On January 8, 2015, a group of New York Red Bulls fans launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for a month-long rental of a billboard alongside one of the main roads in the vicinity of Red Bull Arena.
Before the day was over, the funding goal was achieved.
The campaign intends to use the billboard to express an opinion on RBNY's decision to fire head coach Mike Petke. It will not be a positive opinion, as described by two of those involved in developing the plan.
The donation that put the campaign over the top of its goal was announced on Twitter at 10:41 pm:
I just put the @petkemike billboard over the top. Funded. https://t.co/hqBkXEG6mh @SeeingRedNY @EmpireSC @PhilSchoen @GothamistDan— Jason N. Ader (@JasonAder) January 9, 2015
Jason Ader, incidentally, is the man who announced a $350 million plan for MLS expansion in Las Vegas back in July 2014. This billboard campaign has friends in unexpectedly high places.
The project first came to Once A Metro's attention around 4:00 pm:
If you have a few bucks and want to see Metro fans rent a billboard to protest the @petkemike firing, donate here: https://t.co/H86HvZsnHi— The *Other* ESC Capo (@JeffreyKleiman) January 8, 2015
And Ader's donation may have been the one that took the fundraising drive to its goal, but it wasn't the bulk of the total by any means (it was $500 according to the site's funder records).
Roughly seven hours to raise around $3,500 from a broad coalition of fans? Not bad work at all.
Commuters on I-280 are about to get an education about their local soccer club. And the notion that supporters can organize themselves themselves independently and effectively appears to be flourishing in the Tri-State (and beyond - we know you're out there, exiled Red Bull fans).
Congratulations to all who funded the campaign. And to those who may yet make donations (at the time of writing, the funding total was still growing).
Not every fan of RBNY will support the message or the methodology of this protest, but making your voice heard - be it by cheering or chanting at the Arena, ranting at the TV, or renting advertising space on the side of a highway - is surely an important part of what it is to support a team.
And criticism when you fear the club has lost its way is every bit as valid a mode of support as tweeting exuberantly on #RBNY when the team wins a game.
The campaign's stated goal is to have its message displayed from February 23 through RBNY's home opener against D.C. United on March 22. Take a ride down I-280 some time and see what it has to say.
Donations are still being accepted here.