Over the course of Friday night's D.C. United win over the New York Red Bulls, an underlying gripe surfaced. The apparent problem - that the team decided to hold a "Star Wars Night" promotion - could trump a rivalry in the eyes of some fans, as if they would be scarred for life when their favorite movie and their favorite sports team crossed paths. So I'm going to say this as simply as I can as it relates to the bemoaning of ''how far down D.C. United has fallen," or whatever the metaphoric purse clutching might be. I'll even say it like William Shatner did on an infamous SNL skit:
Get a life, will you please?
Is the fuss over the promotion? Here's what I found when I Googled 'star wars night sports':
- The NBA's Phoenix Suns held a Star Wars night that included a free t-shirt and '"In-game Star Wars entertainment."
- The NHL's Anaheim Ducks had women dress as Princess Leia to clean up ice during intermissions.
- The Colorado Rapids are doing a Star Wars night next month despite the fact they lead MLS in overall points (guh, what will happen to MLS?!?!?!?!), and the Philadelphia Union have done one before, as the picture above shows.
- Several Major League Baseball teams are doing Star Wars nights, days, or giveaways this year, including the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, and, here's the kicker:
United's soon-to-be neighbors, the Washington Nationals? Yeah, they have a Star Wars day. One of five theme days, in fact, that pay tribute to things like Oktoberfest, the Rat Pack and Election Night.
Is the fuss over the fact that it's Star Wars? I'm a little over the love for the franchise myself, but I also realize that looping in a billion-dollar franchise to promote ANYTHING is a sound business practice for just about anyone in any field. Or did you not see the examples just now?
Is the fuss over the fact that it's D.C. United? Here's a simple fact: in a stadium that's a half-century old, where many would-be fans won't go until there's a new home, the team needs to find a way to generate whatever revenue they can. If it means sitting next to someone in a wookie shirt, so be it. Chances are that any unusual promotion is going to generate some kind of outrage, but is a near-sellout the thing to be outraged about?
I'm more than willing to concede that United needs as much work to their off-field product as they do their on-field one. But if having a people in cosplay with some halftime larping has suddenly turned you into a weird MLS edition of Maude Flanders even AFTER looking at these examples? I can't help.
Simply put, Star Wars night brought more people into a crappy old stadium, to watch the local soccer team beat their archrivals. If any of them decide to return to see more of it, then the promotion was worth it (though hopefully the local soccer team's win helped as much or more than the promotion).
tl;dr: If this...
...gets more people to see this...
...then what exactly is the problem?