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Operation Freedom

The Washington Freedom has begun its marketing campaign for the 2010 WPS season with several not-so-subtle digs at the hapless Redskins. In an ad that appears in Monday's Washington Post, the club trumpets its:

-- "Freedom Speech and Self Expression, Including the Right to Create Signs and Banners and Bring Them into the Stadium!" (The Redskins have been confiscating posters at FedEx Field.)


-- "Highest Level of Customer Service, Tickets Will Always be Offered First to Our Fans!" (The Redskins sold seats to ticket brokers, despite an alleged waiting list in the thousands.)


-- "Economic Forgiveness! You Will Not be Sued if for Some Reason You Must Default on Your Payments in This Challenging Economy; We Will Work With You!" (The Redskins filed suit against season ticket holders who tried to cancel their plans.)


-- "Full Media Access and Welcoming of All Coverage, Positive or Hostile!" (The Redskins have blamed The Post for the negative climate surrounding their 2-6 team.)


Take a look: freedomFansv2.pdf

On the player front, in an attempt to replace Philadelphia-bound Lori Lindsey, the Freedom made a move for U.S. national team midfielder Leslie Osborne, a free agent, but she signed with Boston. Hence, Washington has turned its attention to a Swedish central midfielder whose identity wasn't revealed.

So what do you think of the ad campaign? Effective? Foolish? Fun?

By Steve Goff  |  November 8, 2009; 9:01 PM ET
Categories:  Freedom  
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Next: Monday Kickaround


It doesn't hurt. It's a great time to build on frustration with the Skins. Plus it's not like the Redskins actively support local teams like the Wizards, United, Caps or even the Nats.

Posted by: sitruc | November 8, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Won't make a difference. They aren't going to steal away Redskins fans no matter what sort of promotion they choose to use.

Posted by: DCU_Rick | November 8, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

This is a remarkable thing, unprecedented in my admittedly short memory. Area sports teams generally don't make such obviously negative connotations about other area sports teams.

Posted by: evwill | November 8, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Won't make a difference. They aren't going to steal away Redskins fans no matter what sort of promotion they choose to use.

I very much doubt that that was their intent. They were simply trying to produce something that was attention-getting.

Posted by: universityandpark | November 8, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: CapsNut | November 8, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

What's stupid about it? Seems like a good way to say that the Freedom management is focused on the fan experience in what is a crowded sports market. By the way, minor league baseball teams make similar points all the time.

Posted by: DetroitTFC | November 8, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

personally, i found it funny. don't know how much it will help, but it made me smile.

Posted by: revsfanindc | November 8, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Fun stuff. I'm hoping to catch some matches in person next season. When do kids have to start paying admission at games out there? Same question for RFK. My little one will still be under 3 when United and the Freedom start back up, and I feel like she'll be ready to gut out a game or two in 2010.

Posted by: DadRyan | November 8, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Can't hurt -- gets attention, and to the extent they are alluding to the Redskins' "hapless"ness, it's their hapless marketing, not their hapless play.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | November 8, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

jab. jab. jab. right hook. TIGER UPPERCUT!

skins are dead. I say kick them while their down maybe some of the "fetch"ball fans might convert to actual football.


Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | November 8, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Calling Women's Soccer "Actual Football" is a bit of a stretch.

No, the campaign won't make a lick of a difference, but it's entertaining, and as a Skins fan who wishes there were some way for a team to force their owner to sell, and scrutiny in the direction of Danny-boy is a good thing.

Posted by: alecw81 | November 8, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse is played with your feet, no?

so its actual football.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | November 8, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

A little harmless fun that will drum up more attention than a non-controversial (and this is only just barely even in that category) ad would. I mean, you have a ton of football fans deeply unhappy with the fact that their team is being run terribly, that they can't even express their discontent at games, that the owner is charging them for anything he possibly can while presenting a sub-par product...why not approach these people with a cheaper, less totalitarian product? This isn't going to lose the Freedom any fans.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | November 9, 2009 3:26 AM | Report abuse

Women professional soccer, what a joke, didn't just lose some right to get married vote in Maine? I mean Geeze this is one more pointless score to eat up ESPN's ticket time. Just like the WNBA and LPGA, NO BODY CARES! Thank the lord womens tennis has hotties showing some leg, or women on ESPN would be as rare as a they are in
corporate boardrooms.

Posted by: kevin16 | November 9, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse


from DCU's Guest Services page

"Children under two years of age are not required to have a ticket to enter RFK Stadium. If attending without a ticket, they must sit on the lap of an accompanying adult. Strollers must adhere to stadium policies."

Posted by: emanon13 | November 9, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

They missed the part about not having a flagrantly racist nickname.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 9, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Overall a really smart way to attract attention, and quite funny.

"They missed the part about not having a flagrantly racist nickname."

This, however, is a brilliant comment

Posted by: Liverbird | November 9, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse


And thanks to Goff for the thread, because it supplies a good chance for buttheads like kevin16 and alecw81 (old reliable) to showcase their manliness. (And kevin, you might want to look around your neighborhood for some English as a Second Language classes -- it can really help you get ahead in this country.)

I'm hopeful that the campaign is further evidence that the Freedom has their front office in better form now. This past year they were p*ss poor, but so far their ticket folks have been pretty relentless.

Player I would most like to see with Freedom = Tobin Heath.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 9, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately Freedom has 7th pick in the draft and I doubt Tobin Heath will last that long. She'll most probably be in the first 3, if not first 2.

As for the campaign, smart move by the Freedom. Capitalize on the frustrations w/ the Skins management and get people from outside the women's soccer community to notice, at least even for just a few minutes.

Posted by: KG118 | November 9, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I have no issue with the ad campaign - it is nice to see the Freedom actually have an ad campaign this year. Hopefully it will result in an increase in season ticket holders.

I would like to know who this Swedish midfielder is though...

Heath is going to go #1 to Atlanta no doubt in my mind. I would like to see Whitney Engen on the Freedom roster next year. She was the 2009 ACC defensive player of the year and since she was a forward her first two years at UNC she isn't afraid to get forward. If anyone saw the game yesterday you would have seen she can put a wicked bend on the ball - her crosses are pinpoint as well. She is a possible pickup at the 7th spot since most other teams will be looking for offensive players.

Posted by: soccerfan80 | November 9, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Kevin, obviously you care, since you took the time to read the story then comment on it. Are you that massively insecure that you have to diss women's sports? Here's a clue: if you don't like it, don't watch it and don't click on the link.

Having said that, I'm a Freedom season-ticket holder and the games are a blast! The best part is that the team signs autographs at the end of each game and turns down NO ONE! They have activities for the kids before the game and the matches are very entertaining. I highly recommend at least catching one game, but the perks of being a season-ticket holder are outstanding. Check them out!

Posted by: stwasm | November 9, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

the Skins should sign Elizabeth Lambert to toughen them up

Posted by: beergorila | November 9, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Kevin16: "Thank the lord womens tennis has hotties showing some leg, or women on ESPN would be as rare as a they are in
corporate boardrooms."

Kevin: National Geographic called. They have an opening for a Neanderthal and have asked you to return their message.

Posted by: fengraf | November 9, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

That's pretty funny.

Posted by: Eric_in_Baltimore | November 9, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The best part is that the team signs autographs at the end of each game and turns down NO ONE!

I heard security turned away alecw81 when he showed up in a trench coat, ski hat and sunglasses in mid-July, and you could see his bare legs below the coat.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 9, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

This is a brilliant campaign. Yes, it is a little cheeky, but when it comes to spending an entertainment dollar, the Freedom is competing with the Redskins, Caps, Nats and all the other things you can do in DC. I would like to see DC United also get in on this act as well.

The Redskins typify all that is wrong with big time sports in this area. They have an owner more infatuated with making back his investment than putting a good product on the field. Snyder is not interested in building support among fans, where as the Freedom and United are actively pursuing fans who are involved, who are passionate and who want to see success in the club at all levels.

As for the sexist morons who denigrate women soccer players, get a life. ESPN is expanding into the soccer world is a big way and it won't be long before we see a ESPN Soccer channel full time.

Posted by: MattJohnston1 | November 9, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Lost in all of this discussion is that if Osborne is going to Boston, that means she is leaving Old Pride. Didn't Tiffany Weimer already make this move? Are those the only two people that Old Pride has lost, or are there others?

With regard to the Freedom advertising campaign, I drive a vehicle that was introduced early in this decade, and initially targeted toward a certain demographic. However, its success has been driven by its appeal to totally different market segments, including the one to which I belong, which no one had anticipated. There is no harm done in pitching an ad to the general-purpose sports fan, and using a tongue-in-cheek approach to get their attention, just to see whether anyone responds outside the obvious target audiences (e.g., soccer moms).

Posted by: universityandpark | November 9, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Very clever tongue-in-cheek advertising. And frankly, what they used was a short list of what they could have used. Such as "We don't have black booted thugs patrolling the grounds".

Posted by: chopin224 | November 9, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

kevin16 is a bigot, and I'm calling him out on it. He must feel threatened by WPS, or why bother with all the hate? Get with the 21st century, Kevin.

Posted by: WorldCup | November 9, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Why wouldn't the Freedom go after Aly Wagner? She's left unprotected by LA (unbelievably). You think there's an "understanding" among the teams that no one will go after her?

Posted by: OWNTF | November 9, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm UandP . . . so you're one of those EarthFirsters who found that the Hummer was the perfect vehicle to gain access to the old growth rain forests to protest clear cutting operations?

Posted by: OWNTF | November 9, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Good stuff! Any joke at Snyder's expense is a joke worth telling.

Posted by: drischord | November 9, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Why wouldn't the Freedom go after Aly Wagner? She's left unprotected by LA (unbelievably). You think there's an "understanding" among the teams that no one will go after her?

Posted by: OWNTF | November 9, 2009 1:17 PM

I assume you are referring to her having been left unprotected for the purpose of an expansion draft that has long since come and gone. Now, unless she is a free agent, the Freedom would have pay whatever price the Sol demand, and who knows what that might be. That said, it would be nice to see a true CAM, since neither Lindsey nor Sawa-san seemed to be that last season.

Posted by: universityandpark | November 9, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I guess it's drawing some attention, but saying you treat your fans better than the Redskins do is like saying you treat your citizens better than North Korea does - hardly something to boast about.

As for Tobin Heath, word is that Atlanta (with the #1 pick) is going to grab her. We're more likely to end up with someone like Becky Edwards, a solid player with a Freedom background.

Posted by: kevinwparker | November 9, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Now that you mention it, Danny Snyder does bear a strong resemblance to the Paramount Leader.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 9, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I think Wagner is a free agent.

LA protected Johanna Frisk, who as far as I know never left the bench, and not Aly Wagner.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 9, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I love it! Being a long-time Skins fan, I've almost become numb watching their games due to both the quality of their game and the callousness of their management.

Soccer is a sport that elicits collective pride in one's town/city, usually at a grass roots level. This is US soccer at it's best, both men's and women's. Soccer is a sport all can play and relate to first-hand. While Sepp Blatter's (FIFA President) assertions a decade ago that by 2010 women's soccer will be just as important as men's was widely optimistic, I still believe it will continue to grow to a respectable size. The quality of the women's game continues to rise as I witnessed in two college games I viewed over this past weekend.

Freedom and United fans are incredibly loyal, and I think this campaign helps point out some very important differences from the Redskins, where the owner uses his fans like an ATM machine.

Posted by: martyb1 | November 9, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

kevin16, they passed an Amendment (number 19) just so that thoughtless boobs like yourself would become obsolete in the world. Women deserve the same rights as men- and that, in my mind, includes the right to play a sport professionally. Does it mean you have to like it? No. But it does mean that you should respect these athletes, whether they are women or men, simply based on the fact that they have a certain skill that you do not possess. I respect your ability to be a mindless tool (I don't respect the actual actions of doing so, but your abilities are quite astonishing, and I must respect that), so you should respect women soccer players- all of whom are much better athletes and soccer players than you could ever hope to be.

And by the way, the thing in Maine had nothing to do with women. They legalized gay marriage (well...actually, there's nothing in the Constitution that prohibits it, so basically they just started recognizing the rights of homosexuals) before repealing it a short time later.

Posted by: kdiff813 | November 9, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I think Wagner is a free agent.

LA protected Johanna Frisk, who as far as I know never left the bench, and not Aly Wagner.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 9, 2009 4:44 PM


Don't dis Frisk - she played an entire 45 minutes in 2009! And took a shot!!

Posted by: kevinwparker | November 9, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

1. i thought the campaign was funny
2. @ I270 - Are you sure "redskins" is flagrantly racist? are miners upset to be associated with the 49'ers? haha, maybe lately, but...nicknames are just that. nothing more.

Posted by: wordup1 | November 10, 2009 1:15 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter who the Freedom bring in to replace Lindsey, Gabarra will screw it up by using his outdated and ineffective brand of soccer. Gabarra handcuffed Lindsey and Sawa with his inept coaching. Why do you think Lindsey was elated to get out of there? AND, why do you think the mids they've been after have opted to go elsewhere?

Re the Freedom's marketing campaign - that is one thing they are getting right!

Posted by: SoccerFan1204 | November 10, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

This is a horrible waste of whatever it costs to advertise in the Post. The best thing you have to offer is that you're better run than the Redskins? Makes the Freedom look bush-league and amateurish.

This is a very, very stupid ad. Unless one thinks that Redskins fans are going to rurn their allegiance to women's soccer. Yeah, like THAT'S gonna happen.

Posted by: bethesdaguy | November 10, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Again, this was NOT an attempt to compete with the Redskins for the latter's fans. (For one thing, their seasons do not overlap.) It was simply a light-hearted way to grab the reader's attention. Further, the Freedom are not trying to turn anyone's allegiance, bur rather to get people to consider adding the Freedom as another option for what to do on a summer weekend.

Posted by: universityandpark | November 11, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

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