July 4th Celebrations

Independence Day is typically a big event in Major League Soccer and teams around the league hope to extend the celebration across three days with a loaded slate of games coming this weekend.  Most teams work their July 4th matches around fireworks shows and thus bring big crowds to their stadiums.  This year, the league’s broadcast partners join the fun, with a crammed schedule of nationally telecast games.  Fox Soccer starts things off at 7:00 on Saturday with a live broadcast from RFK.  Galavision joins at 10:00 from the Home Depot Center for Chivas v. Chicago.  At 10:30, ESPN2 offers San Jose/New York from Stanford Stadium.

The national telecasts continue on Sunday night, as the Rapids host their annual pyrotechnic show and soccer game combination.  ESPN2 will be at ESG Park.  On July 4th, ESPN2 will host an MLS doubleheader, starting at Rio Tinto and a rare national appearance for New England. The Worldwide Leader’s 4 games in three nights finishes back in Los Angeles with strong Galaxy/Sounders matchup.  These games promise big crowds and great atmosphere.  July 4th is the league’s annual opportunity to make a statement.

As is typically the case, the home teams are doing something special for Independence Day, starting with San Jose bringing its match to larger capacity Stanford Stadium (and adding pyrotechnics).  The Rapids are adding kids shows, concerts and fireworks to their Sunday night match.  RSL is not putting on a fireworks show (they are saving that for later in the month), but are handing out posters to the first 10k through the door and are retiring Jason Kries’ number.  The Galaxy will debut their 3rd jersey on the 4th and will put on a post game fireworks show.  Two days earlier, State Farm will present a similar show at the Home Depot Center.

4 Responses

  1. I have mixed feelings about this. MLS still creating a Mickey Mouse atmosphere, albeit once a year. Probably no harm but it would be interesting to poll attendees (note I did not say soccer fans) to see who would actually return to see a regular season match after seeing the game/fireworks combo. We will have finally arrived when the league average is 20,000 (w/ sold out sub-20k venues) and season ticket sales are near capacity. Of course, you’d have to sell New England to an owner who cares.

  2. Calling these activities a Mickey Mouse atmosphere makes it sound demeaning. Leagues that make more money (like the NFL and MLB) also do fireworks shows, or otherwise tie their game to some other event. MLS is an American league and should be recognizable to American sports culture.

    As long as the game itself remains untouched, it makes little difference whether there are postgame fireworks, music acts or pub crawls.

  3. Yes. You’re right. The game at Stanford is completely untouched, what with the gridiron lines and hash marks torched into the grass. The people in the stands should be there for the soccer, nothing else. The Fourth of July “crowd” is just an annual spike in the attendance figures. It’s totally Mickey Mouse.

  4. I’m surprised by this reaction. Dave L is correct, most MLB teams do firewords shows….it is part of the holiday.

    This is no different than bringing Man U in for a friendly. You hope that a few folks come for Man U or the fireworks, and leave with a four game pack, a jersey and a foam finger.

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