What is NASL's competition in San Antonio?

What league does the NASL compete with, both in general and in San Antonio?
by Chris Hockman   |   Friday, March 08, 2013

Defending The Fort - column on San Antonio Scorpions (SASFC) & the San Antonio soccer scene.

An interesting discussion has come up about who the NASL competes with. Namely, does NASL compete with MLS?

The league only competes with Major League Soccer in one market: New York, where the Cosmos will run head to head with the Red Bulls.

This just didn't seem right to me. Recently, I was in a hotel in Houston with D.C. United in the rooms next to me, so it's clear that in San Antonio there's at least some competition with MLS.

Often at an FC Dallas or Houston Dynamo game you'll encounter fans who have come from San Antonio. You can see far more MLS team jerseys than you'll see Scorpions jerseys on the street.

So it would appear at least on the surface that NASL is competing with MLS at least in San Antonio. But I would venture it is forced to compete with MLS in every NASL market.

While the NASL teams aren't losing fans to MLS teams, they may well be missing out on fans who choose to stay at home and watch MLS on their TV rather than be at their local NASL clubs stadium.

So how do you get these fans? Well for some, they're choosing to watch MLS because it's the first division, so they could speak about how getting big crowds is one way to make MLS notice your city.

But soccer is a global game, so you don't only compete with MLS, but also Liga MX (now being shown on ESPN) and the English Premier League, which is very heavily televised in the US.

The EPL competition is an interesting one, because you shouldn't lose fans to a league that doesn't even air at the same time as your matches. The key to meet these fans is to link with them.

You can spend advertising dollars to show commercials in these games, but that's likely a bit much for NASL budgets. There are cheaper ways to engage these fans, though.

A common complaint has been that a number of NASL teams poorly use their Twitter and Facebook feeds. This is a captive audience for you and it's free so it would make sense to tweet about the big European games on these feeds.

In addition to using these feeds, the clubs can also partner with their pub sponsors and have a watch party for the big games. These events present a great opportunity to meet your audience and sell some tickets and merchandise.

The biggest competitor here in San Antonio is Liga MX, but this can be more problematic as Mexico is in the same time zone.

The Scorpions saw in 2012 how they can effectively draw in fans, with Monterrey, San Antonio's closest team, playing a friendly after a Scorpions game. Perhaps things could go further. You could show a Liga MX game on the big screen after the Scorpions game. It's a long shot, but it just may encourage fans to stay and learn more about the team.

These are by no means the only ways to engage those who are already interested with your competition. We must not be naïve. We're in a global sport and so NASL competes with MLS and indeed even bigger leagues in the world.

Marketers and club staff should look to engage with these fans. The question needs to not be "why aren't they coming?" But rather, "what can we do to get them to come to our games?”

Chris HOCKMAN

Nationality:
Australia
College:
Univ W. Sydney & Youthworks Coll.
Club Domestic:
Houston Dynamo, San Antonio Scorpions, Austin Aztex
Club Foreign:
Central Coast Mariners
Originally from Australia found football (or soccer as you Yanks call it) a great connection in a new country. Freelance writer since 2005 covering Australian and US Soccer. Based out of San Antonio but can regularly be seen in Houston, Austin and Dallas.
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