Strategy Magazine, a Canadian marketing publication, has honored Toronto FC as its "Brand Of The Year" for 2009. According to this story on MLSnet.com, "the magazine cited TFC's courting of Toronto's large multi-cultural community, sponsorship from such soccer-friendly brands as Carlsberg and adidas, and its use of fan input from the early days of the club as just some of the reasons behind the honor.Toronto FC joined Major League Soccer with a bang in 2007, breaking attendance and merchandising records en route to instantly becoming one of the most-recognized soccer clubs in North America. As the team is concluding its third season and approaching the fourth anniversary of Toronto being awarded an MLS expansion team in October 2005, the TFC brand is still drawing attention and praise."
However, it was this quote from TFC senior director of business operations Paul Beirne that especially caught my eye: "Seattle pretty much borrowed our entire playbook," Beirne said. "We encouraged them to. We gave them everything that we did with as much detail as they could handle in order to give them a fighting chance of replicating what we did. The Philadelphia franchise coming in next year, their entire front office spent the last game with us shadowing our staff and we spent the day going through our business plan and going through the things that went well and the things we could've done better in our launch phase."
And while that kinda sounds like some sort of bulletin-board material for Sounders front-office executives, the fact is that Adrian Hanauer has told me that it was in fact Toronto that the Sounders studied most closely for off-field issues bonding the club to its community.
Here's a TNT story on the topic written in advance of Toronto's visit to Qwest Field in August.