At Mercedes-Benz Stadium, we have seen the crazy and eye-opening match attendance of the fans, waving their flags and belting out their homegrown chants. That spirit showed a devotion to the team that no one can associate with other Major League Soccer (MLS) teams. What factors contributed to this?
We’ve witnessed the beautiful finishes of Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez, the fabulous saves of Brad Guzan, and many more. That earned Atlanta United the love of the city. We have also seen famous Atlantans come out in support, which has helped raise awareness of the team.
It also helped that Atlanta United performed well since its inception and eventually took home the MLS Cup in 2018. That led the city to a professional sports team championship, even before the NFL Falcons or NBA Hawks. These players have given the team a form of marketing that has benefited their rise into the American soccer world.
Rappers and hip hop artists like Trinidad James, Future, Trouble, Waka Flocka Flame, 2 Chainz, 21 Savage, and even old school legends like Ludacris and Carlos “Da Godfather of Crunk” Glover have been influential in the youth community of Atlanta. When you mix that with their Atlanta United involvement, a sport that is not played often by the black community is suddenly in the spotlight. Statistically, more Hispanic players are playing the game and make up the highest percentage in the MLS. Having these artists present in soccer events can show that soccer isn’t just for one race. It shows that it is actually hip and trendy for everyone.
When you have moments like when a rapper produces a song that becomes the anthem of a club, it can be a bridge between Atlanta’s hip-hop culture and other cultural aspects of the city. It enriches it and allows two worlds not just co-exist, but to merge. There have been night pop-up events where team jerseys and paraphernalia are sold alongside a DJ playing local rising hip hop star tracks.
When artists and celebrities come out and promote a soccer team, they influence the rest of the community, especially the youth. They enhance the culture that can be ingrained in future generations, as seen with the numerous basketball court-sized soccer fields being built around Atlanta. The growth of soccer in the heart of Atlanta helps promote a sense of togetherness and an open attitude as a city.