A friendly between Mexico‘s Guadalajara Chivas and Brazil’s Cruzeiro drew 15,000 fans to the Sun Bowl, fueling more El Paso MLS talk.
The Sun Bowl was spruced up for the friendly with a real grass pitch (replacing the artificial turf used for UTEP football) and promoted heavily by MountainStar Sports, which owns the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas. It was promoted by MLS as well through its Sports United Marketing marketing arm.
Now, a crowd of 15,000 may not seem impressive. But the argument goes that the crowd shows some deep interest in El Paso soccer, and the region’s demographics would seem to bear this out. If an El Paso MLS team can consistently draw crowds like this to a new downtown stadium, the proposal would seem to be worthy of discussion. In any case, MountainStar Sports is declaring victory:
“This is a very positive, incredibly energetic, knowledgeable fan base,” consultant Rick Horrow said of the 15,171 spectators who had the West side of the Sun Bowl and much of the North endzone reasonably full for a late Sunday game at the end of a holiday weekend. “There are intense soccer fans in El Paso. The bigger issue for me is it sends a strong signal to the MLS that El Paso is definitely in the game.
“This event serves as a catalyst and a kickoff, similar to Oklahoma City when they got the (NBA’s) Thunder, Memphis when they got the (NBA’s) Grizzlies, Columbus with the (NHL’s) Blue Jackets, Kansas City with (MLS’s) Sporting Kansas City,” Horrow said. “An event like this is a critical starting effort.”…
“The crowd made a positive impression on the MLS representatives,” said MountainStar president Alan Ledford.
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