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Discussion in 'Austin' started by Barrovianhordes, Oct 17, 2011.
Austin getting loads of props
As far as market size, I do believe Austin could be a viable candidate for an MLS franchise, some day.
Just looking at current data, the Austin metro area is a much larger market (1.7m) than the Salt Lake City area (1.1m). We are also currently almost as large as the Vancouver and Portland metro areas.
There is also no competition from any other large professional sports franchises (and may never be, due to UT).
I believe we also have one of the largest TV viewerships for soccer in the U.S.
I'm not sure MLS will be looking to expand much further, but if they do, I think the best thing we could do to prove the viability of this market would be with attendance numbers at live soccer games.
Whether or not we succeed in ever attracting attention from an MLS investor, doing our best to boost attendance at Aztex matches will be a win all the way around. High attendance at Aztex PDL matches will keep our new team alive and may help us get a (lower division) pro team sooner, and even higher attendance if/when we ever have a pro team again might get us on the radar for MLS expansion at some point in the future.
I agree with KillerMoth, that although we may have the makings of a MLS franchise city, the most important thing we can do now is ensure the success of the teams we'll have soon. Between the PDL and the Super 20 teams that will take the field in 2012, we have great opportunities to show the larger soccer community in this country that Austin still supports soccer. A lot.
And don't forget the WPSL team. I'd like to see that one turn pro, as D1 women's soccer seems to be in serious trouble right now (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women's_Professional_Soccer#Possible_loss_of_D1_status)
Also, some relevant comments paraphrased from Rawlins' interview today on The Best Soccer Show: http://nasn.tv/2011/the-best-soccer-show-episode-16/
Hosts: Why was Austin not a good MLS fit?
Rawlins: Austin market was not "big enough" or "significant enough." Soccer market too crowded with Dallas and Houston already there. Stadium situation in Austin was bad. Austin a good minor league place but "certainly not going to attract major league attention."
To be fair, he also makes some positive comments about his time in Austin and what a difficult decision it was to move.
Beyond the announcement on USL's website, I've not heard any more about the WPSL team in Austin. Anyone have any links that talk to the latest on this (beyond the general sanctioning issue)?
I'd buy season tickets for that! Those my girls and I wanna see 'em play!! (talking about the US WNT and WPS)
Was this his view point when setting up the Aztex ? if yes then why bother in the 1st place.
All the stats were improving every season, makes no sense to me at all.
That's something that's been bugging me, and keeps bugging me though I try to ignore it. At the very first Rawlins-era meeting that I attended, he said quite plainly that Austin is a 2nd division town and he had no interest in MLS.
The only way I can rationalize it is by deciding that his attitude changed. Most likely when he couldn't find immediate partners here in Austin, and found immediate partners in Orlando. And those partners had grander plans.
I can understand. I mean, plans change. I don't have the same plans that I had five years ago.
But it still pisses me off. And pisses me off more every time I see some new interview with him.
I've been figuring that it was his new partner (that guy from Burnley, whatever his name is) that had plans for MLS. First time I ever heard Phil say anything about MLS was the press conference in Orlando.
The old Aztex business plan, as I understood it, was based on scouting and signing players that they could sell to another club (especially English clubs, given the focus on guys who'd played at the international level and UK citizens, which would qualify them to play in England). I'm guessing that this wasn't working out, given that we only ever sold one player.
That's right. The MLS has/had greater restrictions on a clubs ownership of it's players, and the ability to profit from their sale. But the lower leagues are unstable, and the quality of the players just isn't enough, in general, to attract potential overseas buyers. On the other hand, the MLS looks stronger than ever. And with only a few spots left in the MLS, it makes sense to invest in a club rather than players.
I second this. I heard that statement that day, and I heard it several times thereafter, and I never heard a whisper of anything to the contrary.
I third and fourth this. I'm actually surprised at how bitter I still am, after this much time, and after we know that we have live soccer coming back next year.
For the record, while IMHO Markley is doing fine so far, I think he's still digging out of the crater that Rawlins' departure blasted into the Austin soccer landscape. If Rawlins had been graceful or professional in the slightest about the move, maybe Markley wouldn't have to rebuild all the contacts and relationships (sponsors, stadium plans, partners, volunteers, staff, youth clubs, etc.) practically from scratch. From everything I've seen, the Aztex we'll have next year is 100% in spite of the previous owners, with 0% help from them.
I will share that I would feel no small amount of satisfaction if Austin is being considered as a MLS expansion candidate in a few years (even more so if Orlando is still all talk at that point).
I don't hold out too much hope of it, but we do have a lot going for us (when viewed through the lens of MLS expansion):
-Our demographics fit (most of our population is young).
-We are a much larger city than most people realize, and we're one of the fastest growing cities in the country.
-The closest major league sports franchise is in San Antonio.
-The TV ratings for soccer in Austin have been among the highest in the country, lately (MLS seems to place a lot of importance on the size of the TV market).
-The economy in Austin is excellent, especially compared to the rest of the country; people here have money to spend.
-And like the cities in the Cascadia region, people here have a taste for things that are not mainstream.
All that being said, it should also add up to strong support for lower division soccer, too, if we can overcome the damage done by what happened last year.
I think word-of-mouth will probably be the best way to overcome that. (I plan to practice the methods of the Free Beer Movement to try to get my friends out to Aztex games this season.)
Don't we still face the same problems we have always faced -- (1) how to appeal to the hispanic and non-hispanic demographics simultaenously, and (2) a soccer specific stadium?
Re (1), I claim no particular expertise on that issue, but it seems to be a difficult nut to crack. Style of play seems to loom larger than I ever thought it would, as does stadium location. Regarding style, now that virtually EPL team (most teams everywhere) play a possession, passing-game style of attack, it was always frustrating to watch the old Aztex long-ball approach. Perhaps our new English manager will bring a more modern approach. On the stadium question, I was truly surprised by the number of suburban soccer parents who would not go to Reagan for games because they thought it was unsafe. I was flabbergasted by that. (Or should I say gobsmacked? .
Re (2), I have the impression that it is very difficult to get into the black unless one can sell beer (to be blunt about it). If you can sell beer, you can attract more people -- more ticket and concession revenue. In order to sell beer you can't be in an AISD facility, or at least, that's my understanding. And siting a SSS seems like a really tall order here. The only thing that would make me optimistic about it is if some rich Austin soccer fan ponied up $20 million for a downtown SSS. That might get the ball rolling.
Suburban soccer parents who are afraid to take their kids to a public event at a high school football stadium are welcome to stay home, as far as I'm concerned. People like that are probably more of a detractor than a benefit.
Anyone trying to please everyone all of the time is going to please no one in the end.
Why not hook up with the Austin Rugby club ?
They already have the facilites and sell BOOZE, If a groundshare agreement can be brokered the fledging club could go through the early growing pains and build their fan base while trying to save up seed money for their own SSS ?
See what Buda, Cedar Park, or Round Rock have to offer.
Adrian Heath told me himself the other year that CP were negotiating to build the club a SSS up that way previously, would that offer still be out there ?
Obviously the scale will be reduced but from little acorns
Noooooooooooooo! I mean, I'd go, but I'd much rather not. Give me a high school football stadium in the city before a SSS in the 'burbs. Hell, I'd rather see them play on the roof of Whole Foods.
As much as I'd like to say that a SSS is in the cards for the next couple of years, reality is that in this economy, and with the resources available today, a SSS (even a small 4500 seat environment) is not possible unless built by someone else. Example would be Mike Meyers Stadium (which isn't realistic based on past experiences). What we have to do is continue to show the community will come out and watch, to show investors with very deep pockets that they'll get a return on their money.
Until then, we're going to play on pitches that will most likely have American football lines on them.
Consider other uses to make money off a stadium. What attributes would our SSS need to have so that could be competitive and attractive as a concert venue? Any other use? Outdoor conventions?
Mike Myers just sits there and takes up space most of the year. I can't believe we can't get a foot in the door to negotiate for its use.
The problem is, the window that UT allows for others is just the summer. It might be possible for a PDL team to use it, scheduling-wise. But it's too big for a PDL team -- attendances would definitely not make it worth the cost to rent.
Besides, there's a lot of buildings that UT owns that just sit there most of the year. For example, the football stadium.
UT doesn't need to have anyone using Mike Meyers other than UT Athletics, as they don't require the additional cash. So from a negotiating stand point, we don't have anything they need/want.
Hmmm....Sounds like they need budget cuts!!
But that was just venting steam. The main point of my post (the part meant to be most constructive) was to to come up with the attributes that make a good multi-use facility so that investors could make money with the stadium from sources other than AzteX soccer. What makes a stadium an attractive concert venue? What other uses can it have? School graduations? Outdoor convention center? What other function could be used to sell it to investors so they can make money and we can get a nice soccer-park.
I agree with all of the above posts however I just can't relate to the name. Every time I hear Aztex I have visions of Oompa Loompas running around the pitch.
We hope you can get beyond the name. I don't know any brand that has 100% support. The reason for keeping the name is that it's brand recognition in Austin media and the community is too great. The Aztex Executive Committee spent a ton of time talking about keeping it or not last summer, and the feeling was that we couldn't show that the team is totally different, without having to start from scratch on equating soccer to the team.