It’s never been easy to be a soccer fan in Canada. From problems that start with the CSA, the sport’s organizing body, to a lack of mainstream media coverage, to the politics that have crippled the game here — it has left more than a few fans of the beautiful game disenfranchised.
But one man, and a few others like him, have taken it upon themselves to circumvent the politics and start making changes on their own.
Meet Dino Rossi — perhaps the biggest supporter of Canada’s national teams today.
Sick of a lack of promotion for national team games, where only a couple thousand fans would show up, Rossi took it upon himself to become a one-man marketer for the sport.
Using mass emails from a list of contacts that rivals anything any organizing body in Canada has, he bought and sold (for no profit) 2,000 tickets to the men’s national team game against Jamaica last year.
This year, to ensure the women’s national team will have a good crowd tonight in Toronto against the U.S., he maxed out his credit card to move around $18,000 worth of tickets. Again for no profit.
So, why does he do it?
“When Canada’s national teams play here I want them to feel at home, for it to be an event and have a big crowd for our players — not to just be playing in front of their friends and family,” Rossi said yesterday.
“The CSA is not a marketing company … this is a women’s game, it should have been marketed where women will be listening.”
It’s the little things that can make a difference.
And fortunately, for the CSA and soccer fans alike, Dino is into the details. He bought seats where the TV cameras will be pointed, “to get better visuals,” and pre-bought seats for Toronto FC supporters so they could sit where they normally do to watch the women play.
But despite a couple months of hard work, he was still sitting on 30 tickets as of Friday — $400 out of pocket.
“I was prepared for it … I like to think though that if you do good things, good things will happen to you.”
By Saturday, good things had happened — a group called up looking for exactly 30 tickets. He still won’t break even; interest on his credit card has to be paid.
But the game in Canada continues to grow and it’s thanks, in large part, to people like Rossi.
– Watch Ben Rycroft on the It’s Called Football show every Sunday at metronews.ca;