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November 15, 2018

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Ray Brewer: From the Pressbox

ray brewer:

Las Vegas Lights a great addition to our sports landscape

Image

Steve Marcus

Fans celebrate a Las Vegas Lights FC goal against the Reno 1868 FC at Cashman Field Saturday, March 24, 2018.

Las Vegas Lights vs Reno 1868

Las Vegas Lights' Miguel Angel Garduno (33) jumps for a header during a game against Reno 1868 FC at Cashman Field Saturday, March 24, 2018. Launch slideshow »

Many youth soccer coaches throughout Southern Nevada received a package in the mail this week from officials at the Las Vegas Lights FC.

It contained one of the team’s colorful scarfs, a ticket to an upcoming game and fliers to distribute to their players with information on how to support the area’s newest professional team.

It was yet another sign that the Lights have mastered promoting their brand. From the beginning of last August when Brett Lashbrook launched his minor league team to Saturday, when the Lights tied Reno 1-1 in the home opener, they have been determined to spread the word about soccer in downtown.

The Lights, and that flashy bright pink, blue and yellow logo, seem to be everywhere.

Whether it is billboard advertising at many turns throughout the city, fan events at Hispanic supermarkets and casinos, or Lashbrook making repeated appearances at city government meetings, the team’s aggressiveness in building its brand has been beneficial.

Soccer in Las Vegas, as witnessed by the 9,000 fans at Saturday’s game, is working. Not bad for a night with high winds, right?

Many of those fans stood from start to finish chanting fight songs and passionately hitting noisemakers. I’ve never been to a soccer game outside the United States, but imagine the game-day experience the Lights have created mirrors what happens in Latin America. There was even a food vendor selling tortilla chip cups with condiments of chili powder and hot sauce.

The Lights goal in the 26th minute brought on a celebration of confetti and streamers flying into the air, fans waving their giant flags in joy and the noise going to another level. Yes, all this for one goal.

But Lashbrook’s work is far from over. This is just one night. The season goes until the fall, which means many more home dates and many more needs for a near-sellout crowd.

Yet, you get the feeling the franchise is already thinking of ways to capitalize off their early popularity.

Here’s another example of their marketing brilliance: I got lost in the parking lot searching for my car after the game.

I noticed many vehicles had Lights magnets on the back. When I finally got to what appeared to be my car, I noticed it also had a magnet. I yelled in frustration that I still couldn’t find my car and kept searching the parking lot.

Then, I realized team officials placed those magnets on many vehicles during the game. Some attendees probably didn’t realize the magnet was on the back of their car and are driving around town with free advertising for the team.

If other game nights resemble Saturday, it’s a team that will have a tremendous impact in our community. Now, all the have to do is beat Reno.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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