Last night the US Men played the Czech Republic in our backyard before more than 36k. Because we were at the game last night, we thought we would revisit some of the business aspects of the match in East Hartford. The total attendance was extremely impressive and the crowd was dominated by fans of the American team. The crowd was an interesting mix of 20 somethings, youth soccer teams, soccer fans and locals out for the unique experience.
The price point was quite high for tickets, but that didn’t prevents fans from turning out in big numbers. The parking lots were open 4 hours before game time and filled quickly with tailgaters and early arrivals. Stadium prices were high; a hamburger, fries and water cost $14. Beers were selling for $10 for a 10oz draft and parking was $15 a car.
Stadium signage included the usual USSF sponsors, including Castrol, Gatorade, Jose Cuervo and others. McDonald’s sponsored the pre-game ceremonies with all 22 kids involved with the starting lineups wearing shirts with the Golden Arches. The new Nike commerical ran at least twice in the stadium in its entirety and the ESPN feed ran throughout the game on the big screen.
Coverage in the local media was fairly extensive, especially after the game. Most of the major networks ran multiple stories following the game both as part of their news coverage and sports reporting. The local paper, the Hartford Courant ran photos of the game on both the front page and sports page, but pregame coverage in the paper was lacking. The local ESPN affiliate broadcast its drive time show from the stadium, and guests included Sunil Gulati and Alexi Lalas.
Overall it was great night for the Greater Hartford area and a great audition for a future games with US Soccer. The US Women will be in East Hartford in July.