If you’re into soccer in America, you know Men in Blazers (MiB).
If you’re into MiB, you know that this past weekend in Brooklyn they held court at the first #BlazerCon.
The sold-out event was held for soccer fans, by soccer fans. Rog and Davo spent Friday and Saturday hosting interviews, panel discussions and the like with some of the game’s biggest figures.
After a long weekend, I’ve picked out my top six takeaways:
- Americans don’t need translating. They have become soccer-linguistic.
MiB have been purveyors of soccer in America for a while now and they know this audience as well as anyone. In a piece written just before the event by Graham Parker (@KidWeil), Davo tells us that his audience no longer needs the game translated for them.
“I always say that in the past, American fans, if they tried to follow global football, were made to feel they were in a lecture theater they were lucky to be in, and they had to keep their hands down and sit at the back and be quiet. And I think what’s changed in the past 10 years – and our show has kind of captured this – is that American football fans feel much more confident. They feel deeply informed, they feel deeply passionate, their support has become a deep part of who they are. And when they come together they want to celebrate this joyous sense of connectivity to the game of football that they all share.” – Davo
- English Premier League, driven by America?
The supreme leader of the Premier League, Richard Scudamore, blessed the U.S. with his presence at #BlazerCon. During his time on stage, he doubled-down on EPL interest in America.
“You can look at China with that huge population, or India with that huge population. But China isn’t into sport the way the United States is, and India has cricket.” – Scudamore
He backed it up with some pretty powerful stats and numbers:
- Pro/Rel isn’t happening under Garber. But, Garber isn’t forever.
Commissioner Garber sat down with the boys to discuss many topics, and he just couldn’t avoid being asked about the likelihood of Pro/Rel in MLS.
- Brands blazed through the Con as fans showed off the goods.
Brands put their best-dressed foot forward for soccer fans at #BlazerCon, and soccer fans rejoiced on social media in return.
(Thomas Pink was on hand to sew on free MiB patches for blazer-dressed attendees.)
(Pies from @DubPies NYC were a must for #BlazerCon)
5. Europe was present but MLS showed up.
GFOA (Great Friend of the Agency) Jonathan Tannenwald was on the premises covering the event for Philly.com. He noticed something special at #BlazerCon: it wasn’t just Europhiles wondering around the convention center, MLS fans were on hand to represent their domestic league. At one point in the article Tannenwald stated, “…I took an unofficial census and found more fans wearing New York City FC gear than Manchester City gear. Not by much, but by enough that I wasn’t the only person who noticed.”
One guy was even fully dressed like Kei Kamara:
And with that presence the lines for talks with people like Alexi Lalas were longer than some of their European counterparts.
6. At the end of the day, the best idea is to just listen.
I believe Tannenwald summed up the event better than anyone, pulling out my favorite insight from all the panels, the talks, and the interviews by saying, “Ask the fans of American soccer. They know more than you might think.”
Connecting with soccer consumers is a complicated and evolving science (and a really fun job, too), as evidenced by #BlazerCon.