Friday, March 15, 2013

The Ides of March

Columbus Business First's article "Columbus Crew sponsorship's, season ticket sales up" reminded me of something Chris LaMacchia brought up a few weeks ago on the Massive Report podcast. During it, Chris made a point in that Mark McCullers hyper optimism about this year isn't so much about what McCullers actually thinks the team can achieve but more about pushing Head Coach Robert Warzycha towards something better than mediocrity.


“Our sales staff is as strong as it’s ever been, and our culture here is great. The Goal 10K campaign has also really resonated. We've got a great message and product to sell.” - Mark McCullers

It's not uncommon to hear a sports team referred to as a 'product' in any US based sports league. NFL uses it the most these days, it seems. But that doesn't mean it isn't slightly grating each time I hear it.

McCullers use of the word product resonated more with me this time though. Perhaps late and perhaps naively, but it dawned on me that it's not getting the base behind him as much as it is him pushing for as many ticket sales as possible by using the tried and true sales push that boxing and wrestling promoters use.

"Obviously, if we can do that then the road to MLS Cup could come through Columbus. The MLS Cup could be in Columbus. I believe we're going to have that caliber of team. I really do." - McCullers, to

There's nothing wrong with this. After all, the name of the game is to get butts in seats (or benches, as it is). There is a line though. McCullers is President and GM, not a sales person.

How much hype is too much hype?

In the article it says that ticket sales are up, sponsorship's are up, and corporate box sales are up along with the hype.

Eventually the fight will be over and the scorecards read, though. What happens if the Crew are a mediocre club again? What happens if they are actually worse? These are the two cases that are worst case. What then, though. Will the fans turn on the team?

With the recent comments about Crew Stadium being at a crossroads, these optimistic comments take on tinge of desperation.

As if McCullers, after looking at his hand, let out a small sigh... Tilts his head back and finishes what rotgut is left in his glass. With the air in the room thick with fear and feeling the weight of the situation - he pushes the small strune about stack of his chips to the middle of the table and quietly says; 'I'm all in'.

Just as he says those three game changing words the camera pans back to revel that he is the only one at the table.

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