City Report Roundtable Volume 3: Acting Presidential
Late last week, City SC released the club's new mobile app. If you haven't yet, read Matt Baker's first installment of Baker's City Bites for more details. The app is unquestionably and objectively awesome. However, our pals over in Charlotte decided the app release was not only not newsworthy, but chided the build up our administrative team put behind it. Check out the tweet from, not a supporter, but the PRESIDENT of the club...
Smith, Matt Baker, Steve Rusnack, and
Ryan Pulliam respond - City Report style...
1. Can you imagine CKB, Lutz, Sebeck, or ANYONE representing our club taking pot-shots, unrelated to an actual game, online like that? Would you want your management team to be #ExtremelyOnline as such?
KS: I don't think that anyone in CITY SC's front office or staff would act in this manner. I think they will be too busy conducting their own business to be involved in those things. They are more focused on building a long-term, sustainable, growth mindset (both on and off the pitch) among the academy teams right now, and moving forward will be building a winning culture with their club. Everything that I see this front office is less about talking trash, and letting the on-the-field product speak for itself come 2023. Likewise, it is very easy to talk trash when you have not even taken the pitch yet for a match. I think our front office and staff are much more strategic, and more interested in doing things right. Charlotte and their entry into MLS feels a very rushed to me, and it will be interesting to see what effects it will have, if any to the on-the-field product next season. Come 2023 we will know which approach to building a club worked better. My vote is for CITY SC's approach. It seems much more well-rounded.
MB: No, I could not imagine our club's senior leadership, namely our CEO, CKB, being goaded by rival fans, going into replies and engaging with another club's supporters like that. Part of me likes the fact that the club president is willing to defend his club when shots are fired, but what we saw the other day was pretty low. He wasn't just defending his own club but went after another club for their app and headed into replies to argue about stadium size (seriously?), a club who starts a year later not having signed players yet, bringing up "real fans" and then making the absolutely absurd comment that his club offers affordable pricing. Honestly. The club that is requiring PSLs for soccer and a $50 supporter section fee is arguing about affordability. And don't forget this is the club who is 2nd fiddle to the Panthers so much that they are replacing their perfectly good natural grass field with turf because it's cheaper than maintaining a grass field with an NFL and MLS club using it at the same time. Give me a break. Nick seems like a nice guy and is a former AB guy, so maybe he's just got a soft spot for STL and this is his way of admiring what we're doing? Who knows. Suffice to say, I'm happy with the social media interactions of our club. Be proud of what we're doing, let our work stand on its' own merit and let others comment and feel the need to defend their own ideas to their own fans.
SR: It is a little hard to imagine anyone from our FO or ownership acting in such a way. But, to be fair, perhaps he was just using Twitter to create a bit of a new rivalry among the new franchises and win some good-guy points from their fans. I do think it would be a little funny to see CKB and Charlotte's President have a Twitter battle though.
RP: The positive, welcoming & humorous online presence of the CITY team is something I've appreciated and enjoyed. I love meeting and learning about all members of our CITY family: CITY employees, St. Louligans, Podcasters, onward. It seems logical to iron out a code-of-conduct to make sure all have a consistent uplifting voice. The president of Charlette is a man who drinks St. Louis beer & hangs out with Clydesdales - I'll give him a pass as he clearly LOVES St. Louis. We all know how Social media can turn ugly quickly - in the future he could have easily added a smile at the end to make sure we all knew it was done in jest.
2. The smart money for City's natural rival is Sporting KC or The Fire...but is there any chance something like this balloons and creates a natural rivalry based on class as opposed to location?
KS: It just depends. There are several things that goes into creating a rivalry. Location is one, conference will be another, but the biggest in my opinion is on-the-field success. If both clubs are in the same conference and have success, along with good matches against each other then I can see this as just adding fuel to the fire for sure. If one of the two club does not have success, the matches are not as intense, or they are in different conferences I think the rivalry will be less intense even with this tweet. Also, since it is still 18 months away from CITY SC taking the pitch for a first-team match, the effects of this tweet won't be as intense unless the rivalry is already there from the aforementioned reasons for rivalries.
MB: I honestly don't think so, outside a hardcore group of fans. It's similar to FCC in a way. Back during the MLS2STL push, FCC fans were insufferable and took a lot of pot shots because we were in the pole position to get a club. I see this, right now, as the same but who knows if our back and forth with CLT will linger or develop. There's a lot of fodder going on in Charlotte that we can and will have fun with including their "independent" supporters group out there and their soon to be Chief Fan Officer. Who knows what else will come between now and then
SR: As I mentioned, I do kind of see Charlotte's President's Twitter actions as a bit of a "shots fired" toward a rivalry. It's either that or boredom. But I could see a "new kids on the block" rivalry if they continue to push that way. Which could be fun. First things first, let's start making fun of their barbecue!
RP: We in St. Louis are lucky to have a list of great cities nearby - I am sure we will have further rivalries with all of them - born in many different ways
3. Charlotte FC will be (a) playing all of their home matches in an American football stadium and (b) requiring PSLs for season tickets. Shouldn't their club president be more concerned with how to possibly create a solid soccer atmosphere given those set of circumstances?
KS: I do think those two things are major barriers to Charlotte FC. The stadium being the lesser barrier in my opinion. Digging into fan's pockets with the sale of PLS's is a dangerous game, especially in a growing league like the MLS. With that said, the MLS is a rapidly growing league, and will continue to grow here in the United States, so I fully anticipate there being a good fanbase there. It may go through some early hardships due to the PSL's, but I think that Charlotte FC, along with every market fortunate enough to have an MLS team will be reaping the rewards in the long-term. Also, if they win, that will go a long way to generating its own excitement and alleviating those short-term barriers. If they lose out of the gate, well then they may be in for a rough go for a while. Either way, I do feel their time is better spent on putting the best team on the pitch than it is to talk trash about what another club is doing.
MB: Lol, yes. Their owner says he wants a party, but judging by social media and the lack of transparency surrounding ticket sales so far, they would seem to have an uphill battle to maintain a solid atmosphere especially if they start off anywhere close to other expansion sides on the field. Will there be diehards, and will their NFL stadium have good attendance early? Sure, and ultimately if they're successful it's better for soccer in the US and for MLS, but a lot of what they're doing just lends itself to ridicule sometimes. I do wish them luck and hope they don't burn too many bridges with their fans, but to the original question, I think the phrase those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones would very much apply.
SR: I can't say I know enough details on how the Charlotte FO is trying to promote their new team to judge if they are doing enough or not.. But I will say this, with PSLs in place, and Charlotte not really known as a soccer city, it seems like a tough natural sell. I could be wrong, but I could see Charlotte's attendance very determined by their success on the pitch.
RP: Our owners have gifted us more than a team; they've given us a massive 31-acre development next to Union Station. They've not asked for PSL's. Other cities may not have the luxury for various reasons - so we should focus on how lucky we are.