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The Daily Dirt, February 5: Can United be Super?

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A sure sign of success in Atlanta

@ATLUTD

You can tell something has grabbed the public’s consciousness in Atlanta when you see people selling t-shirts and hats on street corners in pop-up tents. Yesterday, there were tents of Falcons’ apparel everywhere, celebrating their appearance in tonight’s Super Bowl. It reminded me of the Braves’ early success in 1991 and 1992 when you would see the same. I even remember someone renting out a ballroom at a hotel to sell Braves stuff in 1991.

It was the same during the Olympics in 1996, I remember it during most big concerts at Lakewood Amphitheater. I would usually wait to buy a bootleg t-shirt in the parking lot after the show rather than the expensive one inside. I don’t know if this is typical everywhere, but it’s definitely a sign of something being a big deal in Atlanta.

Atlanta United has definitely grabbed the attention of soccer fans, but can it cross over into the mainstream like other things have? Years ago, I would have said no, but now I’m not so sure. I think season ticket sales have already crossed the threshold of just hardcore soccer fans to get to 27,000+. A great deal of this is due to the involvement of Mr. Atlanta Arthur Blank, but also the branding and building of this club by the front office has set it up for this success.

We will know that Atlanta United is truly a big deal in this city if we see the bootleg t-shirt tents pop up around Bobby Dodd Stadium this spring, or around the city during a playoff run. I didn’t think I’d ever see it happen, but then again, I never thought I’d see the Falcons back in a Super Bowl... and here we are.


Domestic

Clint Dempsey returns for Seattle Sounders in their 1-1 draw against Portland Timbers in preseason (Sounder at Heart)

Columbus Crew are training in Brazil during preseason, they organized a clinic for kids in need in Sao Paulo (official)

20-year-old Panamanian right back to the New York Red Bulls on loan?

MLS begins testing video replay during preseason (MLS)

Handicapping the MLS expansion race (Soccer Stadium Digest)

Indy Eleven ownership seeking long term plan for financial security (Indianapolis Business Journal)

The U.S. Development Academy adds a large number of clubs and teams for 2017-18 (official)

International

Three veterans of Canada’s women’s team say goodbye with a win over Mexico (CBC)

Egypt and Cameroon face off for the African Cup of Nations title (SB Nation)

Local

How did Premier League experience help the Atlanta Falcons reach the Super Bowl? (Independent)