$ Full stadiums
$ Merchandise flying off the shelves
$ Staff in overdrive
– Players feeling the love.
Team wishlists? Probably.
It could be a reality in 2015. It should be a reality in 2015. If the fans step up, it will be a reality in 2015.
2015 IS the Year of the Fan for NWSL. Not because they have designated it so (feel free to use the idea, NWSL. I’m all about sharing), but because it needs to be.
2015 will be the most challenging season yet for NWSL. There is of course FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015™ (WWC) and all the camps and friendlies leading up to it to take national team members of various countries away. There is the shortened schedule, the lengthened season, and the 2 week break in the heart of the season. There is the possibility that more games than last year will be played while kids are still in school. There is also the stark reality that some of the marquee international players are not going to play in the league at all this season, some opting to stay at home for WWC prep and then deeming it too short a time to travel to the USA to play. And that doesn’t even take into account any fans that will be traveling to Canada to see the WWC. Some of those fans will be (understandably) foregoing the outstanding support they usually give their NWSL team. Lots of reasons for fans to lose a little interest in the league.
Sounds pretty bleak, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be and it won’t be if we all do our part and then some.
What would doing our part look like? Glad you asked.
First and foremost fans have to fill seats by buying tickets. And bringing at least one friend to every game you attend, more is better here, folks, bring ten friends! Buying tickets to donate is another avenue to increase revenue to teams, but don’t forget that game “atmosphere” is a big reason to put your own butt in a seat.
Live in Boston, but Seattle is your team? Go to games in Boston! For the league to thrive the teams all have to be successful, so even if you live and die for Sky Blue..go to a game in KC if it’s closer to you. I know your team won’t hold it against you. You can still wear your jersey. If you support the league your team wins, too.
And about that jersey – do you have one? Or a t-shirt? Or a scarf? Or a hoodie? Or any of the other merchandise that your team sells? Merchandise sales in general have a pretty good markup so teams make money on your purchase. We all wish our team sold more/different/better merchandise (I know I do) and someday they all will, but do what you can with the merchandise offered. If you don’t see what you want/like let them know. If we don’t tell them they likely won’t offer it and will have lost out on more revenue generated.
Staff in overdrive is a no-brainer. We all know that most teams have nowhere near the staff to make things comfortable. Staff that are paid are making nowhere near what they could in other situations, so your support of the team affects them, also. Do you have a particular skill that would benefit the NWSL team in your area? Volunteer if you can. Contact the club and see if they’d like your services. Volunteers stretch the budgets of businesses all over the world, why not see if you can stretch the budget of your local team, can’t hurt and who knows what great experiences you’ll have.
Players feeling the love. Kind of self-explanatory, but I’ll add just a little. Players are going to need your support more than ever this year, why? Because the players on the pitch for the entire season will be the journeywomen of WoSo. Many of these players aspire to be on the NT one day, but many know that they won’t make it to that level again, or for the first time. These players are playing for 2 main reasons; they love the game, and they hope one day to make a real living at it. They need us fans to really step it up this year and support them, not the missing NT players (support them too, but you know what I mean). When the NT is back on the pitch by all means support them, but in the meantime the players who are not away at WWC duty need all your support.
NWSL Year of the Fan. Has a nice ring to it. Wouldn’t it be great if that was the headline of every article written about how awesome the 2015 NWSL season was?
FANS can make it so. FANS can be the difference that propels the league forward into season 4 and beyond. I’m game..are you?