New women's league planned for 2013

Discussion in 'NWSL' started by kolabear, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    So your solution is "get people to give money who don't want to give money." If Nike wanted to pony up more money, they would have already. If SUM wanted in, they would have been in. If there were more owners out there with money, willing to lose it on a league, they would have done so already. You can't squeeze water from a stone.


  2. Morris20

    Morris20 Member

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    or in your world, leverage your influence (and forgoing short term basically extorted payments) to make everyone more money in the long run?
  3. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    Your problem is you are hung up on salary with no concept of the viability of a league. WUSA and WPS taught us all (everyone except you it seems) that if you overpay, the league runs out of money and folds. Every other sports league in the world that is still operating has taught us that if you start small and cheap (pay what you can afford - a novel concept, I'm sure), then you can stay around long enough to bring more money into the game. Read up about the early years of sports leagues if you don't believe me.

    The only thing the USWNT players can leverage their influence into getting is something cheaper and more affordable than WPS. Their "leverage" couldn't keep that league going any more than the '99 squad could keep theirs going. This isn't about making people money, this is about giving them a place to play that won't disappear in two years.
  4. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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    I think that's way too simplistic. Every league I can think of has had multiple teams fail or fold (in other words, they didn't "pay what they could afford"). Sports leagues are risky ventures and while we may agree that the costs still need to be brought down for women's soccer and to make the risks acceptable, there is no way of making a worthwhile league a safe business venture.

    What is there to read up on regarding MLS? Yes, they started with low minimum salaries (and they still do compared with the older established major sports in the US) but you still had several teams folding or being taken over by either Anschutz or Lamar Hunt. If I recall, within 5 or 6 years, MLS was down to three ownership groups owning all the teams to keep the league going: Anchutz, Lamar Hunt and Kraft.


  5. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    I never said there wouldn't be teams folding/relocating. I said the league would be stable enough to continue past 3 years and eventually grow. Being financially sound allows you to mitigate the potential damage of a team folding. Overspending leaves you no margin for error. My argument still stands, leagues start small and cheap and then grow.
  6. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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    Your argument provides very little useful guidance about what is financially sound and what isn't, what is overspending and what isn't, what is "small and cheap" enough and what isn't. MLS -- and in particular Phil Anschutz and Lamar Hunt must've lost a combined 100 million through the first 10 years of the league (someone correct me if I'm wrong). No one is saying it would make sense to invest that much in a new women's soccer league but MLS does exemplify the virtue of thinking big.
  7. luvdagame

    luvdagame Member

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    everyone would unhesitatingly think big if there were enough fan support and uncle phils available for the womens game. failing the miraculous discovery of such a "banker", however, which option, (admitting that there is no standard definition of these terms), do you think presents us with a better chance of survival - "thinking big" or starting "small and cheap"?
  8. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    All the info and guidance that you need is readily available. In fact, we've been using it for years. WUSA and WPS, WPSL-Elite and every semi-pro women's league around the world. The financial data is right there for anyone willing to see it. The powers-that-be that met weeks ago undoubtedly heeded that info, it is why they are not proposing another league on the level of WPS, and why they are proposing something more than WPSL-Elite. It wasn't a random framework, it was crafted after over a decade of trying to launch pro women's leagues in the US.

    To keep harping on about MLS and Anschutz would be foolish for us women's soccer fans because like I've said, there is no Anschutz or Hunt or Oprah or Ellen willing to step in and fund a women's league, whether on the level of MLS, WPS, or even WPSL-Elite. The reason Anschutz and Hunt were willing to invest that much in MLS in the first place is because they were big believers and supporters of men's soccer, they had enough money that they were willing to risk that large of an investment, and there have been numerous examples supporting the potential for a successful pro men's league (every pro men's soccer league in the world, not to mention successful men's sports leagues in the States like the NHL, MLB, NBA, and NFL). And their belief has paid off, the league is growing, revenues are growing, infrastructure is growing, viewership is growing, etc. This wasn't based off a hope and a prayer, this was based off of serious research and decades of info provided by other men's leagues all over the world.

    Whenever someone wants to start a business - whether a restaurant, carwash, gallery, etc - they put together a business plan. That plan includes what they can reasonably expect to bring in in terms of revenue and the growth potential of that revenue. Those numbers are determined in large part by looking at competitors, those that failed and those that are successful. Anschutz, Hunt, and others have no doubt looked at the numbers in the women's game and they aren't impressed. Therefore, no big cash injection is on the horizon. The new league will have to count on the more traditional methods of generating revenue, and those revenue streams will determine how much players make, how long the season is, how much travel they can afford, etc. And based on the revenue and expenditures of WUSA, WPS, and women's leagues around the world - and taking into account the unique logistical issues that a national league spread across the entire United States poses - the people looking to start up a new league have made estimations, of which we have heard early figures around $500,000 per team per year total budget. This could change based on sponsor interest, broadcast interest, etc, but these guys are not throwing out numbers randomly.

    So, it is really simple. We can afford a WPSL, we're doing it right now. We can't afford a WPS, we've tried. The solution set has been narrowed significantly by these prior attempts. The potential franchises all seem to be on board with these numbers, now we fans just have to admit that this is the way to go. There won't be six figure salaries, there won't even be salaries halfway to six figures. A thirty game season is unlikely. Top stars from all over the world are unlikely. That's the reality. I didn't create it. US Soccer didn't create it. It's what the economic, cultural, and athletic culture in our country have determined. We can work within it or we can fight it and fail once again.
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  9. necron99

    necron99 Member

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    Sadly it doesn't appear we can even afford WPSL (non-elite) right now. There are WPSL teams that took themselves out of the playoffs because of the cost to travel.

    Clearly as fans we all want to have a league. The players, owners, and USSF all want to have a league. But we are trying to squeeze blood from a stone. The owners will lose some money, the players will get paid little. (Less then they deserve for the hard work that they put in as pro athletes). In the end it will depend on how little the players are willing to play for. If the players can't come down in salary low enough and leave to play elsewhere, it will greatly hurt the league. If the owners can't afford to pay enough, reasonably, to keep the players then they will leave. A happy medium has to be found. The players don't "deserve" to be paid so little. The owners don't "deserve" to lose money. But the money just isn't there.
    Greg_G repped this.
  10. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    I disagree. What the WPSL understands - and what many women's leagues around the world understand, and what we're starting to understand - is that lower costs create more stability (for the league moreso than any individual franchise - which is how it should be, a league wants to be able to go on even after losing a franchise...or five). So, you have this example in WPSL where a few teams can't travel for the playoffs...well, does that sink the league, no. The frugality of the WPSL ensures that there are enough teams to have a season year after year, and to deal with situations like the one you just mentioned. A couple of teams can't compete, they'll just substitute others. It's not ideal, running a league on a small budget never is and that's why teams relocate and fold, but it protects the league as a whole when problems like this do arise (early MLS survived contraction and relocation because of a modest financial plan; if they spent like the EPL out of the gate they would have been toast after losing those franchises). WPS costs were so high they could only start up 7 teams at its inception, then slowly shrunk to 4 before Sahlen and Borislow stepped in to keep the league going. But that left the league vulnerable to Borislow's non-sense, and unable to defend itself against his violations of league rules.


    Agree 100%
  11. necron99

    necron99 Member

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    You misunderstood my statement. I was saying that the money isn't there for even WPSL level teams to break even.

    However,I do feel it hurts the league if teams that win their division can't participate in the playoffs when they played well enough to earn them. It angers/disappoints the fans that you need to support and finance the teams. If fans see their team win and then not go to the playoffs because of cost, you will lose some of them. They will think that it is a fly by night operation. It also hurts the players. They play at low salaries to continue their soccer careers, and hopefully these teams provide a professional environment when it comes to training and skill growth. Loss of playing against other top quality players and teams during the playoffs can limit that growth. Hell the captain of the W-League Atlanta Silverbacks retired this year after missing the Eastern Conference playoffs as the 3rd best team because of the weird playoff selection rules. If teams can't afford the trip it is wise to skip it instead of having to fold operations after the season, but it is a negative. They could end up losing quality players to other teams or leagues.
  12. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    The money doesn't have to be there for every WPSL team to break even. If your goal is league survival and growth, which is the aim of this newly proposed league, you don't have to give up if you lose some money in the first year or three. You just have to be financially sound enough to continue on another year, then another, then another so that you can establish a fan base and then grow it. Not every team in WPSL will break even. Some will. But the important point is that the league as a whole is stable because their financial structure allows for teams to be easily established (why they have over 60 franchises), and to limit losses (why most of the teams are able to stick around year after year). WPS costs limited the number of franchises and doomed teams to large losses and early deaths.

    The way I am interpreting your point, you seem to be saying that a league is failing if there is even one franchise that is losing money - thus your claim that we can't afford a WPSL. That's not true, there are NBA, NHL, and MLB franchises that are losing money (and there sure were a lot back in the early days of the AFL, NFC, NHL, NBA, ABL and MLS); instability among individual franchises is a fact of life for all pro sports leagues; look at Portsmouth in the EPL or Rangers in the SPL for recent soccer related examples. But years of stable growth and a sound financial model allow leagues to continue to prosper despite the struggles of one or two franchises. WPS didn't have that. Neither did WUSA. WPSL does. And this new league will need that too. MLS had it because they had billion dollar investors willing to take early losses until the league stabilized. The only way women's soccer can do it is to not overspend themselves into the grave early because those billionaires are nowhere to be found.

    No doubt it hurts the league when the best teams can't all participate in the playoffs; franchises that don't even qualify for the playoffs at all take a hit - that's why my Baltimore Orioles don't sell out every game like they used to, but the league and frugal team spending keeps them solvent. But despite that problem, the WPSL will go on because they are prepared for that contingency. They have teams to replace those that can't travel. The teams that did have to bow out will survive because any loss in fan base will have but only a minimal financial impact because of their tightly run budgets. Frugal works, we just have to give it the time it takes to do so.
  13. necron99

    necron99 Member

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    You read way more into it then I intended. I was merely saying that low cost may not ever be low cost enough. As I stated above and we agreed, clearly lower cost has to be the way to go unless some Billionaires decide to truly get long term involved ala Hunt/Kraft/Anshutz. I don't see that happening.

    I do feel that teams folding even in a lower level league will hurt and hamper the growth of the league. The league may survive at the same grass roots level of W-League/WPSL(non-elite), but if teams are folding then it will hurt sponsorship deals, etc.
  14. Morris20

    Morris20 Member

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    Newsflash: you don't get a pro league without a few rich guys (girls?) paying the way - in other words, investing. Without that, you've got a grass-roots league. The track record of grass roots soccer leagues like the USL (W-League) & WPSL is that they haven't been successful as incubators for franchise development. They HAVE enabled teams to exist close enough to break even that they can survive, particularly if they diversify and generate significant ancillary revenues from camps, etc.

    But the American sports market isn't a promotion/relegation market. Without significant investors on the hook for relatively significant money (8 figures?), you've got teams playing in front of 1k people or less with limited leverage to really train or develop anyone (or attract media attention and grow).
  15. MRAD12

    MRAD12 Member

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    For those of you who always bring up the comparison of women's pro soccer to WNBA, as I was driving around Seattle the other day and listening to Sports Talk Radio, I heard something that made me think. The Seattle WNBA team Seattle Storm is getting 300,000 dollars to play at Key arena. By the city if I recall right. So not only are WNBA teams kept afloat by the NBA, but teams like the Storm gets extra money to play at the ciy's arena.

    Women's pro soccer does not get those kind of sweet deals.
  16. BostonRed

    BostonRed Member+

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    Here's some info from the WNT. Grant Wahl asked 11 players where they would consider playing if there is no top flight league in the US in 2013.

    Results:

    Germany: 10
    Sweden: 10
    France: 9
    Japan: 3
    England: 1
    He provided some info on the leagues as well (drawing out that the current US leagues are semi-pro, while mentioning that all the other leagues are too only as an aside). He mentioned an English club will sign a WNT pool player soon, but that others they had talked to were too expensive (perhaps the high Olympic attendance will have them believe that they can draw fans to league matches).
  17. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    Good to see there might be something in soccer the Euros borrowed from us for once.

    :D
  18. dtid

    dtid Member

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    Love the WPS/WUSA people coming in screaming that there has to be a Division I league that is televised and spends tons of money on travel costs, etc. Thanks for paying attention.
    kenntomasch repped this.
  19. billf

    billf Member+

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    In all seriousness, is the USSF really making any money off the WNT? Aside from one year, the attendances are relatively small, there aren't as many shirts to sell, and the players are getting a more regular salary rather than appearance fees. I think what the WNT has done is remarkable, but I would not be surprised to find that the program is a net loser, which is completely fine. The USSF also isn't awash in the kind of cash floating around federations like Germany's, so I don't think there's a long term investment possibility by the USSF. Remember that there are lots of constituent groups that make up the USSF so you can't assume that the top brass can just make something like a new league happen. That money would have to come out of someone's pocket and likely never be paid back.

    Again, I think the grassroots league may be the best place to start. Once the success or failure of a womens league is decoupled from the success of a team that's easy to identify with and get behind, then you have somehng that can stick. As a fan, you need to want to go out and see YOUR team not a couple of players you see plying for a medal or world cup every two years.
  20. Morris20

    Morris20 Member

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    Look, USSF collects $100k's of "registration fees" from these leagues.

    Forgoing all or some of that in order to get paid more consistently later (and saving on player salaries since if there's a league, the fed pays less) is an investment. I think you an argue about whether it's a good one (in that case you think it IS, or you are wrong, but you're entitled to an opinion;) ), but mischaracterizing it as charity or a request from a strapped federation (hahaha) is at a minimum missing the point. Also, getting a sponsor to pony up additional money if you're a non-profit - even if it's going to one program rather than the general fund - has a number of positives for the organization.

    Right now, the Feds' actions have probably COST it money in the short term and longer term. This would be a chance to reverse the trend. Don't hold your breathe, but it's NOT like the WNT players are looking for a handout. And if owners are on the hook for $1 million or more to grow the game, why NOT help them? The players are certainly going to be working for starvation wages to "pay it forward" - why shouldn't SocFed who stands to profit as well.
  21. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    Because (a) USSF is projecting a $6.6M budget deficit for FY 2013 and ( b ) there is no ( b ) right now.
  22. Katreus

    Katreus Member

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    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/20...l/08/07/olympics-womens-soccer-usa/index.html


  23. Morris20

    Morris20 Member

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    And a budget shortfall means you should make decisions that make your finances worse?
  24. billf

    billf Member+

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    What do you mean make finances worse? A pro league is not going to make the USSF much, if any, money. Aside from that you have to deal with the federation politics and convince the amateurs, youth, referee, national team programs, etc to take less money so it can be spent somewhere else. It won't sell. A new league will get what MLS got, a US Soccer foundation grant. I'm also not sure how you put the squeeze on Nike. Again, what the WNT has done is remarkable, but Nike is selling far fewer Morgan than Dononvam shirts. Nike has $120 million deal with the USSF as it is. I'm sure the exposure is good, but there is no way the combined men and women shirt sales are making up for that. How much more do you expect?

    I understand you really want to see a big time league and I honestly respect that but I think you are a bit divorced from reality and trying to go a bit too far too fast. No soccer league in the US, men's or women, is going to succeed unless people want to pay money to come out each week and see their team, regardless of who is wearing the shirt. Any league that needs the national team to do well isn't in a good place. It would be great if such a league existed and the pay didn't make a full time job at Walmart look like an improvement, but that's where the majority of US players of both sexes are right now and you have to start somewhere. The USSF didn't tell the MLS owners to lose hundreds of millions of dollars, so I really don't understand what you want from Chicago. For a league to get where you want it to be, some group of people need to be willing to lose lots and lots of money indefinitely or it needs to start really small and slowly grow until the audience meets ambition.
  25. puttputtfc

    puttputtfc Member+

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