Commentary

Thorny issue forces fast action by NWSL club

By Paul Kennedy

Remember when the Tampa Bay Rowdies orchestrated an entire marketing campaign around -- and introduced soccer as -- a "kick in the grass," helping turn Tampa into a soccer hotbed before the NFL or MLB or NHL came to town.

That was the mid-1970s, different times perhaps.

The Portland Thorns of the new NWSL introduced a T-shirt saying “Feelin’ Thorny?” but the hot-selling item was removed from sale in the Adidas Timbers Team Store at Jeld-Wen Field and online after criticism that the T-shirt was offensive popped up on Facebook.

“A great majority of fans find it funny and in the spirit it was created,” said Mike Golub, chief operating officer of the Portland Timbers who also serves in the same capacity for the Thorns, told the Oregonian.

Golub told the Oregonian that the T-shirt, whose slogan was was thought up by a female employee, was vetted by club employees, but it was removed for sale within a day of the posting of the Facebook page “Discontinue Portland Thorns “Feelin’ Thorny?”

It goes to show Facebook can kill a marketing campaign, just like it can make a marketing campaign.

The Thorns don't look like they'll be hurting, though. They have already sold 6,500 season tickets and are on the way toward becoming the most successful women's pro club launch ever.

GOAL.COM PARTNERS WITH SPORTING NEWS. Perform Group -- which owns among other properties the international soccer web site Goal.com -- and Sporting News are partnering to form a new sports media venture in U.S. and Canadian markets.

The announcement came a day after a report that Sporting News was laying off a dozen reporters and editors, including Brian Straus, who wrote the long article with the (anonymous) criticisms of U.S. national team players about their coach, Jurgen Klinsmann.

A Goal.com editor tweeted on Thursday that his site would be taking over Sporting News' soccer section.

MEDIA NOTES. The Houston Dynamo added writer Tom Dart and anchor/reporters Sebastian Salazar and Sara Eckert to its digital media platforms.

Dart, who will be a featured writer at www.HoustonDynamo.com. spent 12 years at The Times of London before moving to Houston in 2011.

Salazar and Eckert will host and report for Dynamo TV, the club's official YouTube channel.

ORLANDO EXPANSION. USL PRO's Orlando City tweeted that it wants to be announced as an MLS expansion by the end of the year.
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2 comments about "Thorny issue forces fast action by NWSL club".
  1. Eric Schmitt, March 29, 2013 at 10:05 a.m.

    Brian Straus: (sniff sniff) Smell that? that's karma.

  2. Tim King, March 29, 2013 at 11:11 a.m.

    Thorns and their management need to stand up to a few conservative idiots that try and kill a benign campaign. I doubt those objecting even attend Portland matches.Thorn supporters should shove it down their throats with their own t-shirt; "Find my Feeling Thorny t-shirt offensive? Fuck you!"

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