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.

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