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« Football Performance Breakdown: Week 3 Short Hops »

Fire Thu Sep 25 2008

Beckham vs Blanco, Part II and the Problem With Sequels

Tomorrow night, MLS's two biggest stars face off at Toyota Park when David Beckham's LA Galaxy team visits Cuahtemoc Blanco and the Chicago Fire. In stark contrast to when the two teams met last year, tickets are still available. It's kind of a bummer, especially since last year I ended up with an extra ticket and was able to scalp it for quite a few dollars.

So what's different this year? For one, the novelty has worn off a bit. It certainly doesn't help that Cuahtemoc Blanco is in the middle of his least-productive spell since joining the Fire. For LA's part, despite the presence of both Beckham and Landon Donovan it's impossible to disguise that the L.A. Galaxy aren't a very good soccer team. In addition to that, you have a weeknight game, which means people getting off of work and then facing the prospect of fighting through traffic to Bridgeview. There were disappointingly low turnouts for both the Everton friendly and the U.S. World Cup Qualifier against Trinidad on weeknights as well. It might also have something to do with most of Chicago having one eye on the Bears and another one split between the White Sox and the Cubs playoff hopes.

Or maybe the Fire and MLS labor under the delusion that all they need to do to is sign a couple of star players and they're already a big-time organization.Tribune reporter Luis Arroyave recently mentioned getting cold shouldered by the Fire several times this season - including a trip to spring training to get an interview with Blanco, who was never made available. It lead him to broaden his soccer coverage and put less focus on the Fire. This Wednesday, pregame interview opportunities with Beckham were limited to trying to catch him on the way out in a media/player "mix zone." Which meant reporters would have to spend the afternoon hoofing it out to Bridgeview without any guarantee of getting a quote from Becks.

From my own experience, over the course of three years three different people have been in charge of media relations - each with progressively fancier titles. The attitude towards media credentials requests from a website writer has gone from "Sure we really love your writing" to "Wait, exactly who are you again?" to not even bothering to respond. In their defense, in this case it meant the Fire sold one more season ticket package, but there have to be better ways of selling tickets.

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Tom / September 25, 2008 1:28 PM

I can empathise with your comments about the growing delusions of grandeur Fire communications have developed over the years.

There is a marked contrast with the way the Red Stars are interacting with the local media, and it doesn't reflect well on the Fire.

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