How serious is this Cascadia Cup trademarking issue to the affected supporters groups? It’s forcing us to be nice to each other on the Internet.
To each other.
On the Internet.
Yeah…it’s THAT serious!
You might think I’m joking here, but this is something of a milestone. The amount of smack-talk, trolling, pouring glasses of Haterade, or whatever the kids call it these days, has plummeted ever since Major League Soccer quietly snuck into Canada to attempt a claim on the rights to the words “Cascadia” and “Cup.” (Of course, the Sounders no longer having Montero and Levesque on their roster ain’t helping, either, but I digress.)
Naturally, being the tech-savvy Pacific Northwesterners that we are, word got out about this power grab. (Did MLS assume our membership forbid lawyers or the use of Google Alerts?) The respective supporters groups checked their meeting notes, found no mention of any conversations with MLS about this issue, consulted with each other, and immediately threw the collective red flag.
Now we have an off-season quickly turning into pre-season, and bitter rival supporters groups are forced to…*gulp*…work together and fight the man.
If you happen to associate with me by some means (Twitter, Facebook, marriage, etc.), you’re probably familiar with my occasional mockery of our rivals. Some of it is witty. Some of it is stupid. Some of it crosses the line. Some of it should’ve just hit the cutting room floor. But it’s what I do. It’s a part of who I am. I have good friends who are Sounders fans, and I would take a bullet for them, but even they understand that it’s a part of the rivalry process. It’s bigger than us, and who are we to go against it?
If it weren’t for this Cascadia Cup trademark issue, I could spend the next few weeks helping my fellow supporters get amped up for our first game against Seattle on March 16th. I have no way of proving this theory, but I believe in my heart-of-hearts that some of this rivalry ramp-up among supporters carries over into our team’s locker room (we know they occasionally check the hashtags, see the memes, Diskin’s rad artwork, etc.). Some of the players have been here long enough to know how this regional rivalry business goes down.
That nasty ramp-up time creates an atmosphere that league officials and network TV executives salivate over. It’s a solid week of YouTube videos, TV commercials, offensive memes, two-stick prep, tifo-making and liver-testing that helps this league advance into the next level. By going after the one thing that we three supporters groups focus a large portion of our respective energies on (in a very sneaky fashion, mind you), MLS managed to undercut that bitter rivalry atmosphere that they sell to advertisers and turn our collective focus onto their Manhattan headquarters.
When it comes to never forgetting even the most trivial of things, US soccer supporters groups rank just behind bitter divorcing trophy wives with high-powered attorneys and major assets to mull over. Not only do we three supporters groups remember the past, we celebrate it. We go to great lengths to honor our collective history, one that goes back to the 1970’s, which (if my math is correct) has a bit more historical timeline to it than MLS itself.
If we wanted to attach a corporate sponsor’s name to the Cascadia Cup, we’d have done it already. Why didn’t we do that already? Probably because we have something people refer to as “integrity.” It’s not about money for us, it’s about pride. Pride in our respective clubs. Pride in the Cascadia region. Pride in the sport itself. Pride in a trophy that was funded by individual supporters across the region who handed over any small bills and change they could spare at the time. If MLS Commissioner Don Garber thinks we’re going to forget about this fiasco, especially during the week leading up to the March 16 match, by plowing the league’s largest and loudest supporters groups with tricked out TV spots and league-created fluff pieces about the I-5 rivalry, he’s going to be disappointed.
Mr. Garber, the phone lines of the Cascadia Cup Council are open. They’ve even got some email addresses you can write to. A civil tone can be achieved here. Trust me…you don’t want the alternative. Have you not learned anything from when Noah’s Arcade attached its name to Wayne’s World?
(The clip linked above is kinda not safe for work, as it features the demeaning of a corporate type via use of assumed sexual characteristics written on the back of note cards…but whatever, you’ve already seen it over 50 times.)
This is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the 107ist or the TA.