If the TV ratings for the USWNT’s obliteration of Japan in the 2015 Women’s World Cup final—it was the most-watched soccer game in U.S. history—stood for anything, it’s that Americans will support the sporting greatness of our own unreservedly. Unfortunately, the vultures in charge of the inferior soccer product MLS took note, and have swooped in for a couple measly bites of the American soccer audience by getting their New York-based teams floats in tomorrow’s victory parade.
Here’s Empire of Soccer on the news:
The World Cup Champion U.S. Women’s National Team will have some unlikely guests sharing the stage at their Canyon of Heroes Ticker Tape Parade on Friday.
New York City FC, the New York Red Bulls and Major League Soccer will each have separate floats in the World Cup victory lap in downtown Manhattan.
Joining them will be the National Women’s Soccer League and Sky Blue FC — the local NWSL affiliate. As of now, it is unknown whether either organization will have their own float down the Canyon of Heroes. The possibility exists they will instead share space with some of the other attendees on two separate floats. Of course, that can change as logistics continue to be worked on ahead of this unprecedented event.
This kind of crass cross-promo bullshit shouldn’t infect what originally sounded like a totally cool event to celebrate the fact that our entire country supported the USWNT in a sport we otherwise don’t much care for simply because the team is filled with huge badasses. This is a VICTORY PARADE. Not a SOCCER PARADE. These women won the biggest tournament in the sport and have earned every ounce of love, appreciation, commercial opportunities, etc. coming their way. What a bunch of MLS teams have to do with these women’s stunning accomplishment isn’t exactly clear.
Of course, this type of spotlight hunting comes naturally to MLS and U.S. Soccer. As the league’s marketing arm has proven many times, MLS is never above an attempt to siphon off fans of elite soccer for their own benefit. That’s what all of Soccer United Marketing’s summer all-star games and international preseason tournaments are about, after all. It’s all to further the falsehood that MLS and U.S. Soccer are synonymous with soccer itself, and that if you enjoy watching our international teams, you should also do your patriotic duty and watch more MLS.
This whole thing smacks of U.S. Soccer seeing all these American eyes captivated by the greatness of the USWNT, and thinking they can confuse the public by associating what we saw in Canada with whatever usually happens in Red Bull Arena each week. “Hey, people seemed to tune in when the girls were playing, let’s make them bring out the boys, too; maybe they’ll sell a couple more tickets!” It’s embarrassing.