Thursday, August 9, 2007

Damien Cox hates Toronto FC. He also hates the internet and all of Sting's solo work.

This is an interesting read:

Soccer fans respond to Damien Cox

Actually, to see what has got the TFC fans up in arms, you might want to read this article first.

I don't really agree with Cox's assessment that soccer fans are the only fans who get up in arms about the lack of recognition. Whenever the Raptors are left out of a discussion on the NBA, 10x as many emails fly to ESPN or CNNSI than Cox got this week. I don't think this happens with the Jays, or the Argos or even the Leafs.

So, what can be concluded from this? I'd say, that amongst 16-35, web-based and upwardly mobile (not to mention angry) demographic, Toronto FC and the Raptors are the teams of choice. I go to a lot of Jays games, and rarely do I see packs of guys out. It's a lot of families and tourists. I'd try to assess the Leafs, but Lord knows I never get to a game. So, that leaves the Raptors and Toronto FC. From what I've seen in person, these games are rammed with exactly the demographic described above.

Which leads me back to Damien Cox and the "old" media. In my opinion, Cox and his contemporaries fail to recognize TFC because they know they have nothing to add to the debate. They continue to rant about the Leafs and MLSE because they know they still have an audience with all the "Tom from Unionville"s of the world. And fair enough....the gurus behind FAN590 and The Star know more about target audiences than I do, but c'mon....there's gotta be a seachange at some point. Although, maybe the "old" media (590, The Star) will just continue to cover the "old" guard (Leafs, Jays, Argos) while the young and web-based will be the authority on the Raptors and TFC. I like Swirsky on 590, but he is hardly cutting edge. If I want a scoop on the NBA, I'm hitting RealGM. Toronto FC, I'd hit the messageboards before I referred to the Star's website. I like Cathal Kelly, but I'm pretty close to cancelling my Star subscription due to the fact their sports section sucks. If it weren't for the puzzles over the weekend, I would have been out long ago.

So, Cox....I really couldn't care less if you fail to mention Toronto FC. I'm not looking your way for guidance on the subject. That said, when you do get bombarded and forced into mentioning Toronto FC, don't fire back with cheaps shots as if the whole thing is below you. Play fair and admit it isn't your deal. Shots at the field turf, and the fact that us "lemmings" are passionate about a last place team are just pathetic. I'm not an MLSE fan, but you can't blame them for TFC being in last place....that's just how it works with expansion teams.

The passion from the previously mentioned "lemmings" can probably be attributed to a few things, including the people in charge of marketing Toronto FC. They aced it, if you ask me. People craved big time soccer, and it was finally delivered. MLS isn't the Premiership or Serie A, but it is as good as we are going to get....and soccer fans here in town knew that. From day one, the people at Toronto FC were listening to their fans and put together a grassroots marketing campaign. Pub nights and messageboards, that is about it. $200 season seats and a Beckham signing don't hurt either....although most of the cheap seats were gone before Beckham went to LA, so clearly it's a bit more than just the glamour ticket of the moment.

Now, will Toronto FC continue to draw crowds for years to come? Remains to be seen, but I think they will. The game day experience is second to none. The fact that the cops let you tailgate on a sunny Saturday afternoon is pure gold. I don't know how the MLSE-Toronto Police dynamic works, but if I were betting, I'd say that the Toronto FC brass has told the heat to give the parking lot beer drinkers a little leeway....and that is FINE with me.

So, I've gotten off course here. Toronto FC is good times, that's the point. There could be a lot of reasons Cox ignores it (and by Cox, I mean Damien Cox, as well as the Bobcat/590 set), but it's mainly the fear of the unknown. The local sports media should embrace Toronto FC. It very well could be the show that proves to be the end of the so-called August dead zone. Toronto would be better off it all it's teams had the passionate supporters that Toronto FC has.

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