SBJ/July 2-8, 2012/Franchises

Uniform response: Galaxy, Adidas pleased with Facebook contest to design third kit

The winner has yet to be announced, but the Facebook contest in which soccer fans had the opportunity to design the Los Angeles Galaxy’s third kit has already been deemed a success by the MLS club and apparel partner Adidas.

Utilizing a Facebook application to design the team’s jersey, shorts, socks and jock tag, fans submitted 7,883 entries before the June 1 deadline in the monthlong campaign. As for the related website analytics: There were 17,055 unique visits to the contest’s uniform-design page, and the average user spent 8 minutes and 50 seconds during each visit, according to the club, far longer than Galaxy fans typically spend on team pages.

The Galaxy added more than 50,000 Facebook followers during the campaign.

“We weren’t sure what to expect when we got started,” said Casey Leppanen, Galaxy director of marketing and broadcasting, “but when you have so many people — and not just traditional soccer fans — this excited, and so many people involved in the brand, it has been a big hit for us.”

Five finalist designs were chosen by a committee composed of executives from Adidas and AEG Sports, the Galaxy’s owner. Representing AEG were Leppanen; team vice president and former player Chris Klein; and Andrea Bailey, the sponsorship executive with AEG Global Partnerships who came up with the idea for fans to design the third kit.

“It was the perfect way to engage and empower passionate fans,” said Adidas’ MLS manager Ernesto Bruce. “Working together, we were able to offer supporters the unique opportunity to drive the design process.”

Fans selected the winner, with more than 50,000 votes cast before voting ended on June 22. According to Leppanen, there was only a 4 percent difference between votes cast for the winning design and second place.

The winner will be announced at the Galaxy’s fan appreciation game on Oct. 6. The chosen third kit will be worn at select games during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and the designer will receive a trip for two next July to see the Galaxy play in the uniform and will get their designed jersey signed by the entire team.

Los Angeles was the first MLS club to offer a Facebook-based kit design opportunity to fans but likely will not be the last. “We’ve heard from some teams in MLS and elsewhere,” said Leppanen, who declined to identify any of the interested clubs. “They’re interested in doing something like this and wanted to hear about our experience. We’re happy to share details and we hope other MLS teams join in.”

There is, however, one major component for gauging the full degree of success of the kit campaign for which answers will not come until next season.

“I’m confident that everyone will feel that the winning jersey is really well done,” said Leppanen, who recommends the Galaxy host a similar campaign every two years, “but what we’re especially anxious to see is how well it sells.”
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