Casey H. Moore

From space to the underground: LA Galaxy and Kicks to the Pitch

On September 12th Stevie G’s LA Galaxy took on Didier Drogba’s Monteal Impact. It would be the first time the pair would meet since their time playing in England last season. Of course there would be kind words and hugs but it isn’t what happened on the pitch that was special, it was actually a rather dull 0-0 draw, but what happened before it. Before the MLS Galaticos faced off the Galaxy had teamed up with streetwear/soccer site Kicks to the Pitch (KttP) to create an event called “Locker Room of Legends”. This would bring together fans of sneakers, graffiti, music and the LA Galaxy with artists and club legends.

“We didn’t have Phase2. We had Slick, Heck, Skill, Risk. Real reps, the street made do.” – Evidence

Now this combination of street and soccer isn’t new, but big brands and MLS embracing it is. Legendary LA rapper Evidence, of Dilated Peoples fame, once said that LA didn’t have Phase2, influential NYC graffiti originator, but they did have graffiti legends Slick and Risk. It just so happens that it was Slick that KttP reached out to design the artwork for the Galaxy event. Risk on the other hand is the artist that another Gilt Edge client the when working with the Special Olympics.

It is hard to imagine the underground hip-hop scene being used to reach consumers during the birth of MLS where families came first and things seemed to be coated in sugar and rules that only made sense to Americans (penalties to decide regular season matches anyone?). But at some point in the past 20 years something needed to change; soccer started to resonate with the youth who would rather listen to Lil’ Wayne than One Direction.

Sports marketing teams haven’t ever really been the best at reaching out to the youth and coming across authentic. That is where blogs and websites like KttP, 8by8 magazine, Green Soccer Journal, etc. comes into play. Working together you can insert your white collar, no bother, brand into a world where some won’t tread. You can work with artists who make controversial statements about the establishment. You can hire rappers to endorse your brand and maybe even create the new underground anthem for your club.

When speaking to anyone authenticity is key. Especially when you are working their culture, their livelihood, into your marketing plan. Don’t think you need to handle the entire load on your own because there are more than enough people in the culture looking to make a name for themselves by working for a large name. Galaxy walked into the underground and ended up with a hit event that can be replicated and can bring influencers from fashion and hip-hop into the soccer world.

Simply put, when walking in uncertain territory to doesn’t hurt to seek the influencers to help you fit in and tread lighter.



Categories: Domestic, Experiential, Major League Soccer