CARSON, Calif. – On Sunday, the LA Galaxy will celebrate winning their fourth MLS Cup title, but for all the team’s success on and off the field, Galaxy President Chris Klein believes that greater days are ahead for the club.
At the unveiling of a new sport court for the Carson Boys and Girls Club on Friday, I caught up with Klein for a quick chat on the state of the club.
Check it out below...
LA GALAXY INSIDER: “Chris, what is the state of the team heading into the 2013 season?”
KLEIN: “I think the state of the team is very good. It’s not perfect, obviously, we’re still missing Landon, but I think that the preparation that the team has had has been as good as it can get. We have our home opener which we have to deal with then our focus turns to Champions League. Bruce has been very clear is our initial goal in 2013 is to start better than 2012, which seems simple, but it’s something that the team and group is focused on.”
LAGI: You mentioned the CONCACAF Champions League, just how important is that competition for the team as a brand and on the business side?
KLEIN: “It’s important for us as the Galaxy. There’s no brand or business issue, it’s important for us. Our league and the Galaxy have to establish that we are the best league and the Galaxy has the best team in this region. And that includes being able to complete effectively against Mexican clubs, it’s very simple. We have to establish that we can do that.”
LAGI: You’re heading into the first year without David Beckham. How does that change things for the club?
KLEIN: “I don’t know that it changed things a lot. One thing that we realized that as great as an asset as David was, he helped us to realize what the Galaxy could become—a worldwide brand and something that people wanted to see. Now we’ve taken that torch and continued on. We’re confident that the Galaxy’s best days are ahead of us.”
LAGI: Has there been any impact on business side from Beckham’s absence?
KLEIN: “No, there hasn’t. We’ve had very few people that have called in and said that they don’t want to come to our games because David is not there. That’s not a slight against David; it’s more of a good thing for the Galaxy. People come out to see the Galaxy and to see us win. David was instrumental in helping us win two championships and I think that is where his greatest contribution was.”
LAGI: “Handing that the business side is your primary job now, what is the state of the organization on that front?”
KLEIN: “It’s going very well. Last year, our season ticket holders increased almost 100 percent. We were not where we were supposed to be, but we’re looking to add to that again this year. We have a different approach in terms of relating to the local community. Whether it is [community initiatives] or whether it’s relating to the soccer community or whether it is getting people to come to our games. We want to create an atmosphere that looks and feels like a soccer game that you can see all over the world."
LAGI: “The club has been very aggressive on the marketing side with an outdoor marking campaign across Southern California. How has that impacted the club?
KLEIN: “It helped. Our intention was to be bold with our marketing. We shouldn’t be shy about who we are and who we want to be and that starts at the top with our ownership group with Tim Leiweke and AEG. We’ve won two championships in a row and our expectation is to keep the level very, very high. We have great backing from our owner and I think that’s where it starts. To be able to go out and market the way we do, to have the players that we have, and to have the organization and staff that we have says something about our league and about the Galaxy."
LAGI: “Lastly, what is the discord like between the Galaxy and other organizations about marketing strategies? Do organizations regularly share info on what works in their market with other clubs?
KLEIN: “Absolutely. We can all learn from other organizations. One of the great things about our league is that we’re not too proud to ask for help. If we see something that we think works well, what do they say; imitation is the greatest form of flattery. We’re okay to do that and we’re also very open that if someone sees something that we’re doing that makes sense to them, then we’re happy to share that information with them.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com