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USL Pro expansion news, rumor and wishful thinking.

Discussion in 'USL Expansion' started by ButlerBob, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. leftout1

    leftout1 Member

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    I think the player salaries would be a whole lot more than $100K. For a 20 player roster that's only $5K per player. Double, triple, or quadruple that if you want to be competitive. Plus add in player insurance, possible housing allowances, in excess of $100K in travel plus other costs.
    How much is the average ticket cost at a Fuego game?
     


  2. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    Workman's comp, especially in California, makes it much more expensive than that. And if you were paying $0 for player salaries now and you only added $100,000, you'd be paying each player about $5,000, or about a thousand a month. You're not going to get players for $1,000 a month. You couldn't get good players for $1,000 a month ten years ago.

    You could get local guys, probably, but they're not going to be able to give up whatever their normal jobs are to play professionally for $250 a week. You're surely not going to get players that will make you competitive.

    Travel would be the other expense, obviously. Whereas a California-based PDL team can van or bus it to most (if not all) of their games now, flying nationwide (or even regionally) adds a bunch of money to the expense side of the ledger.

    That would be an outlier if it did happen, based on what the last several PDL teams to turn pro have seen happen to their fan bases.

    1998 - The Miami Breakers and Southwest Florida Manatees went from the PD(S)L to the D3 Pro League. Miami's average went from 295 per game to 116 per game, despite going 17-1 in league play. Southwest Florida lasted one year in D3 and folded. And the Cincinnati Riverhawks went from the PD(S)L (where they had drawn 1,346 per game) to the A-League, where they averaged 1,624 the first year, but then dropped off to 903 and 486 the next two years. They finally folded after the 2003 season.

    2002 - Westchester Flames went from the PDL to the D3 Pro League (after winning the 2001 PDL title) and went from averaging 212 per game to averaging 234 per game. The New York Freedoms went from the PDL to the D3 Pro League and saw their per-game attendance average go from 157 per game to 203 per game. And the Calgary Storm went from the PDL (where they averaged 2,003 per game and were league runners-up) to the A-League, where they drew 1,458 the following year and 1,070 in 2003.

    2011 - Dayton Dutch Lions went from the PDL to USL Pro and saw their crowds drop from 1,274 per game to 661.

    Given your fan base is now conditioned not to have to pay for tickets at all, that's another challenge Fresno would face. Your GM is right. Trust him. It's a big jump, one that has killed many an ambitious club.
     
  3. buzz99

    buzz99 Member

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    Virtually every PDL club that moves up to USL Pro or USL 1, or USL 2 or NASL gets overwhelmed in first year or two of play and racks up substantial debt quickly. This includes Orlando City that won USL Pro this season but spent 2 years as Austin Aztex and were crushed year 1 then improved substantially year 2 when ownership committed to building a big time club and poured huge money into player salaries, training, coaching and ultimate move to Orlando.

    Fresno may be exception when it comes to cost if it can find players on the "cheap" but they must compete with other teams paying $250 - $350k salaries. No matter how good the PDL team is now, the level of competition is definitely greater at USL Pro or NASL. And it is a grinding full season unlike the PDL short season. Flying from CA to NC/SC for back to back Sat. Sun. games then return for Wed. home match against a rested team can be quite grueling.

    Also, sounds like Fresno has a good deal on venue but it must meet USL Pro standards. They must post a bond ($300k?), pay higher league fees, travel greater distances, provide living accomodations for out-of-town players, pay player per diems, share cost associated with opponents travel as well as own travel, pay insurance, workers comp, increase marketing, security, pay agent fees and transfer/visa fees for international players, etc. It's reasonable to figure a buget of $1million in year 1.
     
  4. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

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    True but if USL is to stick with their initial plan of going regional they would compete with West cost NPSL and PDL teams (that also make the jump to USL) Also LA Blues so at fist the difference in salary would only be noticeable among the new teams and the blues.

    Obviously the only way this could work is with a California USL Division with Arizona and Nevada teams in the long run (if they can figure out how to play with 120' heat (I guess after Qatar shows the world how to do it).
     


  5. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    Blues are making a push, signing people, and not just California players. You're still not going to get guys (except local guys) for $1,000 a month. And you know what happens when there's competition...salaries inevitably go up.
     
  6. Throwins

    Throwins Member

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    If Fresno were to go USL Pro there is a possibility Kitsap and Victoria would take a good look at it. Spokane would be a good fit but there isn't an ownership group. You need at least 8 teams to make it work, in order to make that work you would need an airline sponsorship and some kind of a West Coast league sponsorship.
     
  7. UnionFreak1

    UnionFreak1 Member+

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    I can confirm that FC Tucson now is looking at three possible options for there home field. Tucson High School, Kino North, and a third unidentified location. It sounds like Pima County is asking for to much. They've (as in FC Tucson) have also signed an outfitter sponsorship. Can't say who it is yet.
     
  8. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    FC Tucson is not...a 2012 USL Pro expansion team, am I correct?
     
  9. leftout1

    leftout1 Member

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    I believe first year of PDL.
     
  10. UnionFreak1

    UnionFreak1 Member+

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    Correct, but the owners believe that they can be succesful enough to move to USL Pro in 2013. I don't think it will happen, and it won't happen if

    • The Desert Cup draws under 21,000 for the four days
    • The MLS decides not to award the Desert Cup in 2013 to Tucson
    • The season attendance isn't double of what it was last season (850 per game)
    Plus why would Phoenix go directly into Pro with only one other team (if the LA Blues still exist) west of the Mississippi?
     
  11. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    I do not believe MLS "awards" the Desert Cup to anybody, do they? It's not an MLS event, is it? Isn't it an event created and coordinated by the folks down there? Which has to convince individual MLS teams to attend? In which case, you could have all 19 MLS teams say "No thanks," which doesn't seem very likely, but I don't think you're going to have MLS say "You can't host this event, Tucson."

    Also, that's the first time I've seen a number put on FCT's attendance from last year. That seems high. Any actual documentation on that? Doubling that would put them in the top four in the PDL. I don't see that happening.

    And I wasn't suggesting FC Tucson go immediately to the pro level. I was suggesting that news of where it might play in 2012 and the "I've got a secret" bit about a supplier don't belong in this thread, which is about "2012 USL Pro expansion news, rumor and wishful thinking."
     
  12. UnionFreak1

    UnionFreak1 Member+

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    I'll look for papers on the attendance, and how many Pro or PDL clubs have an official outfitter? Felt like it was bigger deal then for most small clubs.
     
  13. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    What do you mean by "official outfitter?" A kit supplier? One of the standard companies that either provides or gives them a deal on their team wear and stuff to sell to fans? Those aren't particularly novel. I would venture a guess most Pro clubs and a lot of PDL clubs have those. It's not that hard to get one of those deals, and they're not like a BCS football program's deal with Nike or anything, where they get millions in free swag.
     
  14. outfit153

    outfit153 New Member

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    Blues Fan here. And as everyone knows last years attendance was terrible. I don't know how much the owner is willing to lose but its obvious that it isn't a money making venture. My wish list for Western expansion teams would be the following:

    San Diego Flash
    Hollywood United
    Sacramento Gold
    San Francisco
    Kitsap Pumas
    Ventura County
    Fresno Fuego

    Obviosly some of these are more likely than others. In all honesty I don't have too much hope for Western expansion and that will likely kill the Blues USL-Pro career. Here is to keeping fingers crossed for the best.
     
  15. outfit153

    outfit153 New Member

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    Blues Fan here. And as everyone knows last years attendance was terrible. I don't know how much the owner is willing to lose but its obvious that it isn't a money making venture. My wish list for Western expansion teams would be the following:

    San Diego Flash
    Hollywood United
    Sacramento Gold
    San Francisco
    Kitsap Pumas
    Ventura County
    Fresno Fuego

    Obviosly some of these are more likely than others. In all honesty I don't have too much hope for Western expansion and that will likely kill the Blues USL-Pro career. Here is to keeping fingers crossed for the best.
     
  16. bullsear

    bullsear Member

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    Like others on this thread, I was wowed by this one. The idea that you'd only be jumping up 100k per year seems a little strange to me. Only? Excluding all the other important costs that others have mentioned, what kind of person wants to lose "only" 100k a year, every year, for the foreseeable future?

    From an ownership standpoint, what incentive is there to move up? If you're drawing like they're drawing, keep going with what works.
     
  17. leftout1

    leftout1 Member

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    FYI - admission currently to Fresno Fuego games is free which makes any potential step up even more potentially problematic (IMO) .
     
  18. bullsear

    bullsear Member

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    Thanks for the info. I would think you're absolutely right. Even a small jump up (like say, from $0 -$5) would drastically change attendance numbers.
     
  19. ButlerBob

    ButlerBob Moderator Staff Member

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    My currnet ideal loaction for an expansion team would be VA Beach / Norfolk. They have a great faciltiy and the base of a pretty good org (ie good PDL and W-Leauge teams, a strong leader/Gm). They would need additional funding. Which is the big blocking point for a number of organziations.
     
    mbsc repped this.
  20. Orlando Rays

    Orlando Rays Copy editing is now my hobby.

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    I would like to see Savannah and Jacksonville get teams as well. We could have teams all the way up the eastern seaboard from Jacksonville to Richmond.
     
  21. amancalledmikey

    amancalledmikey Member

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    PDL to USL PRO is only going to work if USL PRO was your original destination. For instance, a 10 year plan to create a sustainable USL PRO franchise would surely require a couple of seasons in the PDL working out the kinks and logistics.

    Right now, what's required is a concentration on "infill" franchises or places that don't explode the footprint; Lehigh Valley, Syracuse, Albany, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Virginia Beach, Piedmont Triad, Jacksonville. If some of those come in, maybe Nashville. However, what do those places all have in common? They've been ********ed by the USL at some point in the past.
     
  22. Orlando Rays

    Orlando Rays Copy editing is now my hobby.

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    By that logic, Orlando was "shafted by the USL" in the past, too. (see: Orlando Sundogs)

    That is more a function of excited people who want to own franchises, but didn't have the money to go through a few years of losses while getting a viable financial plan worked out and building a semi-stable fan base. USL has a bad habit of finding people who are NOT able to do that.

    Maybe one day they'll stop blindly taking franchise fees and actually spend time properly vetting potential owners.
     
  23. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    You can make the case on Cleveland.

    You're going to have to elaborate on how Lehigh Valley, Syracuse, Albany, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Virginia Beach, Piedmont Triad and Jacksonville were all "********ed by the USL," though.

    I'll hang up and listen to your answer.
     
  24. amancalledmikey

    amancalledmikey Member

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    OK, ********ed by the USL is probably a little dose of my usual hyperbole. What I would suggest is that, at one time or another, all of those markets went into the USL chopshop and either fell apart or self-relegated. All bar Lehigh Valley. The Salty Dogs, the Alleycats, the Cheetahs, the Kings, the Riverhawks, the Bays, Crystal Palace USA, the Mariners, the Dynamo. All their collective failings are a reflection on the way the USL has done business since the SISL days. I would be surprised if municipal leaders don't hear those three letters and groan.

    However, my original point stands. If they're out there soliciting investors and trying to help develop franchises from scratch, they should be concentrating on the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic regions. That's their wheelhouse. If Alec Papadakis and Tim Holt are paying attention, this is what they should be selling.
     
  25. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    If you're going to say that owners of those teams should have been vetted more closely, I'm with you (and, in fact, said that back in the 90s when I worked in the league).

    What you seem to be saying is that all those teams would have been just fine without USL's influence. Knowing a few of those organizations to varying degrees, I can tell you that past the issue of ownership vetting - a pretty big and fundamental issue, I grant you - they weren't going to succeed no matter what league they were in.

    The problem, more precisely, is that "municipal leaders" would likely hear those three letters and ask "Who?"

    And then if told the names of the franchises above, would say, "Who?"

    Civic engagement has rarely been a strong suit of the people who choose to operate lower-level soccer franchises in this country. Regardless of league, some of them were just too dumb and too poor to own teams.

    And I wouldn't leave out Lehigh Valley, either. If you know the history of that whole debacle, and if you tried to deal with those people at the time they were around (as I did), you know the stadium fiasco was only part of the issue.
     

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