Supporters are what sets soccer in America apart from the other professional sports and no one knows that more than the leadership of Major League Soccer. This can be demonstrated by the fact that supporters are the cornerstone of almost all marketing efforts from the league. Even during spells of bad club performance, supporters help to maintain a fertile environment where casual fans can be exposed to the soccer culture and can be transformed into passionate die hard supporters. The relationship that is built up around a club from the ownership, front office, the players, and down through the supporters and casual fans helps to build and reinforce a closely knit community of people with a shared passion.
However, breaking that relationship has consequences.