What can we take away from the mass expansion going on in the States?
While A-League fans keep a close eye on the development of Western United as they edge closer towards their debut season, it raises the question of what really differentiates the club from its existing Victorian counterparts.
Despite being founded as Melbourne Heart almost ten years ago, questions still remain today around exactly who and what Melbourne City stand for in comparison to their bigger, older rivals Victory.
What's the glue that represents the soul of the club? What makes supporting Melbourne City something genuinely special? Is there anything? What happens if Western United hit that certain exceptional-something that resonates with conflicted fans?
Madison weather update: We're nearly at one whole Mingo and the snow's still coming! 🌨 pic.twitter.com/FAhlBysKuN— Forward Madison FC (@ForwardMSNFC) January 28, 2019
Struggling to come to a conclusion, the question was posed to Peter about what exactly it is that forms the core of a club and which gives it some sense of life.
The answer? Give your club an identity which fits with the people it represents.
Peter said: "In Madison we developed a personality that fits with and reflects this market. It’s fun, progressive, edgy, light-hearted and a bit whimsical.”
“As an aside, we are also launching a USL League Two team in Green Bay, Wisconsin this spring. That market is different than Madison – conservative, blue-collar and less transient.
"Our brand identity in Green Bay is much different than the brand identity in Madison, but we tried to go about developing it in a similar way."
The next issue discussed was one which has plagued football in Australia for years.
In order to avoid the media congestion which comes with our winter codes, the A-League has been played through the summer months, where it still has to compete primarily with the Big Bash League and the Australian Open in January.
On a different scale, Forward Madison is a small fish entering a big pond in its own right, with Wisconsin playing home to some pretty noteworthy sports teams in the form of Milwaukee Bucks (NBA) and Green Bay Packers (NFL).
As Peter explained, “We aren’t asking people to switch allegiances, but rather to add a new team to support. In some cases, this will be with people who care about those teams and in other cases, it will be with people that don’t care about other sports teams."
"In either case, the challenge is convincing them that Forward Madison is worthy of their time as well as their money.”
FULL MINGO! pic.twitter.com/pGS7D47VRv— Forward Madison FC (@ForwardMSNFC) January 28, 2019
Peter was also quick to point out that whilst there are more prolific sports, they can never quite offer the same experience as their world-game counterpart.
"Supporting a soccer team is different than supporting traditional American sports teams. Supporting soccer is more active. Fans tend to be more involved in support through social media and in-game experiences," he expressed.
This fan involvement serves as the lifeblood of clubs around the world; fans bring the colour, the culture and, well… the crazy.