A combined Sixth, Seventh and Eighth in a series of 10 posts analyzing NWSL 2013 from my viewpoint.
I apologize for this mish-mash of an analysis. The league hijacked my train of thought with their expansion stuff and I lost interest in finishing, but a loyal reader persuaded me to tie up the loose ends, so here it is.
Pre-season, Season Tickets, and Fan Engagement:
Of course Portland got all the buzz with the great allocations and being backed by MLS Portland Timbers. I personally was buzzed to get a team within driving distance (9 hours isn’t driving distance for all, but I love to drive), the FC Kansas City Blues. And no surprise, the stable stalwarts of women’s pro soccer and my “team till I die” the Boston Breakers were right in the middle of it all, just the way we like it!
I purchased 2 $165 Touchline Reserved tickets and went in 50/50 on 2 $99 GA tickets that were donated for Portland Thorns. I did not attend any games, but managed to give away most of my tickets. I had no problem with the purchase or the donation. Pretty streamlined process.
I purchased 2 $180 Elite tickets for FC Kansas City and I have to say their sales staff was helpful, funny and understanding.
The first tickets I purchased were for my Boston Breakers. Quick, easy, efficient, like so much of the organization. 2 $180 Regular Season tickets. I also was unable to attend any games and gave away most of my tickets, some through the organization and some online.
Fan engagement for all 3 teams was OK. I honestly had little interest in the Thorns, so I admit to being lax when it came to paying attention to their engagement on Twitter or Facebook. FCKC got more of my attention and I thought they did an OK job of keeping fans informed, if not engaged, on both Twitter and Facebook. Breakers had a little more experience, but didn’t really take advantage of it. Their Twitter and Facebook paled in comparison to some team member’s updates.
Web Site and Web Stream:
Portland had a good web site, no surprise there. Thorns also win stream hands down, no discussion. Not only was their stream exceptional, their commentary team of Ang & Ann (Angela Harrison and Ann Schatz) were informative and hysterical, in the best way. Never a dull moment in that broadcast booth.
FC Kansas City had a web site I enjoyed visiting. This is something they don’t need to change. On the other hand, the Blues could use some work on their stream. Most were watchable and I didn’t need to mute the commentary, that’s always a plus.
Boston is stuck somewhere in the last decade with their web site. And my dear sweet Boston, what can I say? They had a pay-per-view stream that was anything but watchable on occasion. As a loyal fan I purchased every stream in the hopes that as the season went on they’d get better, not the way it turned out. After a few games I could not justify the purchase to my peers..at any price. $4.99 wasn’t bad (I could have done without the $1.39 fee on top of it), if the stream was good.
Kits and Venue:
Kits..how about those kits! said no one. Ho-hum, cookie-cutter kits, just different colors.
Venues are another story, though. No one can argue about the venue and atmosphere at Jeld-Wen..no one, don’t even try. Jeld-Wen IS soccer. Winner: Portland.
FCKC made Shawnee Mission North High School their home, later to be called Verizon Field because of their awesome sponsorship. A typical high school venue in typical high school condition, nothing great, but adequate. I did attend several games and was not disappointed with the atmosphere. Their supporters group, the KC Blue Crew, was small but dedicated. Tailgating was permitted with alcohol restrictions, as in none allowed, so that put a damper on things. I’m not a lush, but every tailgate could use a beer.
I did not attend any games at Dilboy Stadium outside Boston, so you’ll have to look elsewhere for analysis. The real sticking point with many people seemed to be the physical location of the field. I drove over 500 miles to get to KC’s field, so I might not be the right person to talk to about that.
Portland Thorns: At first glance Portland seemed like the dream team, they had it all; players, venue, supporters, but to me they didn’t put it together on the field for much of the season. They played well in the playoffs and took the Championship, but I still was not impressed by the overall product on the field. In 2014 I hope they reward the supporters with the same passion on the field as they display in the stands.
FC Kansas City: The product on the field was fun to watch and the team developed some great players along the way. The fact they fizzled at the end broke my heart, but they engendered passion in me for their game. I’d like to see them build on all the things they did OK during this year; better fan engagement online and a better stream for starters.
Boston Breakers: I love ya, Breakers, but you’ve got to step up your game. Boston needs something to make them stand out. I thought they got lost in the shuffle last season and I’d like to see them do something flashy. They’ve got a solid team, good sponsors, now they need a wow factor. Maybe a stream that’s better than most or a web site that’s less ho-hum. I really don’t know, but they need something.
I’ve tried to do this from a perspective that I don’t know all the changes that have happened for the 2014 season, yet. Hard to do, but I tried.
Next installment, PART 9, will focus on NWSL, the league.
As always, if you’d like to give your two cents, hit me up in the comments.