FC Cincinnati and Liberty Center have announced a partnership that will create a year-round relationship to engage fans around Butler County with the team as the professional soccer franchise looks to enhance its Major League Soccer expansion efforts.
Kevin Cedik, general manager of Liberty Center, and Jeff Berding, president and general manager of FC Cincinnati, gathered in front of a kiosk representing the soccer team inside of the shopping center to make the announcement.
Cedik said the arrangement will help promote the team to local soccer families and to all of the children in the area, as well as FC Cincinnati fans who live in the Butler County.
“Here at Liberty Center we will be providing a place where you can purchase merchandise and we will have ticket sales,” Cedik said. “”We will also be having some player appearances.”
To kick that off, several FC Cincinnati players will be participating in Liberty Center’s holiday tree lighting ceremony that is happening at 6 p.m. Saturday. The players will be grand marshals in the event’s parade.
Berding said he has been busy studying every single strategic move for the franchise.
“I’ve been starting work at 5 a.m.” in order to secure an expansion slot in the MLS,” he said, adding that a decision is expected to be made during the next MLS owners meeting on Dec. 14 in New York City. The team is one of 12 finalists competing for four slots in the league.
Reaching out to fans in the northern suburbs and creating an opportunity to connect with the busy Liberty Center just made sense he said.
“This partnership is a chance to create a northern destination for FC Cincinnati and an opportunity for fans here to engage with the team,” Berding said. “We know we have a lot fans in this community and even farther north when you get into the Dayton market and now they will have a chance to buy tickets and merchandise and engage with some of our players on this beautiful property.”
Cedik and Berding said there will also be an opportunity for young soccer fans to participate in soccer clinics conducted by FC Cincinnati under the new partnership agreement.
Berding said the deal also shows the strength of the FC Cincinnati brand and the market for ticket sales it has been successful in creating.
“Our partnership with Liberty Center is prove of the strength of our market. When people think of Cincinnati often times they have a tendency to just think of Cincinnati proper,” Berding said. “And this proves the case that Greater Cincinnati is just that — it’s greater. It spreads in the northern suburbs and into the southern part of the Miami Valley.”
He added that another example of the soccer franchise’s market strength was Monday’s announcement that Mercy Health of Cincinnati has agreed to be the franchise’s jersey sponsor if they receive the nod to join the MLS.
“We have great strength in this market and yesterday’s announcement was an indication of that,” Berding said. “Soccer is a global sport, it is the one sport that has global currency. The long term payoff for the community is enormous.”