A day after word came out from the Houston Dynamo's front office that they were looking to own a team in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), they upped the ante even more and asked fans to start purchasing season tickets. In an unconventional move, the team began offering a $25 deposit on season tickets - with the caveat that if a team does not come to Houston, those purchasers would get their money back. There is no ‘magic number' that would guarantee a team, but they are hoping to selling around 4,500 tickets.
This entire scenario raises a more interesting question about pre-selling tickets for a team that doesn't exist. Can you really create a fan base for a team that doesn't exist?
Fans fall in love with a team for a lot of different reasons - love of a certain player (or players), the coach, and the style that the team plays. Sometimes it's even as simple as a cool logo or great team colors. But at this point, Houston has none of these things. Fans are being asked to support and love a team simply because it is there. You love the sport and you live in Houston, so come love a theoretical team.
If you look at social media, Twitter in particular, you may find that they already have the support. The last two days have been filled with fans proudly stating that they have already put down their money for season tickets. In Houston #NWSLinHouston was even a top trend locally. It would seem that Houston wants a women's soccer team to support, and it doesn't really matter who is on it or where it comes from.
Yes, the Dynamo have confirmed that they have been in talks with the Houston Aces as the potential team, but nothing definite has happened. Many fans are hoping that they will be the team to represent Houston in the NWSL. The team has stated since its creation that it wants into the league, but who knows if partnering with the Dynamo is the best way for them to accomplish that. Their first season in Women's Premier League was a rocky one that saw them rebound in 2013 to win the Big Sky South region and bow out in the semi-finals of the playoffs. Promoting such a team may be the fastest means to an end for the Dynamo - they already have a fan base that would be merged with fans who just want an NWSL team, and the Dynamo fans that officials are hoping will buy into a team.
But now that they have stirred up support, they have to be careful not to lose it. To draw from an MLS example look at Toronto FC. They had an amazing fan base when the team was added to the league, but the team has turned into such a disastrous dumpster fire that there are more tarps over seats than there are fans in them. Given the job that the front office has done with the Dynamo, it is hard to see this happening - but we also don't know how things will work in the office if they have two teams to handle. Speculation is that they would follow the model set out by the Portland Timbers when they created the NWSL's Thorns.
Don't get me wrong, if I lived in Houston, they would already have my $25 in their hot little hands. If you are all about Houston having a team then make sure you get in now and put down a deposit on season tickets.
So now that you have made me love a team that doesn't exist, you better not screw this up Houston.