Why Did WUSA Attendance Have to Be So High?

Discussion in 'NWSL' started by JohnR, Sep 16, 2003.

  1. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    The Chicago Tribune today wrote that average WUSA attendance was 6700, but that even if it were 20,000 the league would have lost money.

    This is puzzling given the average attendances at some flourishing men's leagues -

    England Division 2 7100
    England Division 3 5100
    Italy Serie C1 A 2600

    In terms of the 20,000 number, European clubs that draw fewer than 20,000 attendees on average include -

    Sporting Lisbon
    Standard Liege
    Celta Vigo

    I understand that travel costs are greater in WUSA, the stadium deals may not have been favorable, and TV money was lacking ... but? This still seems very odd to me.
  2. fidlerre

    fidlerre Moderator
    Staff Member

    Oct 10, 2000
    Central Ohio
    ding, ding.

    most leagues around the world in all sports make lots and lots of money from television and advertising...the wusa didn't have much income from either, hence their income depended almost entirely upon ticket sales.
  3. AvidSinger

    AvidSinger New Member

    Sep 6, 2002
    Those teams also get lots of money from other sources, especially selling players to bigger teams. WUSA never had that option, as it was the biggest game around.

    Those teams get a lot of money from television contracts. An English Premier team can expect an eight-figure TV contract at the beginning of every season, not to mention the additional millions it gets from advertisers.

    Any idea how much it costs to get your corporate logo on the shirt of a team like Fulham or Parma?
  4. TOTC

    TOTC Member

    Feb 20, 2001
    Laurel, MD, USA
    The No. 1 rule of pro sports these days:

    Make sure that you turn a profit EVEN BEFORE YOUR TEAM STEPS ONTO THE FIELD.

    Suggestion to WUSA2 ownership groups: Read Rule No. 1. Also, build your own stadia EVEN BEFORE YOUR TEAM STEPS ONTO THE FIELD. That way, rent, concessions and parking are yours.
  5. Blackcricket

    Blackcricket New Member

    Jun 30, 1999
    Helps to have major backing by another league---WNBA---
  6. MichaelR

    MichaelR New Member

    Jun 12, 2003
    Lessons for investors in WPSL or W-League, whoever will make the next try at Division I women's soccer in the US (soon, I hope):

    1) Build, buy or become partners in right-sized venues like SAS Stadium. Or partner up with MLS or A-League teams with good soccer venues (Columbus, Rochester, LA, Charleston, just to name a few). Don't be a tenant if it can be avoided.

    2) TV revenue will be minimal. Buy TV time prudently to gain exposure in the local markets and recruit fans. Get on Fox Sports World or ESPN2 if possible, but don't bend over backwards to do it. Use the Internet or link up with MLS Shootout to distribute local broadcasts nationally.

    3) Complicated deals that give an equity stake to players is a model that has collapsed twice (ABL, now WUSA). Bury it. Get solid investors who will hire and hold accountable professional business managers.

    4) While you're at it, drop the single-entity system. Establish salary caps and let the teams compete within those caps. If a team does especially well at the gate, or even turns a modest profit, reward them by raising their cap a bit.

    5) Market to many groups at once. Adult rec league players, sports fans (you know, people who are used to buying tickets to sporting events), ethnic communities. Broaden the scope beyond youth league participants and their parents.

    6) Be optimistic. The WUSA did not fail because of any flaw in its product. It was exciting, competitive and compelling. The next generation of stars -- the Wagners, Wambachs, the Mittses and Solos -- will take the level of the women's game higher.
  7. Fah Que

    Fah Que Member

    Sep 29, 2000
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Italian serie C1, C2, D, etc... are very regionalized. Teams don't have to pay for airfares, hotels, and meals. Players either travel by bus or they find their own transportation since the games are close enough. Italy is not that big of a country. They also sell sponsorship slots and allow logos on their jersey, but they don't sell them for $2.5 million. That's a lot of money and very few companies in US are profitable enough to allow that kind of luxury.
  8. *Crazy_Chastain*

    *Crazy_Chastain* New Member

    Mar 19, 2000

    great post! :D

    I hope the powers that be come across this...
  9. *Crazy_Chastain*

    *Crazy_Chastain* New Member

    Mar 19, 2000
    thats what i never understood about the WUSA...why they would rather make it harder on themselves and expect more money from less sponsors/investors than try to get a reasonable amount of money from more sponsors/investors.

    also, i bet if they marketed more towards adults and less towards kids and teens with little to no funds and got sponsors such as bud light (a us soccer sponsor) to invest in them, they'd still be up and running
  10. MichaelR

    MichaelR New Member

    Jun 12, 2003
    One more lesson for future investors in professional women's soccer:

    Link up all of the leagues playing women's pro soccer in this country. Specifically, the top league must play in the US Open Cup, especially if that gets Division I's star players into non-Division I markets.
  11. StarCityFan

    StarCityFan BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 2, 2001
    Greenbelt, MD
    Washington Freedom
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Re: Why Did WUSA Attendance Have to Be So High?

    Can I put in a bid for Sarah Kate Noftsinger? ;)
  12. Paul Schmidt

    Paul Schmidt Member

    Feb 3, 2001
    Portland, Oregon!
    Lots of college sports programs have gone this route.

    The principle is, if you're just one of a whole gaggle of sponsors, your message is drowning in a sea of logos. Nobody is singling you out, in theory.

    If you're one of 4-8 sponsors, you're getting more exposure. It's worth the extra money, in theory.

    Of course, those schools will play in games with significant local exposure, and sometimes some nationally televised games with 2 or 3 ratings. WUSA isn't fortunate in that regard.
  13. TOTC

    TOTC Member

    Feb 20, 2001
    Laurel, MD, USA
    Problem: getting US Open Cup matches against teams with players with NCAA eligibility.

    Note that, amongst amateur soccer teams, only the adult teams get to play in the Lamar Hunt Open Cup. Not Super Y or any D-3 League teams with college athletes.

    It will be interesting to see if the W League or the WPSL decides to go all-adult (i.e., drop the college/HS players).
  14. Treetaliano

    Treetaliano Member

    Jun 29, 2002
    San Diego
    Ever tried driving from Venezia to Siracusa? a nice 20 hours drive there
  15. Beau Dure

    Beau Dure Member+

    May 31, 2000
    Vienna, VA
    But PDL teams with college athletes get to play in the Open Cup, just as they regularly play Pro Select League teams as part of their league schedule.

    It's a very fine line to split with the NCAA.
  16. Beau Dure

    Beau Dure Member+

    May 31, 2000
    Vienna, VA
    Ever tried driving from San Diego to Boston?
  17. AvidSinger

    AvidSinger New Member

    Sep 6, 2002
    I've driven from Los Angeles to Boston. Is that good enough?
  18. Beau Dure

    Beau Dure Member+

    May 31, 2000
    Vienna, VA
    Sure, that'll do. How long did it take?
  19. XYZ

    XYZ New Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Big Cat Country
    That's good, but have you ever driven from Los Angeles to Venezia or Siracusa?

    And how long did that take?
  20. AvidSinger

    AvidSinger New Member

    Sep 6, 2002
    Nine days, but I wasn't driving a straight route and took time to do sightseeing.

    A college friend of mine and her sister once drove from Minnesota to Los Angeles in thirty hours. I wouldn't wanna do that...
  21. pc4th

    pc4th New Member

    Jun 14, 2003
    North Poll
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    From LA to Boston is as far as from London to Israel.
    let's just put the distance argument to rest shall we?
    Italy is smaller than California.

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