Tuesday, April 10, 2007

St Louis's new soccer club building from the bottom up

Joe Lyons of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch takes a look at the slow building process happening in St. Louis ahead of next year's launch of a new professional women's soccer league. Turns out that much like MLS's desire to not repeat the mistakes of NASL, the new women's league does not want to repeat the mistakes of the WUSA.

The yet-to-be named new league will replace the Women's United Soccer Association, which folded in 2003 after three seasons. That eight-team league, fueled by the success of the 1999 Women's World Cup, averaged crowds of better than 8,000 in its first season, but it was unable to sustain that success because of rising costs and limited revenue.

There are many interesting tidbits in the article, but the two I find most interesting concern the ties to MLS and what they need to be a success.

The new league, which is negotiating with Major League Soccer's marketing division to handle sponsorships and marketing, projects an operating budget of between $1.5 million and $2.5 million a team.
The local squad will probably open play at Anheuser-Busch Center in Fenton, where the main field can seat up to 6,200. Cooper said that the franchise could be successful drawing crowds of 4,000 a game.

Needing to sell about 4,000 tickets is a realistic, but it will still be difficult. Their angle, as expressed in article, seems to be to corner the kid market. With a schedule that is almost exclusively during the summer months, this is a good way to go. If they can keep ticket prices low, they have a great chance of being a success.

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