The number of ‘soccer bars’ in the USA has gone from zero to hundreds in a matter of a couple of decades. The popularity of the sport has mushroomed since the start of MLS, but more so since NBC picked up the rights to show Premier League games in the USA. So how do you start a soccer supporters club of your own? It’s easier than you think.
A successful marketing campaign by corporate media has finally exposed sports fans in America to the thrills and excitement of top-flight European football. Fans can now watch soccer in cities and States where it had never been seen before, Americans everywhere have taken to the beautiful game like ducks to water.
Obviously, there were many hard-core ex-pat soccer fans in the States, (as well as some locals) before NBC flicked the switch on, some of whom had already formed small supporters groups. They would meet up and huddle under the satellite dish of their local sports bar where the bar staff was only too happy for the extra weekend morning business.
Now thanks to technology and live streaming services, there is no need for that behemoth of a satellite dish on the roof. Every bar, restaurant, home, and mobile phone has access to soccer games from around the world all day, every day, for very low subscription fees.
So how do you go about starting a supporters club for your team in your town or neighborhood?
1 – Pick A Name For Your Supporters Club
Choose a name that is original and witty, and one that clearly identifies your team and location. You can also design a logo for your club and even put out merchandise for your members!
2 – Create Social Media Accounts For Your Club
Using your newly chosen monicker, set up Facebook, and Instagram pages for your group. If you are supporting a popular team, then you are sure to attract lots of followers rather quickly.
3 – Find a home for your soccer supporters’ group
This is where things get a little tricky and involves shopping around a bit. First, once you’ve settled on the general area where you want to plant your flag, approach the bar or restaurant owner and ask if they would be interested in hosting a group of dedicated fans whenever the team plays. Preferably you want a pub that will commit to being available for all of your team’s matches, whatever time of day. You should also stay clear of bars that already have soccer supporter groups to avoid schedule conflicts. They will happen, and every club deserves its own home.
Remember you are no longer limited to approaching established soccer bars because every bar is now a potential soccer bar thanks to the availability of live soccer games on TV and streaming services
This is where First Touch can help. We’ve worked with soccer bars in the States for over 25 years and we know of many that would be happy to accommodate your group. contact us if you would like some free advice.
4 – Apply for official sanctioning from the club itself
There are now hundreds of officially sanctioned Premier League supporter clubs in the USA. Arsenal America alone has 87. There is always room for one more, however, and the numbers are only going to grow.
What if my town already has an official supporters group for my team? you may well ask. It doesn’t matter. Liverpool FC has officially sanctioned pubs in Queens, Brooklyn, uptown, downtown, you name it. They even have unofficial bars that are packed out every weekend, proving that sanctioning isn’t essential to the credibility of your club. That’s a testament to the growing popularity and strength of soccer in America.
There are certain rules and conditions for each club when deciding which supporters’ groups to sanction. They will let you know what those rules are. The more together you are with your organization, the better chance you will have of being sanctioned.
5 – Spread The Word
Ready to launch your supporter club now? Invite your friends. Start your social media campaign. Leave flyers around town and don’t forget to let First Touch know so we can list you. Build it and they will come. Open the doors and let the good times roll.
6 – Pies
Make sure there are pies. Lots of pies.