Live From Kansas City

mlsIt is All-Star Wednesday in Kansas City, KS.  I will put some of my observations here, but it will be a Twitter heavy night.  The team has done an outstanding job working the City to promote the All-Star experience.  The downtown area is fully branded with sidewalk paintings, lights, posters and more.  From the airport to the trendy Power & Light District, Kansas City  seemingly embraced the All-Star spectacle in full.  The last two years of this event featured venues in big Eastern Cities where the game barely registered among the sporting population.  In Kansas city, the local papers, television stations and cab drivers were eager to discuss the match.

From a sponsorship/branding standpoint, the All-Star Game is the biggest moment of the league season.  With the Final no longer at a neutral site, the ASG is the one chance MLS’ major sponsors have to activate around an event planned months in advance, with time to stage and an opportunity to bring VIP’s to a major event. As part of that process, a number of the League’s sponsors activated through the Soccer Celebration held across the street from Sporting Park.  A number of the biggest sponsors had prominent booths with giveaways, games and brand marked items.  Among the most impressive displays came courtesy of Continental Tire (also the only brand to use “sexy” as part of their promotional effort).  Continental had a great give-away (branded scarves) and the most creative display of its products.

Tomorrow I will write about Sporting Park.  Suffice to say it is a wonderful facility and hopefully a model for the new stadiums that will be built as the expansion franchises enter the league.