On Monday, Seattle Sounders FC announced it was “teaming-up” with its corporate partner Delta Air Lines to “unite Seattle and celebrate Delta's support of the city through one of soccer's most storied traditions - a tifo display.” Misuse of grammar aside, let’s make one thing crystal clear. Corporate “tifo” isn’t what tifo is about.
For decades, supporters across the world have designed, drawn and painted these massive public displays of affection (or anger) across the globe. They give time, money, space, tools and energy to do so. Why? Because they love their clubs. Even when groups have something negative to say, it’s because they love their clubs.
In our opinion, tifo should never involve money from a club's FO nor its corporate sponsors, regardless of it carrying any corporate branding or not.
We know that displays have been made by various supporter groups with the help of (if not complete funding from) clubs and other corporate entities. Emerald City Supporters does not, and will not, ever accept money to create a display or execute one on behalf of a third party. We have received multiple offers to do so in various capacities, and have politely declined all of them. Okay, some were less politely declined than others, but we have declined them nonetheless.
Finally, while the sentiment of “uniting” fans in Seattle is one that we can get behind – whether you’re an ECS member or not – we don’t believe in doing so under the guise of a corporation and calling it “tifo” the way that Delta and the Seattle Sounders are doing so here. It’s not an “activation.” Ever.