Soccer Marketing 101 - Major League Soccer Stars for FIFA13
Planting the Seed of Soccer Across America: Danny Beerseed
You may not have heard (Note: sarcasm), but EA Sports' latest installment of the FIFA Series, FIFA 13, was released this week to much fanfare. And while many will pick up their XBox and PS3 controllers and start their new seasons as Barcelona, Manchester United, and other European and global giants; there are quite a few American soccer faithful that will dutifully plug in with their Major League Soccer sides.
ESPNFC's Roger Bennett had a fantastic article about the FIFA franchise's impact on the growth of soccer in the United States. For many newbies FIFA has played a crucial role in bring them to the sport. The quality of gameplay and authenticity of the FIFA series has done so much on the educating and entertaining side of selling soccer (kinda like some other idea we've heard of...) Citing the recent Luker Sports survey, Bennett also penned this piece about the bright future of soccer in America and how demographics cannot be denied as soccer continues to shoot up the list of the nation's most popular sports.
Experts will go back and forth as to which, FIFA or FBM (hehe...), has had a greater impact in growing soccer here in the States, but no matter what the Jim Romes and "Pardon The Interruptions" say; soccer is here to stay.
EA Sports, in all of their global approach to marketing the game, have made sure that MLS fans are shown lots of love in the current incarnation of the video game (except for in the area of rendering MLS stadiums in the game...). In year's past several American soccer and/or MLS players have featured prominently on their covers. This year MLS fans can download over 20 different FIFA covers featuring MLS players.
Cooler than that are the web videos that EA and MLS created with four clubs and their most recognizable players. A real marketing coup and done with fantastic execution and humor. The great thing about these web videos is not just in the humor of them (although all these MLS players have done a pretty bang-up job), but in that EA recognizes the role that their game plays in bringing people to soccer and teaching them. The whole premise of the ads are less on the game play (which featured, but is pretty secondary), but on the understanding of the sport. You could take out the FIFA clips and logo art and have a damn good "Soccer 101" series, period.
Here's to hoping that FIFA not only continues to act as a gateway for newbies to soccer, but newbies to MLS as well.
Chris Wondolowski and Shea Salinas (San Jose Earthquakes):
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