July 4th is around the corner and the holiday has traditionally been a significant attendance event for Major League Soccer. There was a time when the league tried to “claim” the holiday by scheduling prominent match-ups and nationally televised games for Independence Day. The league abandoned this approach last year. Brad Purcell, the league’s VP of Club Services told us the following about the change in 2012: “We generally have very strong crowds on or around the 4th of July and the atmosphere was there; however, looking at the ratings from last year, we decided not to do as many games around the 4th this year.”
This year the league has loaded games on July 3, with a slate of five games and added three games on Independence Day. No team has focused on July 4th like the Colorado Rapids and that promotion continues this year with the 18th annual 4th Fest. There will be bands, events for children, give-aways to the first 15k fans through the gate and a premium opponent in the form of the New York Red Bulls. There will also be zip lines, face painting and the whole event is presented by Westerra Credit Union. The Rapids will continue the festivities on Sunday with Military Appreciation Night against DC United with another fireworks display. The event will also feature cross promotions with other local sports franchises. According to the official description of the event. “In addition to the Rapids, the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Mammoth, Denver Broncos, and Colorado Rockies will participate in a series of interactive demonstrations that will highlight the various fundamental aspects of each sports. In addition, Xportiva will feature team mascots, cheerleaders and alumni present to meet with fans for autographs and pictures.”
Dating back to the Mile High era, the Rapids have managed to own the holiday, with big crowds, big events and big results. The 4th is a perfect holiday for MLS and Rapids have provided the blueprint of how teams can capture crowds during Independence Day.
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