By Parth Shah, @shah_parth_
A new season of Major League Soccer is upon us, and with that comes a new edition of the Social Media Seven. In the spirit of the league reaching 22 teams, adding two expansion clubs this season with Atlanta United and Minnesota United, we’re bringing you 2x the content! That’s right - the #SMSeven featuring 14 of the best season-opening videos from across the league. Let’s get ready for kickoff!
Atlanta United FC
On Sunday, Atlanta United FC will play its first game in MLS in front of over 50,000 fans at home. Building a fanbase from scratch is an enormous undertaking, and ATL has been up to the challenge. The organization has done a great job in establishing a strong brand, marketing to local communities and groups, as well as bringing in incredible talent to the expansion side.
On social, they've continued this positive growth with strong GIF work, behind-the-scenes videos, and more. The video above does a great job linking the brand with Atlanta's storied history, serving as a metaphor for the next big movement. It's a job well done by the social team, from storytelling to generating even more buzz for such a momentous occasion.
While Atlanta is starting its first season, the Chicago Fire organization has been around for decades. This offseason saw a transformation for the club, marred with inconsistency and mediocre performances in past seasons. The 20th season looks to be a better one for the Fire, who saw an infusion of talent over the winter.
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The social team does well in highlighting the history of the team, from beginnings to the present, setting the stage to write another chapter with the start of the season. For new fans, it allows context into what this club has meant for the city and league, while showing that success is within reach.
Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake may not be the first team you think about in MLS, but the Sandy, Utah club has been a model franchise in the league over the past few years, with a loyal fanbase and strong brand. I love the intro video from RSL because it captures the passion of the organization, players, and fans, without overdoing the 'hype' content.
It should be noted that this looks to be the team's intro video for this season, and it should translate well into Rio Tinto stadium, offering a nice balance of showing players and fans. It is also a really nice touch to start off with the trophy to set the tone, and I like how it ends with the players leaving the locker room and making their way onto the field.
Seattle Sounders FC
Seattle might have put together my favorite video content of the year so far. The defending MLS Cup champs are back to work, trying to climb the mountain once again. The digital team for the Sounders did an exceptional job with the season opening video, comparing the club's journey to the top to climbing, and pushing the mindset to reach the peak again, to see the same success again.
It's cool to see such positive, intellectual messaging by the club while capitalizing around the excitement of last year's victory while it's still around. Let's start climbing indeed.
San Jose Earthquakes
San Jose's social team does a really nice job generating excitement with this video, in lead-up to the home opener. Taking fans inside the locker room with players putting on their jerseys adds a layer of exclusivity and allows them to feel closer the club and what happens behind closed doors.
Promoting a loud crowd and engaging with followers to make some noise and to "defend the fortress" is smart, especially when cut against a good choice of theme music and highlights. The "marching into battle" concept in video content is a staple, but a safe bet to be successful if executed properly. I love that the Earthquakes kept it short and to-the-point while getting their message across loud and clear.
The Houston Dynamo look to turn things around this season with newly acquired talent and excitement. The video hopes to channel this fun, positive spirit that teams build in the offseason, and engaging fans is the key. The music selection is my favorite takeaway from this: it's fun, catchy, and bubbly. It makes you feel good.
That's the big thing with 'hype' videos - they don't NEED to be so serious and intense all the time. Show that coming to support your team is an enjoyable experience all around. Nice work!
DC United is one of the league's most historic clubs, playing an incredible role early on in MLS' development and strengthening the sport of soccer in the nation's capital. Since the team's inception, it has enjoyed success at historic RFK Stadium, which will say goodbye after this season.
United's digital team did a wonderful job in keeping the history in perspective, emphasizing that this would be the final home opener at the storied pitch. Taking fans down memory lane does wonders for brand loyalty, educating new fans while conjuring up nostalgia amongst those who have been around for the long run. Building and reinforcing connections at the same time!
Best of the rest:
Orlando City SC
Orlando City prepares to open its new downtown stadium on Sunday with the help of its passionate fan base, and what better way to capture this than with fan videos? I like how the Lions incorporated this footage into their montage, one of many excellent short videos the club has posted on social in preparation for the big game.
I'll be honest - I don't speak French so I don't understand what is being said. However, even without knowing the language, this video is so well put together that it made me excited for the Impact's season.
The clip's of fans and their reactions to the game are strong highlights and the use of these clips bring a positive excitement that carries throughout the video. If only I knew what was being said!
Los Angeles Galaxy
The Galaxy underwent an unprecedented transitional offseason, with key players departing along with legendary head coach Bruce Arena. With a new season about to begin, I like how the digital team has framed this preview, maintaining the club's lofty expectations while looking ahead to the challenges that lay ahead, including this weekend's opponent FC Dallas.
LA's opponent this weekend, FC Dallas, put its own spin on a season opening video prior to Saturday's big match in Carson.
I like the commentary in the background, along with quotes and thoughts from players and the coaching staff, as it adds a layer of realistic expectations rather than just a montage of highlights and practice clips.
Columbus Crew SC
The Crew did a great job layering the Columbus chant behind the video, which is the perfect balance of length and content. The bold words are a nice touch in setting the tone for the team and organization. The distinct yellow branding keeps it true to the Crew. (Yep, I can rhyme)
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting KC put together a nice compilation of highlights and fan engagement to generate excitement about this season. The music selection says it all - it sets the tone that SKC means business.
I wish there were a bit more content or diversity to the video, but overall it sends a powerful message to fans. Short, strong, and with some sweet video angles and perspectives.
Minnesota United FC
We started with one expansion team in Atlanta, and we end with the other in Minnesota United FC. I love this from the Loons' digital team, putting together a nice recap video of where this club has come since its MLS announcement while setting the stage for their first (of many) big moments in the league. The wording that goes along with the video is a nice touch that drives the point home.
That's it for this week! Thanks for joining us on the Social Media Seven - be sure to keep the conversation going on social with #SMSeven and what stands out in the world of social media sports.