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  • Seeking Fans

    A letter from the editor of 5280's March 2020 issue.

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    As anticipation for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo ramps up—and excitement for the electric U.S. women’s national soccer team, which won the World Cup last year, builds—the Colorado Rapids are starting another season in Commerce City. The question among football followers on the Front Range is: Does anyone care? Several months ago, 5280 senior editor Spencer Campbell set out to learn why the Rapids have failed to thrive since winning the MLS championship in 2010. What he found was not only a story of organizational mismanagement, but also a tale of fan apathy that boggles the mind if you’ve ever spent a fall Saturday watching the passionate players (and parents) who fill grassy fields in youth soccer leagues all across Denver. Although MLS has exploded in popularity in other American cities over the past several years, the Rapids have been unable to build a fan base, leaving far too many empty seats in Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. One of the biggest reasons is that the Rapids have neglected to put a compelling product on the field. Soccer is known as “the beautiful game,” but the Rapids’ play has rarely lived up to that billing. With a new coach and several homegrown stars in the making, that may be about to change, as the Rapids believe they can transform themselves this season. The question remains: Will Denverites finally show up to watch?

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