On Sunday the New York Red Bulls beat local enemies NYCFC 3-1 in the second installation of the New York derby. Having won home and away against NYCFC, Red Bulls fans believe they are the team that dominates New York. Despite losing, NYCFC’s fans believe their team is the real New York team. So who is right?
In a recent twitter competition, Red Bulls and NYCFC fans voted to see which team is loved most in New York. The Red Bulls have been established for 20 years, but lost the poll to the team founded this year. The poll resulted in the Empire State Building illuminating blue, NYCFC colors ahead of the derby. How can a new team in New York be more popular than a team that represented the city’s soccer alone for 20 years?
The Red Bulls play in New Jersey. The New York Red Bulls do not have New Jersey in their title, but play all of their home matches in Harrison, New Jersey. For soccer fans living in New York City, it is easier to get to Yankee Stadium than Red Bull Arena.
Attendances have decreased at Red Bull Arena for two reasons. New Yorkers can now watch games in New York City, and the Red Bulls lack a star player after Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill left the club. These are two reasons why attendances have decreased this season at Red Bull Arena.
New Yorkers are likely to vote for a New York team, because they are New Yorkers. New Yorkers are proud and stubborn. In baseball, Yankees fans boast to Boston fans about their number of championships. New York fans have proudly claimed NYCFC as their own because the Red Bulls will represent New Jersey as long as their stadium is in New Jersey. New Yorkers are territorial and boastful, and that’s why many soccer fans in New York voted for NYCFC in the twitter poll.
Should the Red Bulls be worried? Although their team has beaten NYCFC twice, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo will make that achievement more difficult in the future. In order to remain on top of New York, the Red Bulls need to sign some serious talent.
It has been easy for NYCFC to gain fans, because they market themselves as the real New York team. The Red Bulls have done nothing to try to stop fans from changing allegiances. I do not know what they can do, but there have not been any marketing strategies to keep fans supporting the Red Bulls. The Red Bulls need to develop a strategy in this area; otherwise they will lose more fans to NYCFC.
The Red Bulls currently sit in fourth place of the MLS Eastern Conference, six points ahead of local rivals NYCFC. After winning two games in a row, the Red Bulls have found their form at a crucial point in the season. Despite their better placing in the standings now, it looks like the Red Bulls are set to lose more fans in the near future. If the Red Bulls are running New York this season, who will run it next season?