The New York Red Bulls' 2017 season starts on February 22 with a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal match against Vancouver Whitecaps. The club has been aware of this for some time, and will presumably get around to cluing fans into its plans (preseason, ticket pricing for the big game, etc.) when it is good and ready to do so.
In the meantime, MLS has announced its 2017 regular season home openers, having barely concluded the 2016 playoffs and a full month of suggesting to fans the regular season is irrelevant. Such is the unfortunate predicament of MLS marketers: nothing counts but the playoffs, until there are tickets to be sold for the regular season - and those tickets will soon need to be sold. As is the case every year, the league's sales and marketing departments will hope their employer's hopelessly mixed messaging hasn't made it harder to fill seats for
games that will be derided as meaningless before the year is out the 2017 MLS regular season.
One way to draw a crowd to a stadium: hype the unique nature of the event on show. So perhaps RBNY can be forgiven for the splashy banner on its official website: HOME OPENER 2017 - SATURDAY, MARCH 11 at 4:00 PM.
No, RBNY: your game against Colorado Rapids on March 11 will be the second competitive outing for the first team at Red Bull Arena in 2017. The RBNY 2017 home opener is that CCL quarterfinal you don't seem to want to talk about at the moment.
Indeed, the game on March 11 will be RBNY's third game of the season and the fourth home opener (of sorts) it will participate in between February 22 and March 19. The still-under-wraps preseason plan for 2017 had better be good, because the Red Bulls will be five games deep into their season before the end of March (potentially six - twice as many games as they played in March 2016 - if they make the semifinals of CCL).
It could be a fun start to competitive play for RBNY in 2017, without much time to dwell on adverse results. Even without CCL semifinals, there will be five games of significance piled up in the first month of the new season. And all five are, more or less, home openers.
Here's how RBNY will start 2017:
Feb 22: CCL quarterfinal 1st leg vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (RBNY 2017 home opener)
March 2: CCL quarterfinal 2nd leg @ Vancouver Whitecaps ('Caps 2017 home opener)
March 5: @ Atlanta United (Inaugural home opener for ATL)
March 11: vs. Colorado Rapids (RBNY MLS 2017 home opener)
March 19: @ Seattle Sounders (2017 home opener for reigning MLS Cup champ)
That's a lot of home openers, of which the one against the Rapids is perhaps the least interesting. And therefore needs the most help to get attention.
We feel your pain, RBNY marketers. Do what you what you have to do. But if you could get around to telling us about the Red Bulls' actual 2017 home opener some time soon, it would be greatly appreciated.