MLS Red Bulls Using Monetary Incentive In Effort To End Offensive Fan Chant
The Red Bulls are one of four MLS clubs working to eliminate the “tired but amazingly resilient ‘You Suck A------‘ goal kick chant" during games, and "have introduced a bit of carrot” to aid the team's effort, according to Brian Straus of SI.com. The Red Bulls have “notified its three fan groups -- the Empire Supporters Club, the Garden State Ultras and the Viking Army -- that $500 will be contributed to each for every home game during which 'YSA' isn't heard in Red Bull Arena's South Ward.” The money will be “doled out in $2,000 increments, meaning the stadium will have to be 'YSA' free for four games before the supporters are rewarded.” ESC yesterday in a message to its members wrote, "We can use this money for reimbursement for nearly anything we do, from buying batteries for the megaphone to offsetting costs for bus trips." The only other MLS club to “go public with its appeal to end 'YSA' is Real Salt Lake, which has no interest in paying for compliance.” The league “wants change to be a local exercise and has pushed its clubs to take the lead on the chant's eradication.” ESC board member Eric Rios said, "We meet together in the (Red Bull) front office every month or two months and this is one of the hot topics in every meeting." He added, “We didn't ask for the money. We sat down with them and they said, 'This is what we're going to offer you guys to get rid of it'" (SI.com, 7/9).
REACHING OUT: ADWEEK’s Noreen O’Leary noted the Red Bulls earlier this year hired ad firm R/GA, N.Y., to "boost recognition and ticket sales.” The team last year “advertised on soccer-specific sites” and had a “little outside media help but developed a strategy internally with a focus on existing fans.” R/GA “broadened its target to adjacent audiences familiar with soccer but not attending games.” To reach soccer moms, the agency “promoted the Red Bulls’ camps for kids.” Spectators are “being wooed with wild postings -- large numbers of ads posted in high-traffic areas -- near soccer bars and playing fields.” Red Bull Arena is near the PATH station, "so R/GA used outdoor ads and train takeovers.” The agency also “sought to increase Red Bulls’ fan targeting through Facebook and Twitter content and ensure Facebook content is consistent with overall messaging.” While search is “still the best channel for ticket sales, Facebook now follows it.” The Red Bulls using real-time optimization have been “able to learn from what isn’t working as well as seeing what generates results” (ADWEEK.com, 7/7).