It’s a longstanding concert tradition: A band comes to town for a show and performs a few songs while wearing the jerseys of a local sports team. The goal is to milk some good will and (cheap? you decide) applause from the fans on hand.
Taylor Swift has done it. Garth Brooks has done it. Flo Rida has done it.
So members of the Korean girl group STAYC have been donning jerseys for stops on their American tour. What could go wrong? In Dallas last week, something did.
Who are STAYC?
STAYC is a South Korean pop group that debuted in 2020. Its members are Isa, J., Seeun, Sieun, Sumin and Yoon. STAYC has a classic K-pop girl group sound, with bubbly lyrics, catchy hooks and an occasional rap verse to go with their slick dance moves.
The name is an acronym for the English phrase “Star to a Young Culture,” and the group has had top-five hits in South Korea like “Run2U” and “Teddy Bear.”
The group is now on a tour of North America as its popularity has grown on the other side of the Pacific; its latest project has landed on Billboard’s world music chart.
What happened in Dallas?
As the group has traveled around the United States, it has broken out jerseys corresponding to the location of its concerts. Typically, two teams from each region have been represented, with three band members in each.
On Oct. 11 in Brooklyn, for example, members wore Yankees and Mets jerseys. In Chicago two days later, they wore Bears and Bulls jerseys. So far, so good.
For the Dallas concert, at the Factory in Deep Ellum on Thursday, local teams were chosen again, naturally. But something was wrong.
Sure enough, some group members wore Dallas Cowboys jerseys. But others were decked out not in the jerseys of the Texas Rangers baseball team, but the jerseys of the Rangers soccer team.
Which is based in Glasgow.
The blue jerseys were throwbacks to the 1990s and advertised the team’s sponsor at the time, McEwans Lager, a thirst quencher on both sides of the pond, but more readily associated with the Scottish Highlands than with the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Representatives for STAYC did not respond to a request for comment.
What is the difference between the two Rangers?
The Texas Rangers were born in 1972, when the Washington Senators moved to town. Despite fielding superstars such as Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro over the years, the team is one of six in Major League Baseball to never win the World Series. That could change this year; they qualified for a trip to the Series on Monday night.
No such drought for the Glasgow Rangers; they have won the top tier of Scottish soccer 55 times and dominate the league alongside their hated rival, Celtic, also based in Glasgow.
Another way to tell the difference: Texas Rangers fans include George W. Bush, while Glasgow Rangers fans include Gordon Ramsay and Sean Connery.
Other teams worldwide with the name include the New York Rangers of hockey, the English soccer club Queens Park Rangers and the sports teams from Regis University in Denver.
None of those teams’ jerseys were spotted at the STAYC concert in Dallas.
What was the reaction?
Understandably, Glaswegians (at least those who aren’t Celtic fans) seemed chuffed by the unexpected endorsement. “They appear to have won over some punters in Scotland with the Light Blues support jumping on the STAYC bandwagon,” The Daily Record of Glasgow reported.
But no international incident seemed to be brewing to threaten the Special Relationship. Texas fans, at least those who sounded off online, reacted more with amusement than scorn.
STAYC is heading to the West Coast for more concerts and will finish its American leg in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Memo to STAYC: You want silver and black for the Los Angeles Kings of the N.H.L. If the jersey is red, you may be celebrating the Punjab Kings, the Indian cricket team.