Crew’s Taking Financial Strides to Match the Rest of MLS

A brimming 23,881 were in attendance at the Crew Stadium and helped cheer the U.S. team towards a 1-0 win over Jamaica in a World Cup qualifying game. The Crew owner Clark Hunt, whose dad helped create MLS and founded the team, says that this is a dream come true.

While attendance, revenue and TV ratings are up, the Crew is yet to catch up with other soccer teams, financially. Some steps to bridge this gap are selling of soccer jersey naming rights to Barbasol, increase season-ticket sales count, increase revenue via corporate sponsorship and finding prospective companies to empty millions from their pocket for the naming rights to the Crew Stadium.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber says, “Following the World Cup success, the US has embraced soccer. We intend to capture people’s hearts & minds as they put their weight behind their local teams”. Home attendance at Crew has been slowly but steadily on the rise & this is encouraging. Season tickets showed an upswing of about 30%. The Crew’s zoomed in on the millennial generation, the youngsters who’ve grown on a steady diet of soccer on television. The 60% rise in corporate sponsorship this year is also encouraging, although the numbers still are below the league average.

Roping in a corporation to pay for stadium naming rights has been a tough nut to crack in spite of the fact that plans are in place to erect a $2m 100-foot tall sign board with two bright LED displays outside the stadium that would feature the name of the sponsor. McCullers hopes that the team can pocket $15m over a 10 year period for the stadium naming rights. Soccer jerseys’ rights surely want a piece of cake.

An economic-impact study highlighted that the Crew has elicited $383m in direct spending since 1996 and directly supported 490 jobs in 2011. Coleman highlights, “We opine there’s vested interest for local companies to support the Crew. A thriving city would ensure that businesses thrive too”.

The team’s vision is for a 12 to 20-field facility on 60 to 120 acres that would cost $20 million to $30 million and host local youth soccer teams as well as regional and national tournaments. Plans are in place for a public-private partnership to setup a 12-20 field facility on 60-120 acres that would cost anywhere between $20m to $30m.


Gophers Surprised With New Soccer Uniforms For 2012

While the Golden Gopher women’s soccer club typically receives new teams soccer uniforms every two seasons, equipment manager John Blackshear had to temporarily put it off until a new head coach was instated.

Once Stephanie Golan was assigned the position, Blackshear immediately began coordinating with staff members, including those associated with junior soccerteams, to come up with new kits for 2012.

Since the delay was unpleasantly unsettling for the team, Golan and the crew decided to surprise their players during a practice last September 13. During a meeting, the players were suddenly introduced to their new kits as undergraduate assistant coach Katie Bethke and redshirt junior Steph Brandt removed their sweat suits to show-off the new threads.

The Gophers were immediately pleased with the flashy new design – the jersey featured wide maroon plus golden stripes, which was well complemented by aV-neck collar.  Each player’s number is written on the left chest area, and at the back with “Minnesota” printed above it. As for the shorts and socks, both of these sport solid colors.

While these tops bare a few similarities to a few junior soccerteams across the US, there are still enough unique features for the teams soccer uniformsto be considered unique.

“For us as a staff, we were designing a lot of different things and came up with about six or seven different looks,” said Golan when asked about the design process. “We just thought that these jerseys looked sharp and gave us a little flare and uniqueness.”

Choosing amongst seven designs was undoubtedly a difficult task to carry out. To make the deciding process run smoother, Blackshear and Golan enlisted the help of fellow team management staff members Krystle Seidel, Deana Waintraub and Kevin Criter.

Making sure that the designs were good, and didn’t resemble apparel worn by other junior soccer teams was relatively easy. One of the biggest challenges faced by staff wastrying to keep it a secret from their players.

“It was really hard because I was so excited, but I couldn’t let anyone know,” said Golan. “Everyone kept asking me why we didn’t have new teams soccer uniforms this season, and I just had to make excuses for why we hadn’t gotten them. I am just relieved to have this off my plate now, and these jerseys are a big gift for everyone heading into the Big Ten season.”


MLS Concludes Season on a High Note

“We were down to 10 teams from 12 and seeds of doubt were planted in our minds”, reminisces Columbus Crew owner Clark Hunt when recollecting the state of MLS in the early 2000s.

While today at the conclusion of the MLS business summit in Columbus, the mood was very positive & upbeat. All the indicators showed positive growth and a majority of its 19 teams are profitable, said Commissioner Don Garber while patting his colleagues for their soccer team management skills. Junior soccer is also set to grow.

Hunt said that D.C. United recently sold for $55m, a signal that the valuation of the teams is on an upswing.  At an expansion fee of $100m (up from $7.5m in 2005), the league wants to add a second New York team. Montreal shelled out $40m to join MLS this season. Optimism is filling the air.

The unique business model was inspired, in part by the NFL with the use of salary caps & revenue sharing and with the success of New York Cosmos at the cost of other teams. Cosmos’ success was driven by high-priced world-wide stars. The league self-destructed when other teams followed suit & were weighed down by exorbitant salaries & eventually went bankrupt.

One of the objectives of MLS is to provide an unbiased platform to all teams. David Carter, executive director of the University of Southern California’s Sports Business Institute states, “Based on greater quality of play, only-for-soccer stadium, and new market penetration, the new model is certainly working”. This will also encourage the growth of junior soccer.

The business model for soccer team management is unique, in that “The players are signed by the league & not the teams”, David said. MLS Team owners play the roles of the investor & operator and have the sole right to operate a team. The league’s salary cap is at ~$4m/ team, with an exception of a maximum of three players/ team. This flexibility was to ensure that the big-name international players entertain the crowd.

National TV & merchandizing revenue, expansion fees and 30% of home ticket sales are equally shared among MLS Teams. Garber says, “Local sponsorship money and jersey & stadium naming rights remain with the individual team”. Here’s where big-market teams make it really big.

Garber said, “L.A. ropes in $5.5 million annually for local TV rights while on the other hand Columbus draws zilch”. Crew president and general manager Mark McCullers, “We are amongst the smallest markets but wins against the larger ones are ever so sweet”.

Interesting History of Soccer Jerseys

A look into England Euro Jerseys is an important part of the history of soccer. Soccer jerseys include the name of the participant, player number, as well as the name of teammates, giving each player a distinction. It’s crucial for each player to be easily recognizable, to avoid confusion when playing in matches. Most soccer jerseys used today are a lot different from jerseys made in the past. Earlier jerseys were crafted from heavy 100 % cotton and were both uncomfortable and made players hot very easily because of its material. They were not ideal for use, especially during the hot months of the year. The 2011 soccer jerseys are generally lighter than the heavy 100 % cotton kinds used in previous years. Soccer team management highly recommends soccer uniforms that are light and durable.

The 2011 soccer jerseys’ designs are very impressive, including its shapes and colors. Present day uniforms are derived and connected with a united Euro Cup Jersey kingdom soccer jacket. Older soccer jerseys have long sleeves, which are uncomfortable because they cause players to perspire and sweat. Modern day soccer jerseys are an improved version of the older versions because of their ability to minimize water retention.

There is brand-new technology used in creating soccer uniforms from synthetic substances that make it lighter. Numerous soccer jerseys were experimented with different designs, shapes and colours to create jerseys for the Euro Cup 2012. Soccer team management of all the countries in the Euro Cup tournament approved all the newly designed Euro Cup Jerseys.

Mass media, with its vast advertising and marketing tactics serve as the core for the distribution of 2011 season soccer jerseys. Many companies also earned tons of money from soccer equipment and massive endorsements via great organizations for superstar soccer players. Sometimes they even auctioned jerseys of the Euro Cup Soccer Jersey by simply presenting prominent online players such as Ronaldhinho, Zidane, Messi, Kaka and the like. Cristiano Ronaldo jacket, Messi jerseys are generally the type of soccer jerseys which have the approval of many soccer team management individuals. The followers and fans, in addition, wore their national jerseys and team jerseys to signify their enthusiasm along with their support for their country during the games. Soccer is not just a game but a huge part of the lives of soccer fans around the world.

Nike Replaces Umbro As Official Provider Of Soccer Uniforms For The English Team

Sportswear giant Nike behind some of the most impressive soccer uniforms worn by professional teams today, and is about to sign a deal with the English soccer team that’ll increase its brand presence even more in Europe.

According to a news report by the British tabloid Daily Mail, the sports clothing manufacturer has come into an agreement with the English Football Association (The FA) wherein Nike shall replace Umbro as the official kit provider(soccer jerseys, cleats, etc.) of the English soccer team starting next spring.

Once the deal pushes through, Nike will be able to gain a competitive advantage over Adidas, which is currently dominating the soccer market in terms of market share. However, this has raised a few issues which need to be addressed.

First and foremost, it’s a known fact that Nike acquired the Manchester-based sportswear gear producer back in 2007. The main reason why they paid half-a-billion dollars to acquire these soccer uniforms and sports garment manufacturer in the first place was to scale its growing business in the European Market.

During that year, Nike’s move to buy Umbro was heavily influenced by the latter’s strong ties with the English soccer team, as well as the fact that it has been providing numerous high-profile clubs with soccer jerseys plus other soccer getups.

However, since Umbro wasn’t performing as well expected, Nike ultimately decided to put the company up for sale so that it could focus on developing its core brands.

And this is exactly where the conflict begins – potential buyers of Umbro would most certainly be attracted to the brand because of its dealings with the English soccer team. Since Nike will be replacing the company for sale as the official provider of soccer uniforms for the team, its net value would obviously go down, which could turn potential buyers off towards the notion of acquiring the company.

To make things even more difficult in terms of selling the Manchester-based company, Nike also made an announcement last May that it’ll be replacing Umbro as the official sponsor of the Manchester City Football Club starting this 2013/2014 season.

As perplexing as this may seem, other people argue that Nike could make up for the losses with profits raked in from its new deal with The FA (providing them with soccer jerseys and other garments.)Regardless, it’s still going to be tough to pull something like this off.

Premier League Players and Names on the Uniforms

At the beginning of every soccer season foretelling the outcome of games is just a portion of the total excitement.

And fans love to guest who will get sacked first among the managers.

Last weekend, Barclays Premier League made a precognition on what soccer jerseys are the potential winners and the three team soccer uniforms that may be included in the relegation spot at the end of the season.

Every time Italy or Spain changes managers, English-speaking soccer fans would have this “are-they-out-of-their-minds?” reaction.

This view was even amplified when it took Barclays Premier League until December to sack its manager for its 2011/12 season.  Sunderland’s move to ax Steve Bruce also surprised some fans.

Chelsea, Wolves, and Queens Park came next with the much proclaimed Andre Villas Boas, grouchy Mick McCarthy, and the less proclaimed but outspoken Neil Warnock when all of them were given the marching order.  This QPR move was vindicated after the team escaped demotion on the season’s final day.

What happened to the Wolves reminds everyone to be careful in wishing for something or things might only become worse.  Though Wolves managed to get a spot on three relegation positions when they terminated McCarthy, there was no positive effect on the club when Terry Connor, the assistant manager took over McCarthy’s position.

It became more of a failure.

The weak performance of the Wolves got even worse and the team succumbed to a drop.

On the contrary, appointing Robert Di Matteo the assistant manager by sacking Villas Boas proved to be the right decision for Chelsea.

Even though the Chelsea league failed to take off, the team obtained cup success by winning Champions League and FA Cup.

Since the season ending, some changes and terminations have occurred.

Alex McLeish had only stayed for several days during the 2012 season.  After a year of being Aston manager, Villa McLeish was filled in by Paul Lambert, a Norwich manager.  Chris Hughton took charge of Norwich.

Lambert received accolades after he brought Norwich to mid-table finish.  Before, teams with great achievements were always anxious of player raids by bigger teams.  Nowadays, it has also spread to managers.

Brendan Rodgers also received great praises when Swansea proved the fans and experts wrong in believing that Swansea will not be last after a season.

Paul Mariner Aims to Build for 2013

Toronto FC head coach surely knows in his heart that his club is down in the dumps & is bringing up the rear. He’s also well aware that elimination is imminent, as early as Wednesday. The 0-9 start ensured that they were never really in the playoff race. That by the way is the worst in Major League Soccer history and the pride associated with the TFC soccer uniforms has certainly been diminished. The little hope that he had for another dream run in CONCACAF Champions League soon disappeared when the team was defeated by the Mexico’s Santos Laguna, after conceding two late goals.

Mariner, though remains positive and insists that self-worth & contracts for next season is in line as TFC hits the pitch for the last nine games against much higher placed soccer teams in 2012, after a prolonged 11-day break.

Mariner sounded motivated and told the Star on the eve of the Wednesdays match versus Chicago Fire at BMO Field, “This is the last throw of the dice for us. We want to come up triumphant in every encounter. We’ll certainly be driving to ensure that we improve our current position”.

Six years on and the playoffs remain a distant dream. The early season optimism of the fans & club owners Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment has been reduced to bitterness & anger leading to reduced turnout at BMO Field.  Social Media is ripe with fans contemplating if it’s worth renewing season tickets & fans are demanding ticket rate cuts for 2013.

Mariner is fully cognizant that wins are the only way to restore the credibility and positive vibes for the club. “We all know what the city needs. Wins! As simple as that”, contemplates Mariner, whose the seventh head coach in six seasons. Mariner also pleads for some time, “Success isn’t far off, I promise. Just give me some time”. But TFC supporters are not impressed. Key injuries have hurt, but woeful defending has been widely accepted as the key reason.

Mariner maintains that he’s got a solid nucleus of players that is a good mix of youth & experience. Players from other soccer teams are on the RADAR for 2013. To strengthen the defense, Mariner said that Kevin McKenna is on the radar. Midfielder Torsten Frings and strikers Danny Koevermans and Eric Hassli will be back in 2013 after recovery from their injuries, Mariner said.

Mariner said. “I’ve told our players, if they don’t feel the pain of the appalling performance in 2012, they’d better prepare to say goodbye to TFC”. Mariner will do well to live up to his words and save the Red & White TFC soccer uniforms.