If the ladies really wanted to save the league...

Discussion in 'NWSL' started by AAGunner3, Sep 22, 2003.

  1. AAGunner3

    AAGunner3 Member

    Feb 14, 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    Kansas City Wizards
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think its got to start with the players. I don't know figures, but a number of them got some nice $$ in personal sponsorships. If the players were really interested in saving the league, they ought to start the process. Take that endorsement money and give a chunk of it to the league, in exchange for a split of future earnings. In other words, an investment.

    Sends a signal to the world that they are risking (even more of?) their money. And to heck with the corporations not sponsoring the league. Corporations sponsor entities/people that they believe bring them the biggest bang for their buck. Like sponsoring Mia instead of WUSA. Mia could just as well hand half that money over to the league.

    Granted, their sponsorships/endorsements came right after the last WWC and may have all long since been spent. And I by no means will hold it against them if they do decide to hold on to that money for themselves. It is afterall, theirs and ensures some future financial security.

    But please don't act like the helpless damsel in distress, and scream and plead for a white knight to save you from the dragon of economic reality. Voluntarily start the process yourselves. Show the world that you to think it worth the risk to invest in your own league (again?).
  2. Beau Dure

    Beau Dure Member+

    May 31, 2000
    Vienna, VA
    Mia Hamm is the exception. You don't see ads with Christie Pearce, Shannon Boxx, Abby Wambach, Cindy Parlow, etc., etc.

    Aside from Mia, the amount of money the players could kick in from endorsements wouldn't amount to a hill of beans. They'd be better off going the bake-sale route.

    Also, they essentially did what they could when they all took pay cuts. At some point, you have to say that if you're going to pay for your own ability to play, you might as well plunk down a registration fee and join the local amateurs.
  3. *Crazy_Chastain*

    *Crazy_Chastain* New Member

    Mar 19, 2000
    Re: Re: If the ladies really wanted to save the league...

    I'm pretty sure Brandi's made quite a bit of money for her endorsements.
  4. HogNose

    HogNose New Member

    Feb 21, 2003
    Chihuahuan Desert
    Julie makes beer commercials.
  5. Beau Dure

    Beau Dure Member+

    May 31, 2000
    Vienna, VA
    Re: Re: Re: If the ladies really wanted to save the league...

    OK -- Brandi, Foudy and perhaps Heather Mitts (if modeling counts). That's still not exactly the New York Rangers in terms of a multimillionaires' party.

    In fact, this was one of Foudy's points the other day. She thinks sponsors and the league would both benefit if sponsors would get more involved. Getting more players in commercials seems to be a natural fit.
  6. AvidSinger

    AvidSinger New Member

    Sep 6, 2002
    Maybe they should do a calendar like the Matildas did... I'd pay the money to see Heather Mitts! ;)
  7. Liverpool_SC

    Liverpool_SC Member

    Jun 28, 2002
    Upstate, SC
    I'm not a Julie Foudy/Title IX/WUSA as girl empowerment fan. I am fine with the WUSA if it works, although I am not in a position to materially support it or not (I am a fan of the USWNT so to that extent I am grateful to WUSA).

    But I have to give props to the players like Chastain, Hamm, Foudy, et al for laying it all on the line for the league. They could make more money traveling around the world doing exhibition matches than playing for the peanuts they earned in WUSA. It was something like $85,000 as a salary for a lot of the top earners. I am sure there were some additional sponsorship dollars, but a lot of those could have been had league or no.

    Besides, the top players from the last World Cup team had a big interest in the success of the league, because as I understand it "founding players" had an equity partnership in the league. As the league goes, their investment grows. They didn't have any incentive to stand firm about salaries considering that if the league folded - they would lose the value of their equity.

    I am sure that a league (on a smaller scale) would work. But it needs to cut down on costs. Here is one idea:

    Six teams.

    Have three mini-seasons during the year (home and away against each team in each mini season). Rotate the league through three geographic regions during each of the mini-seasons. The Southeast in the Winter, the West in the Spring and the North in Late Summer-Fall. The teams would play on nice college fields (that seat between 4 and 10 thousand). Each "franchise" would play in the same three places each year so they would develop a following. But they wouldn't over-saturate their market either. "Season" tickets (five matches) would be very affordable and would be a great option for families.

    Costs would be reduced, as travel between regional cities would be cheap. Stadium rents would be cheap. If there was an advantage in playing in an MLS SSS (where one was available) they could do that, or they could choose their own alternative.

    Television coverage would be managed by a handful of regional sports networks (i.e. Turner South, Fox Sports South) during each respective "mini-season". The local/regional feeds would be made available to a national audience through a package similar to the MLS Shootout package. The league, not the individual teams, would negotiate only leaguewide contracts within each region.

    One partnership that might work very well with MLS - combine a WUSA and MLS shootout so that subscribers get matches in both leagues (no time overlaps obviously). They could raise the price say $20 and probably get a lot more subscribers. They could also go in together for a highlight show that would have a broader demographic interest. They would have to add some magazine type features and change the studio dynamic, but it could be interesting to see a mixture of highlights and a holistic (mens and womens) approach to the sport.

    Salaries would be affordable and strictly capped, but would be supplemented by shares in the league (like an ESOP). Teams would be able to allocate their block of shares amongst the players as they see fit (otherwise there would only be three payscales: rookie, squad, senior). There would be a greater emphasis on american players (maybe a limit of senior internationals in the same manner as MLS). As the league grew, performance bonuses could be added to supplement the strictly capped salaries.

    The players would not own the entire league, however. Additional shares could be purchased by "investors" and "investor-sponsors". These investors would not be "owner/operators". The league would run each franchise operation (similar to the way AEG operates its various franchises).
    The investors and investor-sponsors (but not the players) would have voting rights and could seek to be elected to the board that oversees the various franchises/fire people they thought were doing a lousy job. Investor-sponsors would automatically be paying for marketing (advertising hordings, tv spots, etc) depending upon their level of investment. The investor-sponsor category would strictly be limited to corporations. The league would form a supporters' club for each team. The supporters' club would purchase the blocks of investor shares.

    The league would maintain (cheap, strip mall-type) offices in a major city in each of the three mini-markets and would play a hands-on role in marketing the league in each region during the associated "mini-season".

    Prospective "mini-markets"

    Southeast: Birmingham, Atlanta, Raleigh/Durham, Charleston (SC), Memphis and Charlotte.

    West: LA, San Diego, San Francisco/San Jose, Portland, Las Vegas, Phoenix

    North: Washington DC, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Boston, Baltimore, Providence (?)

    As the league outgrows the business plan, it could move to a 2 mini-season thing (South/Northeast and Central/West) and gradually filter in expansion teams (St Louis, Dallas, Chicago, Minn/St Paul, Cleveland, Columbus) until it reached 12 teams that play in two places each.

    Ultimately, it could allow the 24 areas to bid on the rights to a full franchise (with a target of 8000 - 12000 fans). Teams could still play a couple of "tribute" games every season in the markets that they had to move out of as a service to the fans.

    It would provide a nice niche sport that could draw like a lot of top-tier minor league baseball teams.
  8. Brownswan

    Brownswan New Member

    Jun 30, 1999
    Port St. Lucie, FL
    Correct me if I'm wrong, FIFA has a requirement of a certain number of teams for a league to aquire first division status. 8 teams might be the minimum, and they must compete in an annual championship.

    The six team league playing exhibition games would cede first division status to the W-League,
    which may or may not be a problem for the players in WUSA. I doubt it would affect their being called up to the NT, for example.

    It makes one wonder what, exactly, is FIFA's role at the national level?
  9. Liverpool_SC

    Liverpool_SC Member

    Jun 28, 2002
    Upstate, SC
    Would FIFA gain anything from interfering with any women's league, considering that there are very few that are well-formed and established? I am sure that they would be pretty understanding if the league began on a provisional basis with fewer teams. Even if that rule applies to women's leagues. I think women's leagues are still largely on the "wild frontier".
  10. tmiller-soccer

    tmiller-soccer New Member

    Sep 30, 2003
    Fairfax, VA
    Most of the women that are already making lots of money outside the league either donate there check to charity or reinvest it into the league. I believe Brandy has never cashed a check. As someone else mentioned, it isn't enought to make a difference, but they are sending a loud message how much they want to play. Instead of women athletes showing our kids hard work and clean living, we see over paid male football players shooting people, taking drugs, cheating on their wives, and getting millions to do it. Sad state for America.
  11. owendylan

    owendylan Member

    May 30, 2001
    DC United
    You're partially wrong. FIFA has no minimum number of teams needed, only that the league be sanctioned by the country's governing body who sets up requirements. The USSF however, does, and that number is eight teams.
  12. Liverpool_SC

    Liverpool_SC Member

    Jun 28, 2002
    Upstate, SC

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