.

To expand beyond the current core, capturing a lot of email addresses will be critical over the next few months. So marketing really needs to be creative with organizations that may have like-minded fans, and either form partnerships with them or outright buy their lists.

The Cyclones are an obvious first step. All those bands from the aforementioned “big ass party?” They likely have smaller mailing lists, but at least they’re lists of locals that are open to the idea of going out. Everyone that’s taken the Brooklyn Brewery tour in recent years. Members of endemic Meetup groups like Brooklyn Pickup Soccer and First Touch FC. I would go after all of them with BOGO offers for the home opener and group discounts for season tickets.

Do you Wanna Dance?

A move gives the club a chance to reevaluate partner brands. Some of the current ones won’t make sense based on simple geography, like Peak Performance. Some won’t work based on logistics — MCU currently has nine pouring partners, none of which are Sam Adams. Others may just be a misfit with the refreshed value of the Cosmos brand that comes with a move to the five boroughs. I’m looking at you, toilet seat from the future. So the partnership sales group has just as many creative options as ticket sales. Off the top of my head:

  • Airbnb is the title sponsor for the wildly popular Brooklyn Half Marathon, and a partnership where their hosts in the city can purchase discounted single game tickets for their arriving guests would make a lot of sense. It’s a scaled down, and uniquely Brooklyn, version of the relationship hotel concierges in major cities have had with MLB, NFL, and NBA teams for decades.
  • Ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber are now on the table with a move to the five boroughs, and that seems (to me, at least) like a totally parallel experience to the existing Rally partnership. And they could kick off the new season with surprise pickups from Gio and some of the players.
  • A thoughtful approach to packaging a partnership with distinctly Brooklyn spots like Rough Trade or Brooklyn Roasting Company would go a long way in building Brooklyn street cred. I’d love a Cosmos travel mug packaged with a ticket to the 2017 home opener.

This is Family Business

While Brooklyn opens up tremendous opportunities among the young urbanites that are gentrifying the borough in the first place (you might even say “hipsters”), the Cosmos can’t forget where they came from either. Even as numbers dwindle at Hofstra, you can still count on a healthy percentage of parents with children in the stands. A family-friendly approach and close relationship with youth soccer is critical to any team in the States, and especially one that’s forced to compete with two MLS clubs in the vicinity.

Nothing flashy here, but the marketing group needs to perform fundamental community and public relations pushes like on-field children’s clinics, school and youth soccer practice visits from players and coaches, and consistent coverage from local broadcast and family-centric media outlets. Think NY1, Big Apple Parent and Time Out New York Kids.

Closing Time

These are a few thoughts around the adjacent, possible move to MCU. Love them, hate them, or have your own? Let us know in the comments. And hopefully we can all clink a (souvenir Jimmy Maurer) glass in Brooklyn in the spring.

 

30 thoughts on “Your (Cosmos) Country Needs You: No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn

  1. This is really make or break time for the Cosmos. Move to Brooklyn and the team has a chance. Stay on Long Island and it’s only a matter of time before they fold. This apathy from Long Island was always a concern for me and it, sadly, has come true.

  2. Yet, not one mention of the Russian population in the Coney Island area. Could possibly go out and sign a Russian player from the 2008 Euro team and market him to the Russians in the area. Arshavin and Pavlyuchenko could both be options that could be looked at. I think that would get the most people out from that niche. And who knows, we may end up chanting сделать мыло из исх (Make soap out of the ref. its an old USSR chant going back to the practice of making soap from stray dogs)

    • Really good point. The move to Brooklyn would open up some great options in niche marketing, and I honestly thought of what an activation might look like for the Brighton Beach area.

    • I went to all the games at MCU and I enjoyed the atmosphere but driving to the park was brutal. For some of us the solution could be using public transportation like the Rally bus with a pick-up point in Hempstead or near by. For families with children they could drive early and spend a few hours before game time and enjoy Coney Island where there is many things to do. see website: (https://www.timeout.com/newyork/art/ten-things-to-do-at-coney-island#) .

      • I drive from, Brooklyn to Hempstead. If I do it, you can do the reverse. Kevin makes it from South jersey to Hempstead. You Lon Islanders gotta toughen up.

  3. MCU is the clear winner of the options out there.

    With the NextField turf system to cover up the brown artificial turf the field will look great and MCU’s facilities are top notch. Major marketing push will fill the stands.

    • Another major marketing push will consist of broadcasting the cosmos games on radio on all boroughs . We need a radio sportscaster to do the play-by-play of the matches to provide a commentary and vividly describing the action on the field and give a detail information of the players, coaches and organization. In my opinion this will expose the team to broader audience and fans ,since many of them do not have One World Sports or only available in very expensive Cable TV packages. I remember years ago when there was no soccer on New York, I just listen the play by play of the New York Knicks by Marv Albert and his famous ! yesss and it is gooood! and I got hooked and I became a fanatic of the New York Knicks…I do remember the Red Bulls broadcast the home games by radio, however I do not know if they keep doing it. This new exposure of the team in the metropolitan are cannot fail…so Cosmos marketing group look into it and action! we need action to make this move a success! and by the way this is a good idea regardless of where our next temporary home is. I hope is MCU and on my part, like they say.. I have to toughen up and drive from West Islip.
      Hugo

  4. Man, remember the days when a fellow named Cosmos V used to post about soccer wars and how the NASL was gonna wipe out MLS & that Hofstra wouldn’t be big enough to hold the Cosmos? Instead the Cosmos & the NASL are barely hanging on. The league needs to reconsider its business plan & focus on being a solid, entertaining 2nd division. Weed out the weak sisters & move into markets where there’s no team. Maybe recruit some independent USL teams. I feel like the league is all over the place & no place at the same time, which is too bad because US Soccer needs an independent league for so many reasons.

    Whatever happened to Cosmos V anyway? Did someone finally get tired of him & beat him within an inch of his life?

  5. Long Island is the death bed of professional sports. MCU is the only realistic option outside of Citi Field. I dont care how much it is to rent the field, just like I dont care if MCU is a tad bit windy in November. C’mon Luis, if the Front Office wants perfect weather then they should move the club to San Diego, Oahu or the Azores. This is NYC, the home of Nas, Snomageddon, Billy Club Sandwich, Irate, Sworn Enemy, Biggie Smalls, MastaAce, NYHC, the Ramones, Nor’Easters, Blackouts, Dean Martin, summers days that are Hazy, Hot and Humid, Martin Scorsese, Capone n Noriega, Coastal Flooding Warnings, Sick of it All, John Leguizamo, MadBall, Ed Burns, Wintery Mix, Lucy Liu, the Beastie Boys, Howard Stern, Wind Chill Factor, Mark Jackson, AL ROKER, etc and NYC boasts 4 distinct seasons and its miserable here for 9 out of 12 months!! Until I hear that the Cosmos are playing in 718 I will be convinced that Stover is a RBNJ secret agent, saboteur and rogue ninja trained in the dark arts. #NassAuRevoir, #LongIslandDisasterContinues, #NightmareOnGeraldStreet

    • exactly. should have been in Bklyn since day one. Long Island is not the problem; the front office and their ineptitude is the problem.

  6. Mitchell Field could be ok for the final putting some nexxfield on the 10000 stadium complex, maybe borrowing him from Oklahoma City, I guess that for the final Mitchell Field or Wien Stadium could suit, about next year I’d say MCU Park or Wien Field which had about 17000 seats so Cosmos could buy 2/3 star players and fill the stands

    • If the occasional LI soccer fan does not come to Hofstra, what makes you think they are going to come to Mitchell field even with a Nexxfield turf? This apathy from Long Island is of concern. Cosmos must make the move to a urban area Like Brooklyn. MCU is the only solution for a temporary home and the success and future of our team.

  7. As the season ticket from the Jersey Shore, I hope this move to Brooklyn happens. I love the idea of a party. Fire the marketing dept head (who I met once and seemed to be out of his league immediately) and go big. Make everything as local as possible. Follow that party with something at a sports bar like we did at Buffalo Wild Wings for Raul. But this is all talk. Lets get the front office to see these ideas, To see that there are serious fans out there that are just desperate for something to hold our hat on that the Cosmos are going to be a real success. How do we let them know?

  8. Im not sure the move will happen. My opinion is that if Cosmos really want Brooklyn fans they should show they want to be part of the place. Ive watched the Islanders and Nets move spending millions on promotion with drastically opposite results. One embraced the borough one did not. If you really mean it you have to show it. If you want attention and appreciation from the locals you have to show you want to represent them. Theres no better way to show them then adding Brooklyn to the name and jersey. (Brooklyn NY Cosmos?). This shows you want to represent them. This would also differentiate them from the other 2 soccer teams & the other 8 “New York” professional sport teams in the area. The negatives are many old fans may be put off by the addition. Would they be so put off that they will become NYCFC or RedBull fans? I dont know. To sum it up Im not sure the promotions mentioned in this article would do as much as adding BK to the name of the team. The best would be to add Bk to the name then go on all the promotions. Might get more press too. This is just my opinion. What do you think?

    • It’s an interesting idea and you could certainly argue that at this point there are no sacred cows in building awareness for the team. But if I were calling the shots, changing the name would be where I drew the line. The hurricane logo and “New York Cosmos” name may be the most valuable assets the club has, with all the historical equity from Pelé and the global barnstorming tours of the 70’s and early 80’s. If you were to focus group it, I’m willing to bet the name would register globally among the likes of the Harlem Globetrotters, Yankees, Yomiuri Giants, Chicago Bulls, Man U… But I could be wrong. The NY (baseball) Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers threw in a substantial name change with their moves, and it seems like it worked out for them.

      Either way, there is a LOT learn from the Nets and Islanders moves — you could probably put together a Masters level sports marketing case study in Harvard Business Review just exploring the marketing before those teams took the court/ice. But I really don’t think the Islanders would have fared much better had they added ‘Brooklyn’ to the name. There were some fundamental misunderstandings about their fanbase, affinity for NHL hockey in the vicinity of the Barclays, even brass-tacks stuff like vendors and sight lines in the arena.

  9. Although I agree it is very important for the Cosmos to heavily promote themselves while they transition to Bklyn, I do not agree with a name change. Outside of that, your vision and ideas are spot on.

  10. Has any read Alecko Eskandarian’s tweets from last night? If not, here are a few gems.

    “If you can’t support the game in its purest form, then you don’t deserve Raúl. You don’t deserve a stadium. You don’t deserve investors.Raúl, one of the greatest players in soccer history, played w/ us in Long Island last year. Barely saw any local clubs come watch… how do you think the people who actually work at the club feel about it? The people who’s livelihood depends on it.”

    GET OUT OF LONG ISLAND BEFORE THE CLUB GOES UNDER.
    No more talk of cold wind blowing off the the Atlantic in November, please. Soccer is not polo, tennis or golf. The game is played in cold weather, just like it is played in warm weather, just like it is played in the rain, snow, wind etc.
    No more talk about traffic on the Belt pkwy either, please. No one is coming from Mineola. No one is coming from Patchogue, Hempstead or Massapequa. The Cosmos are dying in Long Island and if they decide to stay, then they deserve the funeral parlor atmosphere and they deserve the chapter 11 negotiations that will be in their future. The fabled Long Island soccer community? HAHAHAH what a joke.

    • I agree 100% with Alecko. Long island does not deserve the NY Cosmos, who are a terrific team and whose players and coaches give it all in the field. I always will support them wherever the new temporary and final stadium will be.

  11. True, LI doesn’t deserve the Cosmos…..and I hope even the new stadium won’t be in LI, if they are so dumb to refuse it….Brooklyn should be their new home even for future soccer specifi stadium, if people in LI support just baseball….well better going elsewhere, but I think even marketing office employees have their faults

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