Toronto FC SSH Ticket Delivery Day – Or What Have The Marketing Folk Come Up With This Year?

Subtle.

Subtle.

Early yesterday morning the word went out on Twitter that this year’s SSH tickets were being delivered – which for me means the season has actually begun.  I know, I know, they’ve played four games; but if you haven’t seen your team live for months and don’t have tickets in front of you, then it still feels a little less real.  There is something exciting about receiving the tickets every year, and breaking open the box or cannister or whatever they’ve packaged them in, to see what this year’s scarf looks like and what the tickets look like and so forth.   I was one of the lucky ones that was on yesterday’s list of SSH deliveries and well, the package is an interesting one this year.  As you can see in the first picture they’re really hanging their hat on the ‘Come On You Reds’ and the red thread concepts aren’t they?  Now the scarf itself has a bit of a split personality:

Red and Onyx scarf

As you can see the flip side is a half scarf of red and onyx.  On the onyx (I’m just going to call it the grey, OK?), on the grey side there are nine little maple leafs – get it, nine for nine seasons – clever.  And then on the red side – where you’d expect the club badge to be – is simply a stylized ‘T’.  Out of everything else that I may find off about the scarf, this actually bothers me a fair bit.  What’s a football scarf for your club without the badge?  This is the first scarf to not have the badge on it at all – even the all red and white badge from a few years back was superior to this.  Nowhere on this scarf does it say Toronto FC or even just TFC; nowhere.   This club’s identity isn’t so easily recognized that leaving the badge or the club name off of it is in any way a good idea.  Especially if left off in favour of a stadium chant that is more famously associated with a club across the pond.

In fact I consider this to be a serious misstep – for a club that is striving to regain fan confidence and is spending a ton of time and energy in promoting the supporter culture, to leave both the club name and badge off of the one thing you want your fans to wear each week.  It’s an odd hiding of, or even ignoring the club identity.   Is there a rebrand in the works, did they think it wasn’t cool to have any actual identifiers?  I don’t get it.   In my modest collection of football scarves (club, country and other) there is not a single scarf – regardless of where in the world or what league the scarf is from – that doesn’t at least have the club badge on it.  Not one.  So this above all is my concern with the scarf and it’s highly doubtful that I will wear it; to games or otherwise.

All For

Can’t forget the All For One

On to the next part of the package.  What at first I thought was a braided red thread with the same stylized ‘T’ that has taken the place of the badge hanging from it, in fact turned out to be something more like a bungee cord as you can see above and below:

T close up

But wait, there’s more!  This bungee with the fancy T is something else all together.  In fact it’s something you’re supposed to wear.  How you ask?  The answer is in the next picture:

Sport Your Support?  What's next, free tattoos?

Sport Your Support? What’s next, free tattoos?

Band of Allegiance; excuse me, the exclusive TFC Band of Allegiance.  It’s actually called that.  On purpose.  Apparently intended for adults to wear and everything. The mind boggles as to where this came from.  Why not just include TFC friendship bracelets?  And I’m half serious when I say that – actual thread would be involved as opposed to something I’m more inclined to use to keep a cupboard closed.   I spend a lot of time railing against the constant focus on marketing and razzle-dazzle from our club but I have to question who’s coming up with some of these ideas.  The tickets themselves are a little more subdued  – you can see the top of one in the above picture – and have sketches of the players instead of photos or odd groupings of local fans on each ticket.  But my favourite is a slightly deranged looking Bitchy the Hawk on the ticket for the Voyageurs Cup match:

Bitchy

Voyageurs Caaaawp!

So there you have it folks, this year’s Season Seat Holder package.  I’m happy to have my tickets but to me this is not their finest hour.  Maybe try some crowd-sourcing next year guys; talk to those supporters and fans you’re so busy appreciating this month and seriously, don’t leave the badge off the scarf again OK?  Seriously, not cool.

Kristin Knowles

Author: Kristin Knowles

Raised on basketball and baseball, Kristin soon saw the error of her ways when enrolled in a local football league as a child. Geography dictated she choose TFC as her team and ten years later she's still yet to flee the city. Cynically optimistic, she now channels her inner hooligan by singing random pop songs and making poor puns in the stands. May contain adult content. Find me on the internet machine @kzknowles

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6 Comments

  1. Wow, that is a weird scarf. I usually like the SSH scarf because it’s always a bit understated and classy, compared to the retail ones. But that huge “Come on you Reds” is just hideous.

    I like the band – my wife has something like that from a fancy shop in NYC, where the clasp is an anchor (since it’s more like a nautical rope). But calling it the “Band of Allegiance” is really cheeseball. When you put it on, do you swear allegiance to TFC?

    Every year the marketing for TFC gets worse, and I hate that they are trying to force this fake sense of banding together in support of TFC bullshit on us. TFC should be thankful they have enough fans who look past this stuff and keep watching the games. I’m never going to yell out “Come on you Reds”, or “All for One”, because TFC tells me to, but I can still be a huge fan that watches every game, follows all the news and transfers and reads tons of blogs about the team. Not everyone has to fit into the supporter scene that they are now making corporate with this type of marketing. Fan support should be organic like it was in 2007, when the city was buzzing about the atmosphere at BMO Field. But now everyone can be a supporter with their official “Come on you Reds” scarf and Band of Alligiance (TM) – as long as they shell out for season tickets of course.

    End of rant-I hope for a better team eventually that creates its own support based on good performances on the field. The fans deserve it!

    Post a Reply
    • Kristin Knowles

      Excellent rant sir – thank you! ‘I pledge allegiance to TFC. And to the threads that bind us all to it. One fanbase, under MLSE, united in the south stands, with half scarves and bands for all.’

      They’re really pushing the ‘Come On You Reds’ as the thing this year – but yes, a bit obnoxious. I would like the band better if it weren’t a bungee cord and not called Band of Allegiance! So ham-fisted in my opinion. The marketing is really forced this year – the southend supporters, the COYR, the thread! We’ve talked about the need to let the support be organic so many times. They are very much trying to force the atmosphere and try to create what they consider to be their ideal. All the SGs in the south, the overwhelming (and kind of obnoxious) blanketing of the SGs all over the site, the videos and so on. And yet they leave the badge and club name off of the scarf? Just wrong.

      If they would just focus on the team. That’s all they really need to do. That’s their job! If they want to build support, then build a better team. Fans are so jaded after the last eight years – the core that keep coming back are just waiting for them to give us something to cheer for. When the product on the pitch matches the product in their advertising then the atmosphere will return.

      Post a Reply
      • I whole-heartedly agree. I would be fine if they would just market the team using the players’ images and logos – that’s the part of the team that I care about. All the other stuff can come naturally from the fans. Cheers!

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  2. Duncan Fletcher

    well, I enjoy the bitchy thing. haven’t picked up my tickets yet so am intrigued to see the others.

    band of allegiance is an absolutely horrendous idea. I’m probably not the target audience, but I’m struggling to figure out who the target audience is. who would actually wear that? are we supposed to take it seriously in any way? baffling.

    as for the scarf, I won’t be wearing that. the lack of badge is definitely curious. as for the come on you reds thing, it’s weird how hard they’re pushing that on twitter and their podcast and now the scarf. Has that ever actually been a chant? don’t ever remember hearing it at bmo field.
    ah well, nice that there’s one area that this wretched club can be consistent and prolific.

    Post a Reply
    • Kristin Knowles

      The other tickets tend to feature the players looking very angry and yelly. But manly; no kids on these tickets!

      Has it been a chant? Well I’ve certainly heard it; but the leaning on it is getting to be way too much. Yep, we can always count on TFC to make poor marketing decisions. Yay for consistency!

      Post a Reply
  3. just got the scarf at goodwill today and thought it was Toronto FC when I saw the T 🙂

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