Soccer Business Bits: Wizards’ Stadium Moves Forward, 2010 Uniforms & More

A final agreement has been reached on the Wizards’ plan to build a new stadium as part of a $414 million dollar development in Wyandotte County.  The deal will be paid for in part by $ 85 million in state money and more than $144 million in STAR bonds.  In addition to the stadium, the project will include a new office complex, youth fields.  Based on a vote of the County government, construction is set to start as early as today.

The STAR bonds are a Kansas State program that relies on “transient guests” to pay the bonded amount over a 20 year period. For more on the program, click here. The stadium wasn’t built for April, 2009 (as initially promised when the team was purchased by OnGoal LLC), but it looks like it will be ready sometime in 2011 (or the start of 2012).  This is great news for the franchise, as the Wizards can now move out of the cozy confines of Community America Ballpark and move into their own home.  Click here for more on the project.

In apparel news, PUMA has unveiled its 2010 WPS uniforms within hours of conducting the 2010 player draft. The uniforms are available for pre-order through the WPS site and include expansion side Atlanta and the rest of the teams in the League.  Recall that PUMA is a founding member of WPS and the official sport, apparel and lifestyle sponsor of the league.

In MLS, the 2010 jerseys are also for sale, with the adidas jerseys now offered through the league website.  Long sleeve versions are featured and the Philly uniform (that had previously been revealed) is one of the offerings.  MLS is also promoting its new adidas match ball.  For more on the two leagues’ efforts to sell product through its website, click here.

Finally, stadium efforts in Houston are not going as well as those in in Kansas City, but it has not kept Dynamo fans from working to move things along.  For more on those efforts, click here.

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Stadium Update: The Winner is Kansas

We have repeatedly written about the Wizards’ effort to find a permanent stadium home.  After months of negotiations and competition, the Wizards have announced that they will break ground on their new stadium in Kansas.  Kansas and the local county have offered $230 million in incentives to lure Cerner and the Wizards to Kansas.

In September, 2006, On-Goal, LLC purchased the Kansas City Wizards from Hunt Sports Group.  Led by Neal Patterson and Cliff Illig, the purchase brought a local ownership group to MLS and started a new wave of MLS franchise sales that included Houston and DC United.  At the time, Kansas City was playing to small crowds in massive Arrowhead Stadium and was one of three MLS teams in the Hunt stable.  OnGoal brought limited sports expertise to the transaction, but expressed its desire to build a “world class” soccer specific stadium by April, 2009 and a refreshing enthusiasm to the League.

The stadium wasn’t built for April, 2009, but it looks like it will be ready sometime in 2011 (or the start of 2012).  This is great news for the franchise, as the Wizards can now move out of the cozy confines of Community America Ballpark and move into their own home.  Click here for more on the project and on the Wizards’ plans to finalize agreements and start construction.

Soccer Business Bits: More TV Ratings, Fight for the Wizards, Playoff Attendance and Scarves

wozardsWe wrote last week about the uptick in MLS attendance on both ESPN2 and Fox Soccer Channel.  Now comes a report that MLS viewership is up almost 90% from October 2008 to October 2009.  Total viewers for the FSC game of the week is just over 51k for the Saturday night match.  Perhaps most importantly, the increased viewership for FSC across all of its shows has allowed the network to add an array of new, higher end ad buys.  While ProActiv won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, higher end adds are an important sign of health for FSC, as they prepare to unveil HD broadcasts in the coming months.

In Kansas, the Wizards’ new stadium plan has news because of the job creation aspect of the deal.  According to this article from the AP, the Cerner-Wizards deal may create 9,000 jobs in Kansas and politicians on both sides of the aisle are eager to make the deal happen.  Kansas and the local county have offered $230 million in incentives to lure Cerner and the Wizards to Kansas.  According to the story, Kansas politicians are concerned that officials in Missouri are working to lure the deal back across the border.

Yesterday, we touched on playoff attendance.  For a more comprehensive look at post season attendance, click on this chart from Major League Soccer Talk.

Finally, Ruffneck Scarves has announced a furtherance of its partnership with MLS and its clubs.  According to this press release, Ruffneck will produce five unique scarves for each team.