Is this league sustainable?

Discussion in 'NWSL' started by Kampfschwein, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. Kampfschwein

    Kampfschwein Member

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    I've read people saying this is a "critical year". Anyone care to elaborate on whether the WPS' business model can survive?

    Perhaps they ought to go semi-professional, no?


  2. SiberianThunderT

    SiberianThunderT Member+

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    If they go semi-pro they might as well assimilate into the W-League. =-/

    I honestly think there's nothing wrong with the business model. IMO, WPS's survival depends much less on business model than on dedicated owners. The problem is simply that women's soccer is a hard sell. Still, I think WPS teams are more likely to begin operating in the black sooner than MLS were.
    Disclaimer: this is coming from someone with no business school background and no knowledge of WPS (or MLS) team budgets besides salary caps and total end-of-year gains/losses.
  3. newsouth

    newsouth Member

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    John Howell - Here’s the thing. You missed my point. Yes, I agree, Sahlen has an ingenious business plan for the Flash, and I said so. I understand and agree, he doesn’t need the team to break even because the team is part of his budgeted marketing expense. It is a model other WPS clubs should adopt. Corporate ownership may be all that can save the league in the end.

    Outside of crazy support like Boston gets...is there any other way for WPS teams to make it long term?

    Also...wasnt it SkyBlue ExGM who said operational cost for a team was $3M?

    If that is so, and i'm sure Atl is less, several teams are far from the black with 2800-3200 attendees per game.

    I guess you'll also have to keep an eye on MagicJack also with the corporate model.
  4. ManUFan17

    ManUFan17 New Member

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    Yes it was me. Teams are learning to lower that cost, but the problem is revenue, not cost. Generating revenue is the hardest part. Tix are one piece-and your numbers are high for PAID tickets. Announced attendance IS NOT paid attendance in WPS or any other sport. Paid tickets is what pays the bills. Sponsor revenue is the other piece, and this is getting increasingly more difficult to get. Very competitive to get these dollars, and the WPS story may be compelling by reaching moms and kids, but the challenge is scale. There just isn't the scale there. Minor league baseball has more pull for the dollars because of their stadiums, timeouts in their games, and number of events. When you are only offering 9-10 games, and 3000 per game that just isn't enough bodies. And please don't talk about online-I know the numbers and the reaction to them from sponsors.


  5. newsouth

    newsouth Member

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    :.)
  6. dsirias

    dsirias Member

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    My humble answer to the poster's question is no. Not with the exisitng model at this juncture. First rate women's pro socccer is viable in this county short term only if MLS deep pockets take over and run, or allow someone else to run, a women's division. Vancouver has indicated it will go in first. There is probably a second MLS team on the west coast willing to do the same as vancouver. Why would vancouve enter otherwise? If the loss leadership is not to bad, you might see MLS go in with both feet. That will save high level women's soccer in this country. The value of MLS branding and marketing expertise, coupled with exisitng infrastructure, cannot be replaced. You dont see any women's team in England successfully going it alone. There is a reason for that. And they are a soccer crazy culture. The USA is not.
  7. newsouth

    newsouth Member

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    i'll have to disagree, say soccer is more respected in the usa/north america for girls than in europe or south america in which it's a men's game.

    corporate model can save the wps and tight book-keeping. they just have to work with 2800 - 5000 (Boston) a game which is still better than europe.

    a full union with the mls could turn the wps into the side show game before the mls match. of course several mls owned teams is a good thing. but lets see what happens with sahlen and new jack's models because they are pretty new to womens' soccer.
  8. dablackdoctor23

    dablackdoctor23 New Member

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    I agree with you. I think that sahlen and jack are on to something: owner's who will use wps as advertising costs. It sounds brilliant, I hope it works. Takes a lot of pressure off of trying to operate in the black based on paying attendance. Having a couple MLS teams wanting to come in is fine and would be welcomed $$. Hopefully a bump in attendance/revenue will convince more investors to come in and hopefully relaunch chi-town and washington.
  9. StarCityFan

    StarCityFan BigSoccer Supporter

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    When the Freedom did that with DC United, hardly anyone showed up because the MLS fans were still at their tailgate parties. Last year's match with the Freedom game afterwards did rather better, though.
  10. pressurecooker

    pressurecooker Member

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    As someone already alluded to if they go semi-pro then they might as well join the W-league. I am also curious to see if the Salen and MagicJack models can work.

    The problem with the other 4 teams is the same problem that has plagued this league since year 1. How do you get sponsorships with out fans and how do you get fans without money for advertising? You need very creative GMs to pull this off. I would argue that the GMs are good and fully commited in this league but their hands are tied with limited resources and the only avenue is a grassroots approach. Will this model work, the grassroots approach needs 2 things: time and money. As long as the owners are able to keep pumping money in, the more opportunity the word of mouth approach has its chance to work its magic.

    I think the only thing that will save this league is Vancouver and possibly 2 other teams on the west coast coming into the league for 2012 and some increase in average attendance. The other challenge facing this league, if I am not mistaken is the majority of the league contracts are up for renewal this year but specifically FSC & Puma. If the league struggles again this season with no expansion I think those contracts are a long shot to be renewed or replaced by someone else.
  11. bythesea

    bythesea Member

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    But if as you say, WPS teams have difficulty getting business sponsorships because they have too few fans and their media profile is too low, then what sense does it make to operate a team primarily as a vehicle for promoting a product? At least the business sponsor knows how many dollars it's expending.
  12. UNC4EVER

    UNC4EVER Member

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    This league is For Sure sustainable!

    What a great opening to the TV season. Really nice game, on a profesionally marked (if not professionally groomed) field, with some commentators I actually enjoyed hearing. What a brand new day!

    Clearly a lot of turmoil in the off-season, but the calibre of play looks to be improved, as does the TV coverage. I know we will be watching games on football fields in the days to come, but this was a Very Nice start, and what the league could be. What we saw tonight was for sure a sustainable sports event!
  13. ForeverLOST108

    ForeverLOST108 Member

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    I'm not so sure I felt the same way. I don't know how to describe it but just watching today's game didn't have the same feel/buzz around it.
  14. WPS_Movement

    WPS_Movement Member+

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    2011 TV coverage vs. 2010 TV coverage on FSC:

    2011 (this year) is better on:
    Commentators: These two newbies are better than Rogondino and Hildreth.
    Picture/Video quality: More sharp, closer action, better camera angles, replays, etc.
    Uniforms: The uniforms look better. The Independence road unis are better. And Sky Blue's best blue ones yet. I can dig these new socks.
    Players' bodies: The women look more fit, and a few look more sexy. This year > Last year for looks.

    2010 (last year) was better on:
    Referees/Calls: They made way too many "cheap" and "ticky-tack" calls tonight to stop the action. Let the women play.
    Speed/Agression: It seemed the players were faster and more aggressive going after 50-50 and available balls last year. Probably just 1st game jitters.


    Overall, 2011 is better so far.
    The things that were better in 2010 are correctable or improvable.
  15. AMBreakers

    AMBreakers Member

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    The new announcers were spot on with their commentary, but WPS just wouldn't be the same without Rogondino and Hildreth.

    Overall, I think the quality of play will go down this year. Any game involving Atlanta will be a complete mismatch, first of all. Considering how many free agent goalkeepers were available this offseason, having Cat Whitehill in goal at the end of the game...And then there's the national team callups. Despite their second half comeback, today wasn't vintage Philly without Magnusdottir, Lindsey and Arod playing the full 90. We might be in for a lot more tale-of-two-halves games like this over the course of the year.

    As for uniforms, the less change between years the better. Keep it simple.
  16. RUfan

    RUfan Member

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    Announced attendance at the SB game last night was 2910 (and it looked lower than that); has to be one of the lowest ever for the team. The highest price season ticket section, where we sit, had many empty seats.
  17. pasoccerdad

    pasoccerdad Member

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    Maybe they need to lower the price a few dollars and promote it to get more in the stadium... Needed to hire their announcer to sell to clubs - 2X as many at a reduced price is better then empty seats.... sounded very quiet on TV
  18. dablackdoctor23

    dablackdoctor23 New Member

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    Definitely not a good sign. From all accounts it was excellent soccer weather. I will probably account that to the fact that it was on a Sunday night and kids are still in school. Hopefully (fingers crossed) when schools let out the attendances will go up. But who really knows at this point.
  19. newsouth

    newsouth Member

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    i have to agree. the game was a bit flat in the beginning. 2nd half was a joy. you really need the best players on the field. there is a drop, a big drop off without the NT players. a-rod turns philly into another team. you just have to look at atlanta.

    this week is jack and wny who play boston and philly. both of those games should be available in a double header or saturday/sunday TV. shame on wps. does the NT and pia have another camp? :rolleyes:

    i think we get an idea of how good the 4 best teams are and how good the over play is.

    i can say the philly/blue 2nd half was better than any mls game i saw this week.
  20. dablackdoctor23

    dablackdoctor23 New Member

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    I've said this before on other forums, but the fact that the league site has been down for the past 2 games is SHOCKING. Unacceptable and I hope they can fix the problem ASAP. No reason why people can't get onto the site during the match.
  21. StarCityFan

    StarCityFan BigSoccer Supporter

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    Not a roster issue - they had Lipsher on the bench; they just couldn't use her because they'd used up their three subs. Same reason Cat had to play goal for the Freedom last year.
  22. SiberianThunderT

    SiberianThunderT Member+

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    Once I got matchtracker up, I had no problems with it, but yeah the problem of just getting there is a glaring issue.
  23. REALfootballRulez

    REALfootballRulez Member

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    I'd have to agree. WPS doesn't need owners it needs BENEFACTORS.

    They need people to take over the league KNOWING ahead of time it will be a loss leader and may NEVER make a profit or just break even at best!

    I find it hard to believe it costs $3 million a year to run a WPS team. They better get than down to $1.5 million or so if they want this to work!
  24. REALfootballRulez

    REALfootballRulez Member

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    The buzz has CLEARLY gone down in this league! The first year it felt almost like the Mia/Brandi days with Marta, Wambach, Solo, Kelly Smith, etc.

    The fans seem to have more of a buzz too.

    I saw some at that Sky Blue opener on FSC and the crowd seemed almost non-existent. Just not the same as it was in the beginning.
  25. REALfootballRulez

    REALfootballRulez Member

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    Did Sky Blue attendance go up much when school went out the past 2 seasons??

    From what I recall it hardly made any difference except for the 1st season when they really seemed to pick up towards the end.

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