When a Brazilian ownership group purchased the Fort Lauderdale Strikers earlier this year, they promised to class the place up, add some buzz, and bring some recognition to the constantly-battling-to-stay-relevant NASL team.
Damn if they didn't deliver on that promise quickly.
Brazilian soccer legend and two-time World Cup champion Ronaldo joined the Fort Lauderdale Strikers ownership group last week, and people took notice -- even those who weren't one-hundred-percent sure the Fort Lauderdale Strikers still existed.
So in a sense, mission accomplished, people took notice; Ronaldo is a name. Let's be serious, however -- people will forget about the Strikers tomorrow if they don't continue to get their name in the news.
The Florida Panthers attendance this season has been putrid. The Miami Marlins continue to rank near the bottom of the MLB in attendance, even after building a brand-spanking-new state-of-the-art stadium. Even the Heat and Dolphins struggle at times when the team is struggling.
So how in the world can the Strikers capture a tiny piece of the South Florida entertainment dollar market? It won't be easy, but here are some ideas.
5. Move Strikers games from of Lockhart Stadium to a much nicer facility, such as FAU Stadium.
Biggest problem here: Lockhart Stadium is just not a place you are going to draw new and excited fans to; it's just not going to happen. The Strikers could explore moving to a place like FAU Stadium, located on the FAU campus in Boca Raton, or a similar facility of that nature that is capable of seating 5,000 or so fans. FAU Stadium seats 30,000 people, has hosted games such as USA vs. Honduras recently, and is an area that is used to hosting sports events much larger than a Strikers game, so it could work.
4. Utilize and involve Ronaldo's business partners, like UFC legend Anderson Silva
Ronaldo co-owns a Brazil-based agency with mixed martial artist Anderson Silva, who is nearing the end of his fighting career in the UFC, which means soon he will have lots of time to participate in different projects.
The UFC has notoriously refused to send its events to South Florida due to the lack of ticket sales, so why not draw in a segment of that crowd with events and appearance from some of their favorite fighters? Rafael Nadal, UFC champion Junior Cigano and Everton Ribeiro, a midfielder for Cruzeiro, also have stakes in Ronaldo's agency; so their is opportunities to capitalize on some of those people's popularity.