Soccer Business Bits: Commish Speaks, KC Stadium and More

mlsWith the Confederations Cup in full swing and another MLS weekend behind us (for attendance figures and a nice year by year comparison, check here), we thought we would note some key business moments from the week that was.  In MLS, Commissioner Don Garber continued his occasssional “blog” posts with another edition of the “Commisioner Speaks“.  His comments are not notable for their content, but more for the fact that they exist it all.  We have repeatedly discussed the importance of soccer utilizing non-mainstreatm media sources to spread its message and the necessity of being ahead of the technology curve.  Occassional blog posts from the commish is a way to accomplish that.  MLS fans are far more invested in the League than fans of other major league sports (are Twins fans really concerned about the viability of MLB??)  It is a smart move for MLS to have the Commissioner participate in these occassional blogs and fan Q&A in order to keep that connection strong.

We have also posted on numerous occasions about the efforts to build a stadium in Kansas City.  Well, some first renderings are out as the project remains targed for a 2011/2012 opening.  These new stadiums are great for fans, great for the League and fun to think about.  Obviously, the final construction doesn’t always look like the initial renderings, and the pictures remind us all that this will be large complex with a stadium attached.  Nevertheless, kudos to KC for moving this forward.

Speaking of stadiums, here is the interior webcam of Red Bull Arena in Harrison.  This should be one of two new MLS parks opening in the Spring of 2010. The other, in Philly, seems to have some catching up to do. It is pretty exciting for the League to have these two new venues opening in such close proximity.  With the stadium struggles in DC and the total lack of movement in New England, it seemed that the Eastern Conference would never catch up to the West in stadiums.  Now there will be two new stadiums to enjoy on the East Coast.

Finally, soccer websites have been abuzz for the last few days with the news that Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones has apparently announced his intention to play for the United States.  Jones is the son of a German mother and American father who has lived his entire life in Germany.  For footiebusiness, we are interested not in the prospect of such a talented midfielder suiting up for the Red White and Blue, but for the FIFA ruling that allowed this to happen.  The new ruling does away with the age limit (21) for players to switch national teams unless the player has already participated in an official competition.  This will allow players who participate in youth matches for national teams but do not get called up for the full national team in anything but friendlies, to switch if their careers take a differnt turn.  This will also add to the layers of legal manuevering to ensure that promising players are “cap tied” at an early age.

Business Bits: 2009 MLS Promotions

houstonThe Houston Dynamo have announced their 2009 promotional calendar.  Events include T-shirt and bobblehead giveaways, discount tickets and more.  Interestingly, every home date has a corresponding promotional event.  The Dynamo have been a well attended club since their move from San Jose.  Nevertheless, these promotional dates are an important indicator of Houston’s willingness to work at growing their fan base.

Contrast this with rivals FC Dallas, where the only referenced game promotion is an opening night fireworks display.  With 3rd Degree reporting that less than 5,000 tickets have been sold for the Dallas home opener, it might be time for the Dallas Front Office to reach across the state for some marketing guidance.  Dallas has struggled to fill Pizza Hut Park and the 3rd Degree story states that General Manager Ken Hitchcock was relieved of responsibility for ticket sales.

In Kansas City, the Wizards are offering an “all you can eat” ticket at Community America Ballpark.  According to the Sports Business Journal, the $35 ticket includes unlimited pasta, hot dogs, chips, soda and more.  Tickets in the inclusive section are $10 more than tickets in neighboring seats.

The Revs have continued their efforts to market their “Defend the Fort” initiative by creating a website dedicated to the campaign. The site includes a fairly unimpressive video compilation and promises of a supporter online community.  The Revs are certainly making the effort; the campaign has appeared on multiple online sites and has generated buzz. It will be interesting to see if it pays off with a more energized atmosphere at games. revs