The Santa Ana Sentinel

Why Chivas USA and Major League Soccer Need to Move to Santa Ana

Posted in Chivas USA, Opinion, Saint City Soccer by Omar Ávalos Gallegos on April 16, 2012

Things are abuzz in Santa Ana and beyond concerning a potential Chivas USA move here. A decision and announcement may be made midway through this year. Every city and its politicians that is in the running is likely making its case and putting its best foot forward in order to be picked for a move, maybe one more than another. Well here are some reasons why Santa Ana is the right fit for Chivas USA and MLS.

1. Santa Ana is an overwhelmingly soccer town. The sport is immensely popular here with countless youth and adult leagues.

2. A Chivas USA spokesperson said that a move would be determined by what area is best not only for the team, but also for its partners and sponsors. So partners would look for strategic opportunities to cross promote. Santa Ana is in the Disneyland neighborhood. A stadium here would share the same route (Harbor Blvd) to Disneyland. The opportunities to cross-promote with the Anaheim-based Angels of Major League Baseball and the Ducks of the National Hockey League are endless.

3. Other promotional opportunities exist here. Santa Ana has the largest Fiestas Patrias event in Southern California, and outside of Mexico according to event organizers. Want to grow a market? Go after that foot traffic. But don’t take it from me, take it from Budweiser, Time Warner, AT&T etc etc. You know, BIG corporations that advertise at Santa Ana events like this. Last year’s attendance is estimated at 250,000. The Fiestas Patrias are coupled with highly recognizable international, especially Mexican, musical acts. We’ve had in the past Aleks Syntek, Moderatto, Molotov, and Fobia to name some. The festivities are capped off on Sunday with a parade, coming down a long stretch of Main Street. Put it this way, the parade rivals the East LA parade in content and scale.

4. As if Fiestas Patrias aren’t enough, there are at least two other major events with large draws in the downtown which are the Cinco de Mayo celebration (of which Fobia was a part of last year), and the Noche de Altares event, which has grown into enormity, taking up at least two blocks of Fourth Street. Even though it’s in November, it’s an opportunity to reach thousands of people and build a market. If they make the postseason, even better.

5. Santa Ana has an endless youth talent pool, enough to feed a pro team for decades. In fact, other clubs have come scouting and developing here. It has its reputation and attracts players from other cities (like Anaheim native Jorge Villafaña of Chivas USA) and the players at the very reputable Santa Ana College program.

6. Install base. Santa Ana doesn’t have to wait around for events to take place, which only helps promotional matters. Realistically, Santa Ana is a city of over 350,000 people, and roughly 80 percent is of Mexican origin.

7. Greater Santa Ana. When you couple Anaheim, another city over 350,000 people, which recently became majority Latino and neighboring Santa Ana, you get the ideal market that Chivas USA is looking for. And this is before you include the numerous Latino / Mexican-American populations of nearby Orange (El Modena), Garden Grove, Fullerton and Placentia.

8. The LA region. Santa Ana makes up part of the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is defined as Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana. The name Santa Ana is visible from Downtown LA, it’s already recognizable to angelinos (Angelenos). When angelinos drive south, they’re headed on the Interstate 5 / Santa Ana Freeway.

9. La Chiva Casa. I challenge anyone in any place in LA or Greater LA to find a house with a Chivas theme. Santa Ana’s Chiva Casa is located on the corner of Flower and Wilshire.

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