New USL's travel will be a killer

Discussion in 'United Soccer Leagues' started by chapter 7, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. chapter 7

    chapter 7 BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Nov 9, 2004
    Providence Rhode Isl
    Seattle to San Juan will be the longest road trip in all US sport.
    Vancouver to San Juan will be the longest road trip in all North American pro sports.

    Basically theres no bus games anymore for some teams. I really don't see this flying (no pun intended).

    I ran these numbers through travelocity.

    Vanc - San Juan 754 US
    Seattle - San Juan 459 US
    Seattle - Montreal 500 US
    Rochester - Portland 440 US
    Minneapolis - Norfolk Va 246 US

    Don't get me wrong, I love soccer and I love the a-league even more than MLS. But this is a killer. You times that by 16 (at a bare bones minimum) throw in 9 hotel rooms, and dinner and thats big attendance you need to be drawing.

    I think the bank manager will be re-thinking this a lot sooner than the league will. We cannot afford to lose another team, but I don't see a lot of investors looking at this business model and saying 'I can make a go of it'.

    This is shaping up to the old saying.
    You want to make a small fortune? Start with a large fortune and buy an A-league team.
  2. Mikey mouse

    Mikey mouse Member

    Jul 27, 1999
    Charleston, SC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The extra expense of travel was quoted by Richmond president around $40,000.

    I imagine that many teams will schedule an Atlanta-Charleston-Richmond-VB (or Portland-Seattle-Vancouver) swing to save on airfare (one airline trip and bus to the other locations) so a single trip out to anywhere (exept Puerto Rico) would be rare.

    I think this is the type of foward thinking that the USL needs to take to really make this league ago. Single table, a true season winner, possiblity of pro/relegation in the near future, new coorporate sponsorships.

    I think upcoming season you will see some culling of player budgets, but I think the league will be much stronger in the future.

  3. Sevin

    Sevin Member

    May 24, 2001
    If you travel with that many people and that often, you get group rates. I do it all the time.
  4. yankiboy

    yankiboy New Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    Laurel, MD
    The extra travel costs are exactly what will prevent the idea of promotion/relegation. It will be too hard financially for D2 team to move up to D1 (not without a huge cash supply).

    I sure hope that our owner has enough cash. I also hope that the other league owners want us in the league after they actually kick out all that cash to come see us, many of then (8, by my calc) only coming for one game.

    I don't feel too good about the Islanders' future... Ihave nothing to base that on. I'm no economist, nor financial analyst. I just can't see the other teams in the league putting up with the reality of coming to play us for too long.
  5. Daniel from Montréal

    Aug 4, 2000
    Montreal Impact
    Nat'l Team:
    I'd see most teams having 2-3 long roadtrips, but that was somewhat the case in the past.

    The Pacific teams will probably have a 3-game NE-swing and a 5-game SE swing while Eastern teams will have one long Pacific swing. Minnesotta will prove more trouble for all involved.

    Last season the Impact started in the SE with 3 games and had a 3-game Western swing.
  6. RedMenace

    RedMenace New Member

    Jun 20, 2004
    Palo Alto, CA
    I entirely fail to see the attraction of a single table. It works fine in England, at least at the top few levels (below which it gets regional even there), but let's not forget that England has approximately the same area as Louisiana (about 1/3 that of California). Many other countries are larger, but not by much (France is larger than California, but smaller than Texas and that's still a tiny fraction of the size of North America). A league in most countries is an apples and oranges difference form a league in North America. Regions are a necessity here. I don't think a single table will be an advantage for USL 1 compared to the A League's two regions. I wouldn't be surprised if they change back to having regions after a season or two.

    Promotion and relegation is also a non-starter, in my opinion. The problem in the U.S. is exactly the opposite of the problem pro/rel was created to solve: we have too FEW viable teams, rather than too MANY! England has hundreds of professional clubs competing in a space the size of Louisiana, whereas the U.S. and Canada are struggling to support a few dozen between them (and excessive distance needed to travel to away games is one of the reasons they struggle so much).
  7. Paul Schmidt

    Paul Schmidt Member

    Feb 3, 2001
    Portland, Oregon!
    IIRC, my "commute" from Boise to Portland (Portland native, but until this coming April, it's been my shortest drive to a team in the top two divisions) is longer than Southampton to Newcastle. I want to say that Boise to Salt Lake City is about the same distance as the England pair mentioned, not totally sure.

    As such, I tend to agree with the need for regional leagues at the lower levels. Problem is, you need a good number of teams for THAT, and USL hasn't been able to keep 'em. Is the PDL going to be the lone survivor of all this?
  8. NORML

    NORML Member+

    Aug 9, 2002
    Lake Wobegon, MN
    NSC Minnesota Stars
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well, me question is what should the league have done? Should it have kicked out PR/MN so no one would have had to travel there? Should it have a western conference made up of 4 teams? Should it have given up on the west? Should it have forced teams who have fielded competitive sides to the lower divisions, simply because no other competition was in close proximity to them?

    I understand the risk that come with the new system but it sure as heck beats the alternatives. So, bring on single table, bring on a more balanced schedule, I look forward to finally getting to see every team in this league... And getting a bit of revenge on Charleston for 2003. :cool:
  9. sounderfan

    sounderfan New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
    Besides, that Whitecaps-Silverbacks rivalry is just waiting to explode! ;)
  10. PZ

    PZ Member

    Apr 11, 1999
    Ipswich Town FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You'd think someone at USL would be on the phone every day to one airline, travel company or someone in the industry trying to work a sponsorship deal to offset those costs. Guess no one is interested.
  11. ButlerBob

    ButlerBob Moderator
    Staff Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    Evanston, IL
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    How do you know that they aren't doing that? Those types of deals tend to take more then a couple of weeks to work out. Plus isn't the league now working with a marketing company to now do this type of thing. Here's a link to the announcement.
  12. PZ

    PZ Member

    Apr 11, 1999
    Ipswich Town FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Couple of weeks? Those types of deals take months to hammer out. My point is/was, the travel really hasn't changed that much, why hasn't this been done before? USL has been around longer than MLS (well, depending on how you look at it) and I don't recall any deals by the league or individual teams in this area.
  13. Timbers_Roberto

    Timbers_Roberto New Member

    Jul 27, 2002
    Portland, Oregon
    If teams increase their per game average by a few hundred then they will offset the extra travel costs. If the league is able to attract new national sponsors because of the format the money could defray some or all of the extra costs. Simply put, the onus is on the teams and league to attract more fans and sponsors.

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