In Barcelona, the Soccer Sells the Beer
Planting the Seed of Soccer Across America: Danny Beerseed
Americans love a good beer, and a free beer more so. Catalans, amongst tapas, sangria, fine wine, Gaudi, and Shakira, love their local beer, Estrella Damm. They're also buying it for a new reason this Spring, as it helps them see little Lionel and the rest of FC Barcelona. Not that the average guy or girl in Barcelona doesn't already follow the Blaugrana, but by buying five Euro worth of Estrella, or about 15 beers, you earn a code to get 15 Euro off of a ticket to the Camp Nou.
(Notice the highest rank comment on the Youtube video explaining the promotion. Translated: Drink beer to help Barça!)
So it's unofficially official, the Free Beer Movement has been embraced in one of the last places on earth where it actually needs to be spread. With the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Barça fans in the region of Catalunya, the club has created a fairly intrinsic partnership with its official beer sponsor. The average culé drinks beer at a bar or whenever they have friends over for Friday night copeo, but they also try to go and see Barça at least a few times a season.
The main difference between this partnership and one between, say, Sam Adams and the New England Revolution, is that clearly the PR boosts Estrella more than it does for FCB. In short, it's a variation of the FBM that the FBM could only dream of. Instead of buying a beer to convince your friend to go watch MLS with you, this is, at least to a degree, buying beer to help fulfill your desire to take in the beautiful game.
Following the Free Beer Movement grow and become relatively mainstream amongst the MLS and U.S. Soccer community has been refreshing and unbelievably enticing. Whether it was earning the support of Alexi Lalas or the American Outlaws or Kyle Sheldon (D.C. United's Marketing Director, who's hosting a Free Beer Movement event in May), the mission to "build American soccer one beer at a time" is undoubtedly a noble one. But how exactly can we gauge when the FBM becomes a success and American soccer to here to stay?
Well, that debate is for another time and another place. However, when Sam Adams goes out of its way to create a promotion with the Revs or any other brewery knocking down MLS's door to get in on the action that's when we'll know the FBM has struck a chord. Maybe the FBM ends when MLS and U.S. Soccer fans are able to enjoy a beer with the beautiful game with all their friends for non-ulterior motives, just like the Barcelona beer and footy-lovers who are hitting two birds with one stone.
But as for now, I'm going rogue and using this little Estrella Damm opportunity to convert fellow Americans studying abroad into fans of the game. Converting Spaniards into MLS fans, well that's a job for someone far more ambitious than myself.
Eric Beard is the editor of the highly-praised, "A Football Report". He is a philosophy major and soccer player at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, but is currently studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain.
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