Major League Soccer in the US: a topic that’s been, at the very least, frustrating for the league, the players and, probably most of all, the marketers for years. Then along comes Beckham. Critics complain of his injuries, that he’s slowly fading in the sport, and that he’s only here because he saw his career in Europe in demise. But at the very least, he’s causing a stir, and it’s a stir that the MLS might find useful.
Yes, the MLS website has had huge spikes in traffic in the past few months as Beckham news was posted. But there needs to be consistency before that’s going to make a difference. You can’t rely on press releases to grab on-going attention.
However, I think hype can make a difference in this situation, if MLS seizes the opportunity. The thing is, there are a ton of casual US soccer fans who may actually make it to their first game simply to see Beckham play. Where the marketing tactics come into play is making that experience better than just a Beckham sighting. Make them feel what MLS is all about. When I go to a Red Sox game, I don’t even have to enter the stadium to feel like I’m somehow involved in an entire Sox experience that will leave me wanting more once I’ve left.
MLB is not MLS, I know. But there’s a lot to be learned (or mimicked) there. If Beckham can bring people to one game, MLS can make them leaving wanting to come back.