USL General News thread

Discussion in 'United Soccer Leagues' started by thefishy, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Wow, THAT was quick. They had backing from the city, too.

    You kids may not remember it, but this used to happen a lot more. One year Hershey played for the A-League title and POOF! They were gone. One year the Milwaukee Rampage WON the A-League and folded.

    Oh well they got Ann Arbor to replace them. Ann Arbor, Lansing, whatever.
     
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  2. aetraxx7

    aetraxx7 Member+

    Jun 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    Club:
    Des Moines Menace
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If the lesser university's community couldn't support the team, why not try the home of the state's best university?
    Seriously, putting the team in relatively small college towns with powerhouse B1G teams seems idiotic
     
  3. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Like Madison?
     
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  4. aetraxx7

    aetraxx7 Member+

    Jun 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    Club:
    Des Moines Menace
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Wisconsin is a big B1G school, but it's not on the same level as Michigan or Michigan State.
    Madison's metro population is a little bigger than both Lansing and Ann Arbor. Plus, Epic Systems (medical software) is in Verona (10 miles from downtown Madison). Their headquarters/campus rivals Microsoft and Google. There are a ton of young tech-savvy people with fairly high amounts of disposable income and permanent residence in the Madison area. Michigan lacks a major software company; the auto industry isn't what it once was.
     
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  5. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    #ProRelForUSA
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    I've Been Everywhere Man
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Let's not misconstrue here, Ann Arbor is going USL2...Lansing was USL1.

    Big difference in the amateur and pro budgets.
     
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  6. Blando13

    Blando13 Member+

    Dec 4, 2013
    Lee's Summit, MO
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    And I hope Lansing finds it's way back to USL2. Sounds like the baseball venue was even worse than other baseball venues due to ownerships reluctance to mess with the pitchers mound so the game was essentially played as far away from the stands as possible.

    Also, I disagree with the "pro soccer doesn't belong in big college towns". I would think that if you got some good partnerships with a booster/pro soccer team owner relationships you could build some decent stadiums for the D2/D3 levels that college's could use (thinking of stadiums like at Creighton and the new one down at Oklahoma State). A non college fanbase would be needed like described above in Madison so it wouldn't work for everyone, but it would be better to share a stadium with a college soccer team than a pro baseball team. But what do I know!
     
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  7. AndyMead

    AndyMead Homo Sapien

    Nov 2, 1999
    Seat 12A
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    If they can tap into it, college student sports fans are exactly the archetype for soccer "supporter group" fans. The hard part with minor league soccer is getting them out to a minor league team that might be only marginally better than their college team when they'd much rather put on their Barcelona or Man City jersey.

    And then the lifeblood of minor league sports is local sponsorships. In a relatively small town with a power conference university, the competition for financial resources is going to be stiff. It's also why I'm dubious as to the long term viability of the NHL's return to Winnipeg and those in Quebec City calling for a team. Is there enough money in the area to support a team?
     
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  8. Blando13

    Blando13 Member+

    Dec 4, 2013
    Lee's Summit, MO
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I mean, you have to essentially give them some cheap beer options and make it a "party like" atmosphere. Pro team has to make watching a local pro soccer team saturday evening more fun than watching your favorite euro team from your dorm room in the morning. One doesn't preclude you from doing both ... and maybe you still wear your Barca jersey to the local game to show it off, who knows. Have a damn "wear your OTHER favorite team jersey night" and get $1 draws. And then towards the end of the season you say "Wear your local jersey" and get $1 draws ... and eventually, you create a fanbase. The problem is, they graduate and move away, but there is always a new crop. And now you hope you sent them out into the world as a lifetime fan (even from afar).

    Regarding your "sponsorship" type of thing ... you almost have to have a Business owner who's an "alum" of the university in that town that has connections. And it's possible that the way to get it done is an overlap of for sponsors for the college team and the pro team for "in stadium" ad's. If you had a good relationship with the university you could throw out shared resources for "med/PT students for medical staff spots" and "journalism/marketing/sales" majors getting "internships" with the pro team or something. And you know you could get some college students to help with the social media platform/marketing type of things.

    Honestly, the first place I'd target would be NCAA teams who had to drop their men's program (or don't have one, and only have a women's program) due to Title XI ... try to help each other out with facilities and marketing, etc.
     
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  9. AndyMead

    AndyMead Homo Sapien

    Nov 2, 1999
    Seat 12A
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Eh, I'd disagree with that 100%. Colleges don't drop well attended men's soccer teams. Maryland isn't about to cut men's soccer.
     
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  10. Blando13

    Blando13 Member+

    Dec 4, 2013
    Lee's Summit, MO
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm not saying every college soccer team is getting dropped ... or that anymore will. But I'm in Big 12 country ... and they as a conference don't have men's soccer. There could be an opportunity in places like that. It won't work across the board and I didn't intend for it to sound like it would.

    West Virginia plays in the MAC in men's soccer, no other university has a program. Only 2 SEC programs have one (South Carolina/Kentucky) and they play in Conf USA or whatever that conference is called these days.
     
  11. AndyMead

    AndyMead Homo Sapien

    Nov 2, 1999
    Seat 12A
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Yes, I'm a Kansas City born and raised Jayhawk from a Jayhawk family who attended KU myself. I'm well aware of the Big 8/Big XII's lack of men's soccer. In my pre-internet college days I had a hallmate from Connecticut who picked KU because he figured he could walk on to the men's soccer team - which didn't exist.

    Professional sports teams have to continually replenish their season ticket holders and fan bases as people move, get tired of the expense, or have changing interests. In general I think the metric is that teams typically have to completely roll their fan base every 10-15 years. Some fans are lifelong and keep going, but many really get into it for 5 or so years. Appealing to college students drastically reduces that window. And, as you pointed out, the ability to get money out of them is tough. Especially with a summer soccer league where they will miss most of the season.

    I've been to roughly half of the Men's College Cups over the last 20 years and the worst experience was the one at Sporting Park. With Rockhurst being the only semi-notable college team, and Creighton and SLU being day trips away, the tournament occurred in a vacuum. There was no rush of students from Lawrence, Manhattan, Wichita, or Columbia.

    I think college towns work if they're also a career destination after college. You don't necessarily depend on the students while they're students but you begin to indoctrinate them so that when they're mobility and income increases they're ready. Most of these places like Lawrence, Columbia, Ann Arbor aren't where the students are going to find careers post-graduation.
     
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  12. Blando13

    Blando13 Member+

    Dec 4, 2013
    Lee's Summit, MO
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    All of that is very much spot on. Just think if you can figure out some shared facilities you could make it possible at the USL L1 level. The facility that one of the Sporting KC owners funded for OkState's women's team is very nice ... the fact it's not used for a professional team is a shame.

    Also, I was one of the couple hundred people watching Stanford beat Clemson. I went to the semi's as well. I wanted to see Morris and Vincent play for Stanford.
     
  13. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Oh, my bad, I thought Ann Arbor AFC was going pro. Withdrawn.
     
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  14. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No it isn't.
     
  15. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    None of that is what you said.

    You said smallish college town with a "powerhouse B1G team." That's all you said.

    Madison IS bigger, yes, but still one of USL1's smaller markets. And I don't know which sport is the powerhouse that kills the deal, but Wisconsin football went 42-12 from 2015-2018, while Michigan went 38-13 and Michigan State went 32-20.

    But college football isn't played at the same time as most of the USL-1 season, so maybe the local B1G soccer team can't be good. In that case, MSU has been the best program of the three in recent years, but they ain't won a national title in a half-century.

    So if it's about software companies and auto plants and millennials, say that up front.

    My guess is that Lansing failed because they were under-capitalized, couldn't pull 3k a game and played in a baseball stadium. Oh and they didn't have a Peter Wilt running the show.
     
  16. AndyMead

    AndyMead Homo Sapien

    Nov 2, 1999
    Seat 12A
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    I was there shooting the games. The weather didn't help, but I'm not sure it hurt, either.
     
  17. AndyMead

    AndyMead Homo Sapien

    Nov 2, 1999
    Seat 12A
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Are you saying it's ticket sales then? It's certainly not merchandising or broadcast revenues.
     
  18. IronHorseFC

    IronHorseFC Member

    D.C. United
    Oct 5, 2019
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    Your last response is accurate. Owner wanted an average of 4,000 and it didn't happen, he kept losing money so he bailed out.
     
  19. aetraxx7

    aetraxx7 Member+

    Jun 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    Club:
    Des Moines Menace
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
     
  20. aetraxx7

    aetraxx7 Member+

    Jun 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    Club:
    Des Moines Menace
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Which is why MLS and Precourt think that Austin will work. Madison is much smaller, but is trending in that direction. Both are state capitals, but so is Lansing. Does Lansing have the post-college career of a major industry on an upward trend?
     
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  21. aetraxx7

    aetraxx7 Member+

    Jun 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    Club:
    Des Moines Menace
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You're right; I jumped from one idea to another with no connection or warning.
    Yes, Wisconsin is successful in recent years, but the B1G West is soft. Michigan and Michigan State are much more established powerhouse programs with much a deeper history of success and a large fanbase - especially the Wolverines. Michigan is one of the few "national fan base" schools like Notre Dame, Texas, and USC. The idea being that the universities eat up a lot of local sponsorship and fan dollars, which we know are both finite.
    Beyond that, the comparison in industry is tied to the type of residents in the community. Both cities are state capitals, but their job prospects are vastly different due to the industries currently in play. Permanent residents are critical to long-term viability of minor league sports (which I know that you know, given your experience), as is the amount of disposable income they possess.
    Of course it could be as simple as an owner that overestimated profits and underestimated expenses. God knows American soccer has plenty of experience there.
     
  22. Expansion Franchise

    Chattanooga FC
    United States
    Apr 7, 2018
    This is almost exactly what Tormenta is trying to do, to the point that they're both playing on GSU's campus and offering $1 admission to students. Still, they only averaged 1,700/game this year.
     
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  23. Expansion Franchise

    Chattanooga FC
    United States
    Apr 7, 2018
    I don't think they were undercapitalized, they were owned by the guy who who owns the baseball team, I just think he thought the soccer team was going to be an easy way to milk more out of the stadium/front office. When he realized it was going to require effort he was less interested.
     
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  24. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    #ProRelForUSA
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    I've Been Everywhere Man
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Coaching vacancies:
    • Richmond Kickers (USL1)
    • Orlando City B (USL1)
    • OKC Energy FC (USLC)
    Orlando City technically have an interim.

    Filled:
    • Colorado Switchbacks (USLC) - Alan Koch (former FC Cincinnati head coach)
     
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  25. Expansion Franchise

    Chattanooga FC
    United States
    Apr 7, 2018
    The Red Wolves have no permanent head coach right now, either, do they?
     

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