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Gab At A Glance: The Bonfire of The ManCities

An RBNY podcast that’s mastered the art of the deal

Major League Soccer Visits The New York Stock Exchange To Kick Off The 2011 AT&T MLS All-Star Game Photo by Dario Cantatore/Getty Images

In OaM’s latest feature, our podcast correspondent Ross Haley will periodically give us a brief taste of some of the spiciest conversations happening in the vast landscape of New York Red Bulls fan podcasts.

Have you ever wanted to hack the soccer world? Look no further than The Bonfire of the ManCities where management consultants and Red Bulls fans discuss how they would optimize the team to greatness. On last week’s episode, one of the hosts revealed the advice his firm gave to a major European club.

Marshall: I have clients come to me all the time. They always ask me, “Marshall, Marshall, I want to sign players, but they’re so expensive.”

Joseph: What do you tell them?

Marshall: To pay me first.


Marshall: I can’t share what I am telling my clients right now, but here’s something I advised a major English club to do recently. Are you familiar with Levski Sofia?

Joseph: Sure, they play in…

[Sound of fingers clacking on a keyboard.]

Joseph: Bulgaria?

Marshall: Exactly. They’re a very big Bulgarian club. They’re like the Toyota of the efBet League.

Joseph: Solid brand. Name recognition. Something you can trust.

Marshall: Exactly. Now, my client paid me to find some players, and Levski Sofia is full of them. I brought my team together for a few weeks to run some analysis, crunch some numbers, and put together binders and powerpoints to present to the client. We calculated a full Player Performance Energy rundown or PPEr. Here’s what we came up with: Martin Petkov.

Joseph: Ah, yes, Martin Petkov-

[Sound of fingers clacking on a keyboard.]

Joseph: The 5’9” winger. Very solid young player who has made eight senior appearances.

Marshall: He’s a highly rated prospect any club would be lucky to have. The Chipotle of Bulgarian soccer.

Major League Soccer Visits The New York Stock Exchange To Kick Off The 2011 AT&T MLS All-Star Game Photo by Dario Cantatore/Getty Images

Joseph: Smooth branding, optimized work cycle, skilled flow output.

Marshall: But anyone can sign a player. What my clients wanted to do was to sign a player and sign him cheaply. You’re not going to play with the big boys unless you’re exploiting market inefficiencies and improving operational services, which is why my firm relies heavily on our patented Transfer Market Reliability Index percentage or TRMI%.

Joseph: So what did you advise?

Marshall: To sign him.

Joseph: Uh huh.

Marshall: That’s it.

Joseph: Oh, come on. Surely there’s more.

Marshall: Okay, okay. So, here’s the trick. Here’s why my consulting firm is paid the big bucks to implement our methodologies and push process analysis to optimize the stratification of sports business metrics. Did you know that Levski Sofia has two players named Martin Petkov?

[Sound of fingers clacking on a keyboard.]

Joseph: Of course! Everyone knows there is a second 5’9” winger at Levski Sofia named Martin Petkov. He spent last season on loan at FC… Lokomotiv… Gor… na… Or-… Or-yah-ovits-a?

Marshall: Exactly. They’re the Southwest Airlines of the Vtora Liga.

Joseph: Established, recognizable brand, but still a lot of room for growth and improved strategic development.


Marshall: Now, what I advised my clients to do was to buy Martin Petkov, the first Martin Petkov. Bring him into the club, give him a jersey, start training him, but don’t pay the transfer fee.

Joseph: Fascinating.

Marshall: When Levski Sofia accesses the escrow account looking for the transfer fee, they’ll be confused.

Joseph: Understandably.

Marshall: “Where is the money for the player we sold???” What I advised my clients to respond is, “What player? You never sent us Martin Petkov. He’s right there, at your club. Martin Petkov is right there. How can you sell us a player if we never receive him?”

Joseph: Brilliant. And how do you make this legal?

Marshall: Easy. The original Martin Petkov – the one you sold, but for whom you did not pay a transfer fee? He legally changes his name. The transfer fee was for Martin Petkov. Martin Petkov is still at Levski Sofia. The player you have is someone else entirely.

Joseph: Simply ingenious. You really justified your fee with this one.

Marshall: There were two Martin Petkovs. Easily exploitable market inefficiency, but my firm was needed to prioritize, strategize, and optimize.

Joseph: I can only imagine how satisfied the club was after hiring your firm.

Marshall: The client was so impressed with the consultation that they never needed our assistance again.

The following week, The Bonfire of the ManCities optimized its listenership with a 100% audience download increase (ADI) of two listeners. Marshall continues to receive business from several major clubs and began a partnership with an unnamed American lower league. Joseph recently purchased a new keyboard.

Major League Soccer Visits The New York Stock Exchange To Kick Off The 2011 AT&T MLS All-Star Game Photo by Dario Cantatore/Getty Images