Major League Soccer (MLS) club Philadelphia Union is interviewing applicants for a CTO position at the organization, but not like any CTO a sports team has had before. The Union’s Vice President of Marketing Doug Vosik had the idea of hiring a Chief Tattoo Officer to unite fans and players of the club.
Vosik came up with the idea after talking to a newly signed defender Giliano Wijnaldum from the Netherlands. There was an apparent language barrier between the two upon meeting for the first time but they were able to bond over their shared love of tattoos. Vosik ran the idea of a professional team tattoo artist by the Union players and top brass and it was almost unanimously loved. Over 10 players and staff members who have no tattoos said they were willing to get their first together as a team-building and bonding experience.
The application for Chief Tattoo Officer for the Union quickly went viral due to the fact that no other sports organization has done anything close before. Vosik made it known that his CTO hire is not just to garner media attention for the Union. “To me, one of the most important things is this is not a stunt,” said Vosik. “This is a legit partner we are bringing on board to take care of our players and do some really fun things with fans eventually, once we have a shop.”
Once hired, the Union’s CTO will be treated the same as a doctor or trainer of the club. “So we’ll just be, let’s call it, a high-profile client,” said Vosik. “We can send our players to their shop, or if they’re comfortable in our own environment, we’ll bring the artist over.” Vosik himself will be the first to get inked by the new CTO of the Philadelphia Union.
The Philadelphia Union are going out on a limb and doing something no sports organization has ever done before. That alone garnered enough media attention to make even the most casual sports fan interested in this story. The Union are showing solidarity between the staff, players, and fans with the addition of the CTO. This is only furthered by Vosik being the first person to be tattooed. It shows that this is not a gimmick and the club is truly devoted to making a bond with its fans. Next step for Vosik is to build an on-campus tattoo shop that fans fan visit and enjoy. Americans — with the exception of parental approval — have to be 18 years or older to get a tattoo which could cause some trouble with parents of young fans.
The Union bringing on a Chief Tattoo Officer gathered massive amounts of attention for an organization that does not get national media excitement. Most people reading about the addition of the CTO have not heard of the Union or are not big fans of the MLS. All of that is amazing for the club, but I would recommend taking preemptive measures to not anger parents of young fans. The Union should send a press release out stating the obvious: that they do not condone tattoos for anyone under age 18 and their intention was not to make minors want tattoos. This will cover their tracks and not allow too much negative publicity to come from the hire.
To make the most of this rare national media attention, I suggest the Union keep the momentum going and set up a “meet and greet” between players and interested fans. This will be another opportunity to showcase the new CTO hire while allowing fans to see and communicate with the players of the Union. Players can interact and show their tattoos to fans, furthering the connection between fan and club. People who have heard of the Union because of the CTO hire and live in the area can go check out the club for themselves to see if they want to become fans.