School Night Out

Saturday’s Jacksonville Armada versus the New York Cosmos was billed as an important match. The sales and marketing team went all out, billing the night as a “School Night Out”. Family packs of four tickets, each with a hot dog, chips, and soda, were sold for ninety-five dollars. The pre-game festivities included giant jenga and cornhole. The post-game celebration included a stunning fireworks display.

The Armada’s endeavors were successful in producing the best attendance of the season. However, when several fans attempted to continue their fun-filled evening they were woefully disappointed. After emphasizing family in their marketing ploy the decision was made to hold the match’s official after-party at Blackfinn. An establishment that describes themselves as

the perfect place for friends, family and business patrons to meet for lunch, dinner, happy hour, game day, late night and community gatherings.

What was not clearly advertised is that after 10PM Blackfinn becomes a twenty-one and up only establishment.

Section 904 Betrayed

Three adult Section 904 members attempted to join the after party, where fans can mingle and celebrate with the players and staff of the Jacksonville Armada. All three fans were turned away due to being under the age of twenty-one.

As one Armada staff member put it “If no one else came [to the matches], Section 904 would be here.” Section 904 is known for their dedication and reverent support of the Armada. One of those turned away was Section 904’s capo, or chant-leader.

The failure to advertise the after-party’s age requirement and the failure to request that Blackfinn accommodate the Jacksonville Armada are odd ones, particularly after a family focused evening. The fact that those turned away were, season-ticket holding, Section 904 members only adds insult to injury.

Armada Missteps

Excluding Section 904 members from an after party is the second organization mishap of the Jacksonville Armada in the past week. Local media members, the Section 904 President, and sponsors were summoned to a press conference at Hodges Stadium. The conference was set to contain a “big announcement” from the interim Commissioner of the NASL, Rishi Sehgal.

Fans and press alike speculated that it would either be a new shirt sponsor or ownership group for the Jacksonville Armada. Instead, a short and benign statement was issued by the interim Commissioner, followed by some media availability.

According to sources the confusion was a result of a “poorly worded e-mail chain”, that the event was never intended to be an announcement, simply media availability. Alternate sources have stated that their was an announcement pending regarding a shirt sponsor, however there was a last minute issue.

 

Conclusion

Regardless,  missteps like announcement confusion and not advertising a minimum age are to be expected from an extremely young football club. Growing pains can be frustrating for everyone involved, particularly the media and fans.

That being said Armada fans will hope that the club responds with a more than a single tweet.

Hopefully the Jacksonville Armada and Blackfinn will work together to produce an amicable solution for all those involved.

CLARIFICATION: Only two of the three Section 904 members turned away are season ticket holders.

UPDATE (9:21PM 5/7/201&)
The Jacksonville Armada released the following statement regarding the event.

The Jacksonville Armada FC is an inclusive organization that does not discriminate in any way, age included. The Armada FC staff is talking to Blackfinn and those fans affected to find out more about the situation and will react after understanding the facts. The Armada FC appreciates the support of fans of all ages and would like to offer everyone the best experience possible, so the team is constantly exploring future postmatch celebration options.