A graphic from the Harrisburg City Islander's David Beckham promotion.
When it was announced that David Beckham was set to join the Los Angeles Galaxy, it sent shockwaves to all corners of the sporting world. This news gave every Major League Soccer team a new reason to market an already growing league: Beckham is coming. Joe Sierko, the General Manager of the USL Second Division’s Harrisburg City Islanders, wondered how his team could benefit from “Beckhamania.”
The City Islanders, a team entering their fourth year as a USL franchise, decided to sell tickets for a potential US Open Cup match against David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy. The cost of the tickets would $1. The catch? Both clubs still have yet to qualify for the 2007 tournament, and even if they do, the chance of the two clubs squaring off are rather slim.
“As far as we know, this is the first time that a ticket has been sold for an event that is very unlikely to ever occur and certainly hasn’t even been scheduled,” said Sierko.
This begs the question, why would someone buy a ticket to a game that might not happen?
The plan is that if the game does occur, then everyone who bought a ticket will receive one admission to the match which, needless to say, will be the hottest ticket in town. If the game does not end up happening, then 100% of the money earned from the ticket sales will be donated, in the name of David Beckham, to the Harrisburg Parks Partnership which helps the Harrisburg Department of Parks and Recreation in the development and maintenance of parks and city playgrounds throughout the state capital.
“We have sold over 1,000 tickets to date and will continue to sell up to the limit of 5,000 as long as the dream stays alive,” said Sierko.
The dream will end as soon as the Galaxy or the City Islanders are eliminated from the Open Cup. Los Angeles has one more qualifying game to play against the New York Red Bulls. If they win, they are in.
Harrisburg’s first six games of the season double as cup qualifiers. If they are among the Second Division teams to get in, they would need to win two games in the tournament to advance to the Third Round and hope that US Soccer grants their wish to face off with the Galaxy when the draw occurs.
The goal of the fundraiser is not only to raise money, but also to get people excited about the club, the US Open Cup and soccer in general.
“We should do whatever we can to continue to grow the sport and get into the vision of casual fans,” said Sierko. “Hopefully, more people will become aware of the Open Cup because of Beckham because I am confident that once they are aware, they will be intrigued by the concept.”
To find out more information about buying tickets for the “Beckham Match”, visit the Harrisburg City Islanders official website.