Unless you live under a rock, you know the New York Cosmos are returning to action on Saturday, August 3 when they host their longtime North American Soccer League rival Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium. And while my own tickets have been purchased, I remain interested to see the short term and long term result of the team’s huge marketing push.
I live on Long Island and commute via the Long Island Rail Road everyday to Manhattan. And if I didn’t know any better, the Cosmos are marketing at me directly. I don’t mean “me” in the general sense (i.e., thirtysomething males with a little disposable income who may or may not remember the original Cosmos), but “me” as in Jim Moeller. Every time I turn around, there is another advertisement in those famous green and yellow colors reminding me about August 3rd. There is digital signage all around Penn Station, there are out-of-home ads on the LIRR platforms, and there are tons and tons of online ads, just to name a few. The team also held an on-site activation at Penn Station this week, giving out decals and calendars.
Judging solely by these marketing elements, I figured there was no way that tickets were still available today. After all, Shuart Stadium holds only 13,000 people and the game is two weeks away. Surely 13,000 of my fellow Long Islanders were swayed by the fancy new digital signs in the Central Corridor. But alas, I was able to purchase 4 tickets today at only $35 each…at midfield in the 24th row. “Uh oh,” I thought, maybe Pele’s presence on August 3rd is not enough drive sales.
But the coming out party against the Strikers is really only the beginning. After August 3rd, when the club no longer has the lure of Pele (for what that’s worth) or the whole “we’re back” and “retro is cool” campaigns to fall back on, there will be many other questions that need answers.
- Will the team compete at a high level so to establish a returning fan base in the process, especially after choosing the NASL?
- Will the free shuttles, giveaways and in-game experience at an aging, former collegiate football stadium attract fans?
- Will the team be financially successful to justify a move to a higher-level league (and the $100M franchise fee)?
- Will the proposed Cosmos Stadium ever be built?
- Will the newest MLS expansion team, New York City FC, affect the club’s growth, or is the club focused more on Long Island’s rich soccer history?
Only time will tell. And I’ll be following closely.
Especially if they keep marketing to me.