Mid-Atlantic jolt | Energy drink takes New Jersey out of MetroStars

Ever optimistic, Red Bull New York president and general manager Alexi Lalas says the investment—the Red Bull concern is said to have paid more than $100 million for the club and for naming rights to and half-interest in the new stadium—will boost the domestic game and create “America’s first superclub.” They will surely be super if they can combine the following Red Bull formula for success, in order of appearance on a recently acquired 8.3-oz. can (bearing the legend, “With Taurine. Vitalizes body and mind.”):

1 Carbonated water

2 Sucrose

3 Glucose

4 Sodium citrate

5 Taurine (C2H7NO3S, claimed to enhance caffeine’s effects)

6 Glucuronolactone (said to fight fatigue)

7 Caffeine

8 Inositol

9 Niacinamide

10 Calcium-pantothenate

11 Pyridoxine HCL

12 Vitamin B12

13 Artificial flavors

14 [Artificial] colors

What a team!

Update: The blatant rebranding of the MetroStars has fostered ill will among some supporters, who would rather back a team than a beverage. Although the Green Bay Packers (NFL), Anaheim Mighty Ducks (NHL) and Connecticut Sun (WNBA) take their names from commercial interests, the Red Bull identity shift strikes sports-marketing experts as more brash. “It’s sort of the last bastion in American sports,” says Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon. “We haven’t been willing to accept it. I’m not sure if that’s right or wrong, it’s just not been done.”

Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club, 11 July 1921.

In U.S. soccer, though, Bell of the New York Times calls attention to the amalgam of club origins in the early days. Clubs frequently had their backgrounds in ethnic societies or in business. Bell lists 10 U.S. clubs with company affiliations from before World War II, most notably Bethlehem Steel of Pennsylvania, “arguably the most winning soccer team in US history.”

Page 2 of 2 | Previous page

2 comments on this post.
  1. Brian:

    As you point out, the problem with the former Metros is not simply their mediocrity. That can change. Look how the former San Jose team went from chumps in their first six seasons to the best team in the league the last four. New England (my team) never won a playoff GAME in their first six seasons, but under Steve Nicol has won at least one playoff SERIES in each of his four years in charge.

    The Metros/Red Bulls are just sort of there in the middle of suburbia. While they share a location with the Devils and Giants, there is a difference. The Devils have been very successful for the last decade. And the Giants had a huge following before they moved to New Jersey.

    The other problem they face is a microcosm of the challenge faced by MLS as a whole. New York is home to probably the country’s most diverse immigrant population, which would make you think it a great recruiting ground for MLS fans. But as they come from other countries, they realize that the quality of MLS does not compare favorably to the top Western European leagues so they don’t bother to support the team. They save their pennies for the one-off friendlies between, say, Chelsea and Milan that come every summer and attract four times as many fans as the biggest stand-alone Metros game despite high ticket prices.

    If you have a club without an identity, it’s no surprise that the team on the pitch lacks the same.

    (Though I will say that I like what they did last summer in arranging a few friendlies between the touring European teams and top MLS teams: Los Angeles–Real Madrid and DC United–Chelsea, for example. The Chicago-Milan match was fantastic, and Chicago would’ve won convincingly if not for hideous finishing by one of their forwards. That was ten times better than the two Chelsea-Milan snoozefests.)

  2. Brian:

    I forgot one of the other teams the MetroStars share a location with. The Metros remind me a lot of the NBA’s Nets. They’re just sort of there, rudderless. Though they’ve had some success in the last few years, they don’t really have much of an imprint in the NY sports community.

Leave a comment