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

A sure sign of success in Atlanta


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.


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