The Rams were "concerned enough about attendance" for tonight's "MNF" game against the Seahawks with Red Sox-Cardinals World Series Game 5 taking place at the same time that Exec VP/Football Operations & COO Kevin Demoff "sent a letter
to season ticketholders encouraging them to attend the football game,"
according to John Perrotto in a special for USA TODAY. Demoff said that the "main video screen would play the baseball game at pregame and halftime, and screens throughout the stadium (there are at least 600) would show both games." The team also is "offering free hot dogs and two-for-one beer" from 7:00-8:00pm ET. Demoff wrote, "Here's our big message. We know Busch Stadium will be filled to capacity, but if you're going to stand outside Busch Stadium, you're going to go to a bar downtown, why not come to Edward Jones Dome, be a part of a great Monday night atmosphere, follow the Cardinals game along in our building" (USA TODAY, 10/28). In St. Louis, Jim Thomas noted highlights and updates of the World Series game "will be shown during timeouts." Fans will "find both games on concourse TVs and in the Bud Light Party Zone and the Rams Club." Demoff said, “Our fans have waited a very long time to have ‘Monday Night Football’ back at the Edward Jones Dome. It’s been seven years. A highlight of our schedule this year. And we didn’t want fans to feel like they had to choose between enjoying our game and enjoying the Cardinals’ game." Demoff said that he is "not concerned about how many fans show up." Demoff: "We’re not gonna blame the fans if they watch from home. We’re not gonna blame the fans for going to the World Series. We’re not going to lament our fate. We’re going to make our environment the best possible environment" (STLTODAY.com, 10/27).
MARKET WATCH: YAHOO SPORTS' Eric Edholm noted as of Friday tickets for Seahawks-Rams were "going for as low as $8 up in the rafters," and lower-bowl end zone tickets were "going in the $30 range." But it still is "hard to imagine anything approximating a full house" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/25). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio wrote the situation "creates a strong potential for a local embarrassment, with few people attending the game and few in the St. Louis metropolitan area watching it" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 10/25).
The Flames yesterday unveiled their new third jersey "to mixed reaction from fans," according to the CALGARY HERALD. The new jersey "maintains the Flaming C as its primary logo along with the word 'Calgary.'" A "western-style shoulder yoke and tie-down laces on the front are meant to represent western heritage." The jersey also features a "new two-colour name and number font" (CALGARYHERALD.com, 10/27). THE HOCKEY NEWS' Edward Fraser noted the Flames will wear the new sweaters "12 times throughout the season, the first time being" Friday against the Red Wings. The jerseys "do feature a few redeeming qualities: the shoulder patch is very cool, the design around the inside collar is a nice touch, and, of course, you can never go wrong with laces." Fraser: "I'd give the new Flamers jersey a 6.5" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 10/27). YAHOO SPORTS' Harrison Mooney wrote the jersey is "a little bland." There also is a "clashing font issue with the script running above it." It is a "bit busy." There are "two prominent C's on the front of this sweater and that's weird" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/27).
MLS Crew Chair Anthony Precourt on Friday said since taking over in late July he has been spending time "getting to know our staff and getting to know our owners and executives at the league office and getting to know the community" in a bid to let people know the team has a "young, new, energetic ownership that’s excited about the community in Columbus," according to Adam Jardy of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH. Precourt noted he has spoken with MLS Exec VP/Player Relations & Competition Todd Durbin, MLS Exec VP/Competition & Game Operations Nelson Rodriguez, MLS President & Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott and MLS Commissioner Don Garber. Precourt: "We have made a number of calls around to players, coaches, executives around MLS that we respect and we’ve built things that way and talked about the style of play. We got feedback on our style of play and the identity the club has. We’ve done a comprehensive assessment along the way of who we are and where we want to go." He added of Crew President & GM Mark McCullers, "We are thinking about some rebranding that could potentially take place down the road, we’re thinking about our stadium, our events business, our corporate partnerships and Mark has been a leader in all regards." Precourt said of rebranding, "We would not be able to get something done for 2014. It’s already too late. The planning process for changes, if we were to do anything it would be for the start of the 2015 season" (DISPATCH.com, 10/26).
As USL Pro club Orlando City aims to join MLS by '15, statistics show that professional soccer's fan base "has grown up, and that's helped raise awareness of the sport in a country infatuated with football and basketball," according to Schlueb & Damron of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. MLS 12 years ago "amid dwindling revenues and lackluster attendance ... dissolved its two troubled Florida teams, the Tampa Bay Mutiny and the Miami Fusion." Now Orlando is "on the cusp of becoming the only MLS team in the Southeast." Orlando City Owner & President Phil Rawlins said, "If you are 40 and above, you don't get this. If you are below 40, you get it. There really is a generational thing here." Schlueb & Damron cite an ESPN Sports Poll as showing that soccer in '11 was the "second-most-popular professional sport in the U.S. -- behind the NFL -- in a key demographic: those ages 12-24," and it was "first among Hispanics." Orlando City "led the league in attendance" in '13 and "set a record for announced attendance with 20,886" for the USL Pro Championship at the Florida Citrus Bowl in September. MLS Exec VP/Communications Dan Courtemanche said, "When they drew 21,000 fans for the USL Pro Championship game, that really woke up not just us in the MLS, but it really woke up the world of soccer." Rawlins said that the team "will build on its existing fan base after a move to MLS." Rawlins and team investor Flávio Augusto da Silva "plan to bring one or two Brazilian stars to the team." They have "already started a marketing effort to bring the Orlando area's already large number of Brazilian tourists" to matches (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/26).
THE CHILDREN ARE THE FUTURE: The Orlando Sentinel's Mark Schlueb said an MLS team in Orlando can work because "there’s greater awareness of soccer and it’s kind of a generational thing." Schlueb noted of the failed MLS teams in Tampa and Miami, "When the league contracted in 2002, those teams went away, so the popularity was not there about 12 years ago. At that time, if you wanted to watch a soccer game anywhere around the world you had a lot of trouble. Now, there’s all these satellite hook ups and you can just turn on cable and see a soccer game anywhere in the world, pretty much anytime." Schlueb said of the popularity growth of soccer, "A lot of moms are afraid to put their kids in football now because of all the talk of concussions, so you get even more kids into soccer so they grow up with it. They also play the FIFA game sitting on the couch that brings them awareness of teams and players from around the world. Now, they have this global awareness of the sport and that brings them closer to MLS. Orlando City has already built a fan base that’s the highest among a minor league soccer team in the country and they hope that translates into even more fans once they join MLS" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 10/25).