First It Was Stadiums, Now It’s The Actual Team

The Austrian company that makes and markets Red Bull has purchased Major League Soccer’s Metro Stars.
The New York Times provides some background on the deal.

Red Bull, which has its North American headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., bought the SV Wüstenrot Salzburg club last year and renamed it SV Red Bull Salzburg. After a change of management and an infusion of money, the once-struggling team is now in second place in Austria’s first division. (Red Bull also sponsors a racing team that will begin competing in Nascar next year.)
The MetroStars are operated by the Anschutz Entertainment Group, which also runs four other M.L.S. teams (D.C. United, Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles). In the past few years, M.L.S. officials said one of their goals was to reduce A.E.G.’s holdings to a single team. The MetroStars remain one of the league’s worst teams, having never played for the championship as the league prepares for the start of its 11th season. In addition, while other league teams have succeeded in persuading local governments to help finance their projects, the MetroStars have struggled to build a soccer stadium in Harrison, N.J.
The MetroStars Red Bulls open the season at D.C. United on April 2.

Adfreak’ s Tim Nudd does not like the idea of a team named the New York Red Bulls. “It’s asinine,” he said.
But is it? Aren’t sports steams just entertainment brands owned by corporations primarly interested in revenue?



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.