Chicago Update

Discussion in 'Chicago Red Stars' started by Peter Wilt, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. Peter Wilt

    Peter Wilt Member

    Jun 11, 1999
    Whitefish Bay, WI
    News From Chicago Professional Women’s Soccer
    Contact: Peter Wilt 414-828-5425

    LOCAL GROUP SEEKS MORE INVESTORS
    FOR PRO WOMEN’S SOCCER TEAM
    Group Includes Former Fire President Peter Wilt and
    15,000 Member Illinois Women’s Soccer League

    February 14, 2007 – Former Chicago Fire President and General Manager Peter Wilt and the Illinois Women’s Soccer League announced today that they are seeking a franchise in a new major professional women’s soccer league with the intention to kick off in the spring of 2008. Chicago Pro Women’s Soccer, which is still assembling its ownership group, would likely play its home games at the 20,000 seat TOYOTA PARK. A lease for the women’s team to play at the home of the MLS Chicago Fire is being finalized.

    In addition to the IWSL and Wilt, who continues his efforts to bring an MLS team to Milwaukee, the group includes Gary Weaver and Shek Borkowski, co-owners of FC Indiana of the WPSL and other Chicago based investors. The ownership group is still being assembled and is still seeking its lead investor. “If we can secure the lead investor, I believe Chicago will be the premier team in the world's premier professional women’s soccer league,” Wilt said. “The financial commitment is relatively small ($1M to $3M over five years) compared to the tens of millions needed for an expansion MLS team and the upside is tremendous.

    “The Chicago area is such a strong soccer market and WSII is excited about the opportunity to see women's professional soccer flourish and grow for the fans in that region. Peter and his team have the expertise, and have built a solid and achievable business model to ensure that an interested lead investor will come forward and own one of the star Franchises in the new league," said Women’s Soccer Initiative, Inc. CEO Tonya Antonucci.

    “This League has gone to school on the successes and the failures of the WUSA and has created a business model that makes more sense. The new business model has significantly reduced overhead and is taking advantage of synergies with the new generation of soccer centric stadia and existing professional men’s teams. Partnering with TOYOTA PARK will allow the team to grow financially and showcase the sport in an appropriate sized venue,” Wilt said.

    “Unlike the first effort for a professional women’s soccer league in this country, this time the league is reaching out to existing professional men's teams to partner with on marketing, sales, promotional and operational platforms. We plan to reach out to the Fire in hopes of taking advantage of these synergies, which will reduce overhead and maximize revenue generation,” Wilt said.



    5,000 SEASON TICKET EQUIVALENTS IN IWSL PARTNERSHIP

    The partnership with the Illinois Women’s Soccer League makes the youth and adult soccer league equity partners in the team. The IWSL will build in ticket vouchers to all members’ registrations, which, when combined with projected companion ticket purchases, will provide more than 50,000 fans over the team’s ten game home schedule at TOYOTA PARK or an average of more than 5,000 tickets per game.

    “I believe we can sell an additional 5,000 to 7,000 tickets on average beyond the 5,000 we’ll have in the IWSL partnership. Our goal is to create a community based team that reflects the values and goals of the Illinois women’s soccer community. Committing to using Illinois players, hosting clinics statewide and partnering with essentially 15,000 young owners will make Illinois’ pro women’s team truly ILLINOIS’ team.

    “Having IWSL as a co-owner and member of our board will provide us with an ear to the youth soccer community. It will also allow the IWSL to provide guidance to us, which will assure us of keeping the soccer community’s best interests in mind, when making major decisions involving the club. Having 10,000 to 12,000 fans on a regular basis will make Chicago the premier team in the league and the premier women’s team in the world,” Wilt said.

    In addition to the ownership and board representation, the parties will work together in more than a dozen partnership elements including the following:

    • Each IWSL member across the state will receive two ticket vouchers each season to see the professional team play.
    • IWSL will promote the sale of group, individual and season tickets within its membership.
    • The pro team will include a minimum of two players on its roster who have played previously on an IWSL member club during their youth.

    “This Partnership proposal represents a historic day in our organization,” said IWSL President Flo Dyson. “This partnership represents an absolutely unique opportunity for our membership to be closely involved with a new professional team in Illinois. Our youth soccer players will be able to interact up-close with professional soccer player role models in a variety of unique opportunities allowing them the ability to aspire to become better players,” Dyson said. IWSL currently represents more than 15,000 girls and women of all ages playing across the state in 135 soccer clubs.

    More information on:

    IWSL: http://www.iwsl.com/
    Peter Wilt: http://www.milwaukeeprosoccer.com/bio_pwilt.asp
    FC Indiana: http://www.fcindiana.com/index.html
    TOYOTA PARK: http://www.toyotapark.com/
     
  2. MRAD12

    MRAD12 Member+

    Jun 10, 2004
    Chicago
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Peter,
    I am glad that you are a part of getting a Women's Professional franchise to Chicago. Along with the owners of FC Indiana (a success story in it's own rite) you will make a great team. I have no doubts about the chances of success knowing that you are part of this project and part of a new league.
    Making you comissioner of the new league would be even better. We Chicago soccer fans know well how much you have done with the Chicago Fire and for the success of soccer in our area.
    This is awesome news for fans of the women's game. Looking forward to more updates.
     
  3. #10 Jersey

    #10 Jersey Member

    May 2, 1999
    I sent the press release out to some other people from our club. One thing that was mentioned was how much of an increase IWSL teams will see to pay for the "free vouchers" that each player will "get."

    The concern is that each family will be helping to fund the purchase of the franchise.

    I'm not saying its necessarily bad; I don't have enough info at this point.
     
  4. Peter Wilt

    Peter Wilt Member

    Jun 11, 1999
    Whitefish Bay, WI
    Vouchers are free. Optional companion tickets are not.

    peter
     
  5. #10 Jersey

    #10 Jersey Member

    May 2, 1999
    Free to use, but is it free to the IWSL? If the IWSL pays for the vouchers and hands them out to each player as their "free vouchers," IWSL raises their league fees. The article I read said something about "building in" the cost of the vouchers.

    When the phrase "build in" has been used with the Fire's deals with clubs it often means that the club pays for tickets and then may raise the fee to play for the club.

    Even if IWSL doesn't technically "pay" for the vouchers but offsets its investment by "building in" vouchers, it could also mean a league fee increase.
     
  6. Peter Wilt

    Peter Wilt Member

    Jun 11, 1999
    Whitefish Bay, WI
    F-R-E-E

    i don't know how else to spell it.

    IWSL will not pay for it. The membership will not pay for it. It is F-R-E-E.


    peter
     
  7. #10 Jersey

    #10 Jersey Member

    May 2, 1999
    Ok...Understood...
     
  8. Peter Wilt

    Peter Wilt Member

    Jun 11, 1999
    Whitefish Bay, WI
    IWSL partnership will generate revenue for the team through companion tickets, optional ticket upgrades, ancillary stadium revenues, sponsorships of IWSL sold by team and season and individual tickets sold through IWSL promotions.

    peter
     
  9. AndyMead

    AndyMead Homo Sapien

    Nov 2, 1999
    Seat 12A
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Go get'em Peter!
     
  10. nsa

    nsa Member+

    New England Revolution; Boston Breakers
    United States
    Feb 22, 1999
    Notboston, MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is great news for women's soccer. If anybody can pull in the additional investors, it's Peter. The Fire management led by Peter was the envy of most inaugural MLS teams, especially its relationship to the fans.
     
  11. seahawkdad

    seahawkdad Spoon!!!

    Jun 2, 2000
    Lincoln, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Peter,

    Any insight you can share about what's happening in DC regarding the league. I had hoped that the statements in the press that Hendricks was being approached by the new United owner's group to join meant that Freedom might rise again...

    But no word, either about Hendricks or Freedom.

    Anything to share? Fact or even rumor would be appreciated.
     
  12. Peter Wilt

    Peter Wilt Member

    Jun 11, 1999
    Whitefish Bay, WI
    fear not.
     
  13. seahawkdad

    seahawkdad Spoon!!!

    Jun 2, 2000
    Lincoln, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Thanks.

    Damn it man, you've got to have a team again...both men's and women's.
     
  14. Peter Wilt

    Peter Wilt Member

    Jun 11, 1999
    Whitefish Bay, WI
    thx...it's been a roller coaster, but today i feel better about both of those happening than ever before....but tomorrow's another day, so who knows.
     
  15. seahawkdad

    seahawkdad Spoon!!!

    Jun 2, 2000
    Lincoln, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    So now it's another day (or two) and someone has gone and submitted a preliminary application to the USSF for sanctioning of a div 1 professional women's league to begin play in 2008.

    I'm sure this didn't come as a surprise to you.

    Can you share any details (sorry to turn this into a thread not directly associated with your Chicago efforts, but here's where I know where to find you)?
     
  16. Peter Wilt

    Peter Wilt Member

    Jun 11, 1999
    Whitefish Bay, WI
    From today's Sports Business Daily:

    "SIX INVESTORS COMMIT TO FUNDING NEW WOMEN’S PRO SOCCER LEAGUE
    By Terry Lefton, Editor-at-Large

    Investors Committing Funds To
    Start New Women's Soccer League

    The defunct WUSA is reborn. Officials at a non-profit called the Women’s Soccer Initiative Inc. (WSSI) will announce later this week that six investors have committed start-up funding to a new women’s pro soccer league that would begin in ‘08 and play a 20-game schedule, from April to October. WSSI CEO Tonya Antonucci said the league will operate on a franchise model and hopes to launch with eight teams, but will start with six if necessary.

    Antonucci said it will cost each investor $1.5-2.5M annually to operate a team in the new league, and she identified the six initial investors as: John Hendricks, founder of The Discovery Channel and an original investor in the WUSA, who has rights to a DC franchise; AEG, which has rights to greater L.A. and will play its games at the same Home Depot Center facility that houses the MLS Galaxy and Chivas USA; a St. Louis group, headed by attorney Jeff Cooper, who’s been leading an effort to get an MLS franchise to the city; Jack Hanks and Brent Coralli, who will head a Dallas group that will play in Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, home to the Hunt Sports Group-operated MLS FC Dallas; a Chicago group, whose team will play on the same Toyota Park pitch that is home to the AEG-operated MLS Fire, that includes Peter Wilt, the first President & GM the MLS Fire who is also part of the effort to bring an expansion MLS franchise to Milwaukee; and Soccer Initiative LLC, a thus-far-nameless/faceless group that is looking at a number of Western cities.

    Clearly, the league is looking to MLS for more support than the original WUSA. “We believed during that league’s first iteration, and still believe today, that a strong and vibrant women’s league would be great for the game of soccer. So we are working to see how we might help,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. Various industry sources said that SUM, MLS’ sales and marketing arm, is close to signing an agreement to sell for the reborn women’s league. Garber said that and other issues, including possible doubleheaders with the two leagues, have not been finalized.

    Team names have not been determined. The league may or may not be called the WUSA.

    For more, see tomorrow’s issue of THE DAILY."

    Hope this helps.

    peter
     
  17. seahawkdad

    seahawkdad Spoon!!!

    Jun 2, 2000
    Lincoln, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Damn, you're fast.

    thanks
     
  18. nsa

    nsa Member+

    New England Revolution; Boston Breakers
    United States
    Feb 22, 1999
    Notboston, MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Kick Back
    SBD requires a subscription so I do not have access to the full article. This teaser was shown with the old WUSA logo. :rolleyes:

    Still no website which is a bit surprising for the former General Manager of Yahoo's FIFA World Cup web site.
     
  19. MRAD12

    MRAD12 Member+

    Jun 10, 2004
    Chicago
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Maybe Debbie Keller will come out of retirement and play for her home town. There are other Chicago ties in women's soccer. For instance Jen Grubb, Marci Miller, Amy Lepielbet and even Heather O'Reilly. I heard somewhere her family lived in the Chicago area for a while or one of her parents are from here.
     
  20. AndyMead

    AndyMead Homo Sapien

    Nov 2, 1999
    Seat 12A
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    If she wasn't pulled into the WUSA late in the 2001 season when teams were fighting for playoff spots, she's definitely not going to be playing 2008. It's just too long ago.

    My guess is that the bulk of the players will be the female equivalents to DEV players in MLS. 21-25 years old making crap wages, picking up extra money doing appearances, camps, and high school coaching.

    With salary budgets reduced from even what the WUSA 1.0 was paying, there aren't going to be many players willing to soldier on delaying a stable, higher paying career past their mid-20s.

    The teams will likely each have a few players from the extended WNT player pool, a few WNT wannabee hangers-on, a couple post-WNT career soccer players, and a bunch of cheap kids.

    I think the Erica Iverson example from the WUSA will be a common occurance in the new league, and not the exception.

    I only see salaries going up if the league approaches solvency.

    We're going from AAA baseball to A baseball.

    That's not necessarily a bad thing. Especially when the alternative is the W-League/WPSL.

    I'm still hopeful that we'll see a few international stars, but I'm not sure the money will be there.
     
  21. StarCityFan

    StarCityFan BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 2, 2001
    Greenbelt, MD
    Club:
    Washington Freedom
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Even the W-League has had a "few" international stars, so one would hope WUSA II could do at least as well, even if not the three-per-team we were accustomed to.
     
  22. MRAD12

    MRAD12 Member+

    Jun 10, 2004
    Chicago
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    I agree. I don't see why a few players from Mexican NT, Canadian NT, Brazilian NT and even from Europe or China may not want to play in the WUSAII. Where would Marta make a better living, playing in Europe or WUSAII? There are many international players playing in the W-League already.
    How about Chicago native Bret Hall as the first Chicago head coach since he has the inside track on talent being Ryan's assistant?
     
  23. mona

    mona Member

    Oct 21, 2003
    Are you excluding WNT players ....wont they somehow be the draw?
     
  24. Peter Wilt

    Peter Wilt Member

    Jun 11, 1999
    Whitefish Bay, WI
    i agree. i think the missing part will be the best non-USWNT 25 to 30-year old players. The USWNT will play, most (not all) of the best international players will play and most of the best non-USWNT 22 to 25-year olds will play. You'll still have about 7 USWNT and international NT players per team.

    i don't think that will take it from AAA to A. i'm not sure what the baseball analogy would be for that, but from a quality of play standpoint, it's probably something like going from Major League to Major League with half a dozen veteran role players on each team replaced by half a dozen young role players.

    peter
     
  25. AndyMead

    AndyMead Homo Sapien

    Nov 2, 1999
    Seat 12A
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    No, I said "extended WNT player pool." That would include all current WNT players.
     

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