We just wanted to take this opportunity to wish a Happy New Year to all of our readers.¬ Thank
you for a great 2010 and we look forward to analyzing the business of American soccer in 2011.¬ It
will be our third season of MLS and WPS coverage and we hope it will be our most comprehensive
season of reporting to date.
Yesterday we recapped our top five 2010 stories from the world of American soccer business.¬
Today, we thought it worth taking a look at the coming year to predict the big business stories for
2011.¬ We'll dispense with the list format, but here are some thoughts on what will make headlines
It is the season for lists, so here is our list of the top five soccer business stories in the
United States.¬ Let us know y0ur thoughts....what did we miss?
5. WPS Struggles
Two years ago, WPS launched with great fanfare, including the signing of world star Marta, a
relationship with PUMA, a television relationship with FSC and a promise to provide quality soccer
without budget busting salaries.
Time for our last stadium update of 2010.¬ It has been an exiting year for the development of
soccer specific stadiums in this country.¬ Perhaps the signature stadium moment for 2010 was the
opening of Red Bull Arena.¬ The new structure met and exeeded expectations in almost every way and
has become the showpiece edifice of Major League Soccer.
Perhaps the biggest business story of the year was the CBA negiations between MLS and the
Players' Union.¬ Fans waited anxiously as the league and players headed towards the season without
a deal.¬ As the date to start the season got closer, the parties agreed to submit their dispute to
Over the next few days, we will craft some new posts and re-post of some of the most popular
articles from 2010.¬ We'll start with our interview with Union VP of Marketing, Cara Joftis.¬ The
Union had a remarkably success first season, and this interview from January provided some
interesting insight into the team's marketing plans.
The most recent Sports Illustrated presented the magazine's review of sports media, but the
issue exemplified the repeated and varied soccer coverage in SI.¬ Soccer featured prominently
throughout, including an interview with new ESPN hire Ian Darke, and a discussion of ESPN's "The
As part of its ongoing (and successful) effort to keep MLS on the minds of fans during the
winter months, the league has announced the home openers for all of the teams.¬ We thought we
would take a quick business look at some of the initial match-ups. For the first time, the league
will open its slate with a stand alone match on a Tuesday.
Toronto FC has announced that it has sold its entire season ticket allotment for 2011.¬ In
order to fill out its season ticket roster, the team transferred 700 members from its waiting list
to replace tickets that were not renewed.¬ Given the state of the team, lack of a coach, lack of
success on the field and the disappointing display at MLS Cup, this represents a remarkable
achievement for the franchise.
After an exciting day of action on Wednesday in the re-entry draft, there are a number of
smaller stories that are generating interest in American soccer.¬ We'll start in WPS, where the
struggling league has announced that the six remaining teams will conduct the college draft on
January 14.¬ The four round draft will be streamed on the league website.
The second phase of the re-entry draft is over after a whirlwind day in MLS.¬ Leading up to the
drafts, fans, players, journalists and teams were unsure what to expect.¬ After a quiet first
phase, we got an orgy of activity that created buzz around the league and put MLS on the media
landscape in the middle of December.
Don Garber announced today that Kathy Carter has been named President of SUM.¬ Carter, who most
recently served as Executive Vice President, will manage the day-to day operations of SUM, as well
as lead the strategic planning and vision for increasing commercial revenues for Major League
Soccer, all MLS clubs and all properties represented by SUM.
We are on the road, so we thought we would revisit a post from the early Summer after we took in
a Revs/Union game at PPL Park.¬ It was a great experience and the stadium was impresive.¬ Here
was our thoughts.
Structurally and aesthetically, the stadium looks great.¬ It's waterfront location tucked under
the Commodore Barry Bridge provides great views (ships heading down the river were visible
throughout the match).
MLS and WPS are firmly entrenched in the off season period and after its frustration in Zurich,
US Soccer is also entering a quiet time.¬ With no games to play, we thought it would be
interesting to see how some of the major publications are covering soccer during this period.¬
We'll start in Salt Lake City, where the most recent article from the Trib discusses the signing of
Saborio as the team's first designated player.
With the Holiday Season upon us, we thought it worth taking a look at some of the ticket sale
deals being offered around the league.¬ The Revs are offering a Holiday mini plan.¬ The plan,
starting at $68, includes tickets to four games and a choice of a Revs themed gift (e.g. Revs
playing cards, ball, etc.
Back in January (and a couple of times since), we discussed MLS' efforts to measure the value of
its television exposure through various local and national broadcasts.¬ Through the website
criticalmention.com, MLS tries to alert media¬ to the "value" of its presence on various
For the first time that I can remember, MLS sent out a purely commercial e-mail today in the
form of a VW advertisement.¬ The e-mail was presumably sent to all who have registered their
e-mail with MLS.¬ The e-mail made no reference to soccer (other than the sender address and an
official partner note) and simply included a number of lease deals for the longtime MLS automobile
The Houston Dynamo will have a new jersey sponsor in 2011.¬ The Houston Chronicle is reporting
that the Dynamo have signed a five year $12.7 million jersey sponsorship with Greenstar Recycling.
In addition to its logo on the front of the jersey, Greenstar has signed on to become the first
founding partner of the team's new downtown stadium.
After more than seven seasons in MLS, Kelly Gray¬ retired in 2009.¬ Gray was part of the
Project-40 program and was the 5th overall draft pick in the 2002 MLS Superdraft.¬ After a number
of years in Chicago, he also played in San Jose, Houston, Los Angeles and Colorado.¬ Following his
retirement, Gray has been involved in a number of business ventures, including coaching.
Yes there was a big business story coming out of Zurich, but that ship has sailed, so we thought
it worth taking a look at the MLS stadium situation.¬ The big news today came out of Houston,
where the Dynamo announced that they had reached a lease agreement with the County Sports
authority.¬ The proposed stadium will be shared with Texas Southern Football and other local
Sorry for the lack of post today.¬ Something "popped" in my leg last night during an indoor
soccer game and a post just didn't happen.¬ Today is the big day for World Cup 2022 and all of the
significant business implications for the US and MLS.¬
We hope to have something substantive tonight.