Running of the Bulls: R/GA to Boost Profile, Sates of Struggling Soccer Team Via Social and Geotargeting

By O'Leary, Noreen | ADWEEK, July 8, 2013 | Go to article overview

Running of the Bulls: R/GA to Boost Profile, Sates of Struggling Soccer Team Via Social and Geotargeting


O'Leary, Noreen, ADWEEK


When it comes to attracting the attention of sports fans, the New York Red Bulls play in the most competitive professional market in Major League Soccer. The Red Bulls are competing against more than 10 professional sports teams (Yankees, Mets, etc.,) for fans not just soccer teams. Adding to that challenge is next month's debut of the relaunched Cosmos, and in 2015, the New York City Football Club, a new team funded by the deep pockets of the U.K.'s Manchester City franchise and the New York Yankees.

If those new entrants underscore the belief of soccer's potential in America, the Red Bulls--who as the MetroStars was a founding member of the MLS--illustrates the difficulty in winning over adult fans of a sport better known on school fields. Earlier this year, the Red Bulls hired RIGA to boost recognition and ticket sales.

"Soccer is the third-most popular participation sport in America after basketball and baseball for kids," said Tony Effik, managing director of R/GA media and connections. "But there's a big difference between people who like soccer and people who go to games."

Last year, the Red Bulls advertised on soccer-specific sites. The team had a little outside media help but developed a strategy internally with a focus on existing fans.

But preaching to the converted would only sell so many tickets. The Red Bulls would have to raise its profile.

"We have conducted a recent trial and awareness study, and it confirmed that we have work to do," acknowledged Daniel Marrett, the team's director of marketing. …

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