This isn’t a surprise: In June MountainStar Sports officials met with MLS to discuss the possibility of landing one of the expansion franchises planned for coming years. A good crowd at a friendly held at the Sun Bowl indicated support for professional soccer in the area, and MountainStar Sports has followed up with an official website and Facebook page. The new site offers background information on why El Paso, Juarez, and the Borderplex make an ideal location for MLS, and it gives viewers the opportunity to connect to the official Facebook page. A Twitter campaign built around #BRINGITMLS has been launched as well.
“We are excited to invite the entire region to participate in marketing the El Paso, Juarez, and Las Cruces area to MLS. Getting everyone involved via the website and organically through their own postings and use of the hashtag will help further MountainStar’s efforts with MLS to bring professional soccer to the region’s fan base,” said Alan Ledford, President of MountainStar Sports Group, in a press release. “This is the fastest and easiest way for the region to officially demonstrate its support of MLS in the Borderplex.”
Ledford said civic backing from public officials and business leadership is critical, but equally essential are the voices of the existing fan base in El Paso, Juarez, and Las Cruces. “Our Borderplex region represents the largest metro area in North America without a professional sports team affiliated with the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, or MLS,” he said. “MLS is watching and we are confident that the passion our region has for the game will be demonstrated. Now, more than ever, we need supporters to show their enthusiasm online through their social media outlets. We hope everyone will sign up, speak up and follow BRINGITMLS.”
There remains one piece of the puzzle left unaddressed by this PR effort: a facility. The international friendly was held at the Sun Bowl, which doesn’t meet any of the MLS criteria for an expansion team. With other cities — Las Vegas, Sacramento, Minneapolis, San Antonio — lining up with bids featuring new or renovated facilities, the facilities issue will be a key one for MountainStar Sports to address down the line. But MountainStar Sports bucked the odds in getting city funding for a new El Paso Chihuahuas ballpark. In the meantime, we’ll see if the PR campaign catches the eye of MLS.