Fort Lauderdale and Ronaldo – Not enough bang for the buck?



Fort Lauderdale made a big announcement on Thursday. But if you missed it or thought it was poorly executed you are far from alone. Unlike the lightning precision with which similarly big items are unveiled in Major League Soccer or even by other NASL clubs, the Strikers made a mess of things. But it was not all the fault of the club.

The Strikers wisely allowed SI’s Grant Wahl to break the news on Fox Sports 1 during a Europa League pregame show. At that point however, no other media had an embargoed press release or statement from the club. With this in mind, the club either should have let the news simmer for several hours (or even for days) or have a release and/or social media presence ready immediately. But instead the club sent out a release two hours later, and did not update Facebook, Twitter or the website until about 20-25 minutes after the press release was issued. By that time the initial story was running its course, but the timing of the release was not spaced far enough from the initial release to create a second wave of enthusiasm. But maybe this was not entirely the club’s fault.

It is worth noting that like the Raul announcement by the New York Cosmos the day before, many MLS-oriented soccer blogger mocked the Ronaldo news even though some of these same individuals will overstate the importance of any signings or news from Major League Soccer. While some of this can be attributed the accessibility of the MLS product vis a vis the NASL and the rhetorical barbs delivered by NASL side, much of it is just plain blissful ignorance.

I found it remarkable that many bloggers sought to debate me on Wednesday night about the value of some MLS signings like Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane when compared to Raul. But a narrative has been played out among many bloggers that NASL is irrelevant This is a personal choice that some writers can make, but at least be honest in making the argument I would contend rather than somehow claiming Keane, Defoe or some other journeyman European club player that MLS suddenly signs is more important than one of the greatest players in the history of the world’s biggest club. I should not that mainstream print writers like Wahl, the excellent Brian Strauss, Jeff Carlisle and others do not engage in this game. It is almost strictly speaking a blogger problem, which has exemplified the laziness of many who write about the sport in this country.

But did Fort Lauderdale panic after numerous messes in terms of public perception thanks to the letter from former Coach
Günter Kronsteiner and the statements of several now-former players on social media? It is worth nothing this club played in the NASL final just a month ago today, and could have had a very strong returning core of a team. But the new ownership has decided to go in another direction which is after all a right when you invest to buy a football club. Still at the NASL level, it is difficult to find accomplished players the Strikers seem poised to part company with many who have been successful in this league.

Fans may not be happy with the offseason thus far in Fort Lauderdale. But Ronaldo coming into the club is potentially big deal if he is hands on and can bring more sponsorship and recognition to the club in the local southeast Florida market.