Gothamite

North American Pro Soccer 2017

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Digby    696

It's a shame about the new faux NASL, because I dream of MLS having an NASL throwback weekend that would, of course, require the Revs to wear those lovely yellow and red jerseys.

 

1979-nasl-new-england-3-fort-lauderdale-

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4_tattoos    376

Somewhat off topic: If the Revs actually move out of Gillette one day, do you think the Patriots would go back to playing on natural grass?

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Red Wolf    646
21 hours ago, Brian in Boston said:

Further, there are those who also feel that abandoning the identity after 22 seasons of use is a blow to the development of an authentic soccer tradition in the United States. After all, they ask, how is soccer in this country expected to build tradition if supporters are so willing to jettison history - including "dated" team identities - in the name of aping international club branding styles and erasing less-than-stellar eras in team management? American-style team names - Chicago Fire, Los Angeles Galaxy, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps - are, whether some supporters wish to acknowledge it or not, part-and-parcel of the authentic history of the sport of soccer in this country... and, by extension, the sports's history worldwide. And the instability of Major League Soccer's early years isn't something to be ignored. Rather, the league's growth from the "fledgling" status of MLS 1.0 to the success of MLS 3.0 should be remembered, recounted and celebrated - lurching and stumbling included.

I think this is an important thing to remember. There's not a lot of brand history remaining from the early days of MLS. Of the original 10 teams, four completely re-branded with new names (Dallas, KC, NY/NJ, San Jose), two more changed their colors and logos (LA, Colorado), and another eventually folded (Tampa Bay). Only three teams have stuck with their same colors and name (New England, Columbus, DC). While I wish one of those would have changed names (Hint: the team that used to have the black-and-white picture of construction dudes for a logo), there's something to be said for tradition, something that MLS sorely lacks.

 

Back before I started following soccer, let alone MLS, there were three teams I definitely could have named and one of them was the New England Revolution. And it wasn't something I remembered it as a joke. I legitimately thought it was a good name, but more importantly it was one of the few old names that stuck out to me along with the LA Galaxy and DC United. I could have maybe remembered Wizards and Burn, but only because of the old joke about the Burn(ing)-Wiz game.

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Digby    696
5 hours ago, 4_tattoos said:

Somewhat off topic: If the Revs actually move out of Gillette one day, do you think the Patriots would go back to playing on natural grass?

Nah. The reason they switched to turf to begin with was a Patriots choice.

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dfwabel    984
13 minutes ago, Digby said:

Nah. The reason they switched to turf to begin with was a Patriots choice.

However in retrospect, the Kraft's admit they overlooked one BIG thing. There was the technology back in 2006 with artificial lighting to grow grass. They just failed to get it. Amsterdam ArenA had the lighting at the time of the mid-season change. 

 

http://www.concordmonitor.com/Patriots-turning-to-turf-in-2006-was-a-smart-move-6396478

 

Quote

The Patriots spent a lot of money to make grass work at Gillette Stadium. The grass at Gillette’s predecessor, Foxboro Stadium (installed in 1991), suffered from drainage issues, often resulting in water-logged games. To combat this problem, the team invested in a then-modern drainage system and an underground heating system. Unfortunately, no amount of technology could overcome the difficulty of trying to grow a playable surface in a multipurpose stadium in the Northeast. When the Patriots made the quick change from grass to FieldTurf, Jonathan Kraft told the Boston Globe that they had overlooked one key element in the production of grass: the sun.

“The amount of sunlight the field gets after August isn’t enough, because the stadium is tall,” Kraft said at the time. “So the grass doesn’t have a chance to recover after being used aggressively in April straight through January. No matter how good the system is underneath it, no one perfected a way to replace Mother Nature unless you go to an artificial surface. 

 

 

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Corvus    52

No MLS for a few weeks but we do have Gold Cup. 

 

Lo and behold, Canada wins a game and scores 4 goals. Oh yeah, and 2 goals for Alphonso Davies in his first official Canada game. Not bad for a guy who just finished grade 10. 

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Needschat    125
17 hours ago, Corvus said:

No MLS for a few weeks but we do have Gold Cup. 

 

Lo and behold, Canada wins a game and scores 4 goals. Oh yeah, and 2 goals for Alphonso Davies in his first official Canada game. Not bad for a guy who just finished grade 10. 

 

Against a team that has less of a population than the Capital Region of New York (250K+ vs ~885K)

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MJWalker45    984

And apparently a few of the players that helped them qualify for Gold Cup played for France and aren't allowed to play by CONCACAF, even though FIFA approved it. 

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Gothamite    5,869

Be that as it may, I don't think it diminishes his accomplishment.  A goal is a goal.  

 

He didn't set the roster or the schedule, he can only play against the team he plays against.   

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MJWalker45    984

A win is a win, but for Canada it was the first time they'd scored in two tournaments. I'd really like to see Canada improve, if only to give Mexico another upstart to get cranky about that should have the ability to compete in CONCACAF yearly. And a few more snow games during qualifying would be cool too. 

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Digby    696

I was impressed with Canada holding a draw against Costa Rica last night, though Costa Rica didn't look their best. Still ... Alphonso Davies hype train.

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DG_Now    3,884
1 minute ago, ninersdd said:

LOL Guzan strikes again.

 

Coming here to post the same.  GUZANED!

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Digby    696

Yeah, starting to feel that the first XI is as good as it's been in some time, but the depth is letting the US down.

 

Agudelo, Dwyer, Rowe have showed well, and Lichaj ought to see more time.

 

OTOH, I think Bedoya's had enough time as a regular, and Arriola isn't ready at all.

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Hamilton County Commissioner: Major League Soccer needs to accept Nippert Stadium

I suppose it could simply be posturing, but Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune has told the Cincinnati Enquirer's "Politics Extra" that he is "unconvinced that [FC Cincinnati] need a new stadium".

Portune is the president of the board of commissioners. Further, his party is in the majority on said board. As such, he is wielding considerable power when it comes to determining whether or not public funding such as sales tax money gets spent on a soccer-specific stadium for FC Cincinnati.

 

Frankly, a riverfront stadium site in Newport, Kentucky is looking more and more likely.

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Gothamite    5,869

The Hamilton County Commissioner is just plain wrong. 

 

I'm not a fan of Reddit, but there's an interesting comment on the FC Cincinnati page that goes into great detail why Nippert is not an acceptible home for an MLS club. It really deserves to be read in full. 

 

Quote

It's been said on here multiple times, but I'll say it again: Nippert (or PBS, or "insert your own non-soccer stadium solution here") does not work as a long-term home for an MLS team. Even if MLS were to magically rescind their demand that all bids come with a soccer-specific stadium -- which they will not do (and, if they did, cities like San Diego & St. Louis would vault to the top of the list) -- the economics of soccer in the US simply don't work in a non-team controlled building.

The first thing you have to understand about MLS is that it simply isn't as popular, nationally, as any of the other major sports. When you talk about economics in the NFL or the NBA, the leagues make billions of dollars in revenue on their TV deals alone. That money is divided up evenly among the teams . Each NFL team makes roughly $225 million dollars before ticket one or jersey one is sold. Under the NBA's deal, each team makes roughly $100 million dollars from the national TV deal alone (they each get to ink their own local deal on top of this) before any tickets are sold. MLS? Their last TV deal went for $90 million -- which means each team makes roughly $4 million (plus whatever they negotiate locally for a local TV rights deal, but these deals are incredibly small compared to other sports).

What does that mean? It means that MLS is more reliant on outside revenue streams, beyond TV, than any other major American sport. An MLS team can't behave like the Cincinnati Bengals, which can cash a huge TV check every year to cover all player expenses and still have tens of millions left over for other expenses.

It's also worth noting, at this point, that the likelihood of MLS ever "cashing in" with a huge NBA/NFL/MLB national TV deal of their own is incredibly remote. The business model of televised sports (especially cable televised sports) is currently dying. Networks like ESPN, TNT, and Fox Sports paid billions of dollars in rights fees for these sports to, in part, justify large per-household subscriber fees for their channels on cable and satellite. That was great when everyone was signing up for Time Warner or DirecTV, but people now have alternatives for entertainment that don't require a cable subscription -- and the cable industry is hemmorhaging subscribers daily. ESPN can't afford to hand out more billion dollar agreements because it's primary source of revenue -- the approximately $10 per month every person with cable pays for ESPN (regardless of whether or not they watch a single minute of ESPN) -- is drying up. MLS is a growing league, but it missed the window for getting a huge payday in the sports rights fee arms race. 

And, unfortunately, running an MLS team isn't exactly cheap. Moving from USL to MLS will mean an escalation in player costs: the MLS salary cap is currently $3.9 million. Not so bad, right? Well, the $3.9 million doesn't count "Designated Players" under MLS's salary structure. If you don't follow MLS, a DP is basically a player that can be paid an amount in excess of what would normally put a team over the salary cap. These are the "superstars" on your MLS team that get brought in from overseas or command large contracts to prevent them from going overseas, and each team gets to have 3 of them on their roster. Our friend Bastian Schweinsteiger from Chicago, for example, is a DP that's making over $5m in guaranteed money by himself. An FC Cincinnati side being promoted to MLS is going to be expected to go out and sign talent to allow them to compete on Day 1 -- Orlando City (our "model" in this process) went out and paid Kaka $7m for just one of their DP spots. This is just player salary, mind you; other expenses the team will have to incur include increased travel budgets (no more bus rides), higher salaries for coaching and assistants, maintaining a practice facility, and that little business of running a full youth academy.

The TL;DR at this point: Moving to MLS is going to be really expensive, relative to what the team is doing at USL. Not a shock, though -- it''s a lot cheaper to run the Louisville Bats than it is to run the Cincinnati Reds. And we know that TV revenue isn't going to come close to covering the shortfalls.

So, this is where a stadium comes in. In order to make ends meet, an MLS FC Cincinnati is, quite literally, going to need to sell and monetize every aspect of the club -- and that simply isn't possible at Nippert Stadium. Let's just look at the "big" aspects and see where it doesn't work:

 

  • Naming Rights: UC (shortsightedly, but that's a different bag of worms entirely) agreed a long time ago to never rename Nippert Stadium. They also agreed to never rename the actual field itself (named after a former AD at the school). There is, as best anyone can figure, nothing that can be done about this. Naming rights to your average professional sports stadium easily run over $1m per year, and go even higher. That's revenue directly out of FC Cincinnati's pocket every year. 

  • Concession & Merchandise: Nippert stadium doesn't have the ability to offer premium concessions, where most teams make the bulk of their food money these days (it's no coincdence that every ballpark in America is upgrading from hot dogs and popcorn). For one, there's no ability to actually cook food inside the stadium, and for two there's no additional space available to build new concessions. Similarly, there's limited ability to offer merchandise for sale on matchday. Most, if not all, teams wants to have their team shop on premsies to get the captive audience that comes for matches each week. There's simply no space to build a team shop on Nippert's footprint. Again, all of those lost sales on matchday is money out of FCC's pocket.

  • Seating Reconfiguration: Nippert's all-bench seating is fine for a minor-league soccer club, but when prices go up are people really going to be OK with metal bleachers for a premium price? Chairback seating is almost a must at any modern stadium facility (outside of a supporters section, where safe standing should be in place), and Nippert simpy cannot accomodate it without massive restructuring. And, that's assuming you'd get UC to go along with it, given that chairback seating would significanlty reduce capacity (eating into their bottom line for football sales). 

  • Non-Soccer Event Hosting: Clubs have the ability to monteize their own stadiums when they aren't in use by hosting things like tournaments, other sporting events (college football bowl games, in some cases), concerts, etc. Nippert stadium doesn't work for these events because it's also in use by the university on a daily basis, if not by the football team, than by student organizations and activities. 

I've described Nippert in previous posts as "Death by 1,000 paper cuts" -- some of the cuts are big (naming rights is a HUGE loss), some are small (not being able to sell a premium sandwich v. a brattwurst), but they all keep adding up. Financially, there isn't a workable model that leads you to FC Cincinnati surviving, as a successful MLS team, in a stadium like Nippert. Even if you could, in some fantasy universe, buy the building and "control it," you'd still need to solve the problem of Jimmy Nippert's name and the physics of fitting more facilities onto an already completely full footprint. Absent solutions to ALL of these issues, I don't see any way the math works there. And, at the end of the day, that's why MLS requires teams to own their own buildings and control all revenue streams coming in -- because they don't want to admit teams that can't pay their bills and/or can't run compettive teams. 

I understand we're all new at this, and that a lot of people don't follow MLS or really look at MLS economics -- but I encourage everyone to read up on it. I think when you do, you'll understand just how horridly uninformed people like Todd Portune really are.

 

 

tl/dr: they're going to play in Kentucky. 

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Viola73    73
2 hours ago, Brian in Boston said:

Hamilton County Commissioner: Major League Soccer needs to accept Nippert Stadium

I suppose it could simply be posturing, but Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune has told the Cincinnati Enquirer's "Politics Extra" that he is "unconvinced that [FC Cincinnati] need a new stadium".

Portune is the president of the board of commissioners. Further, his party is in the majority on said board. As such, he is wielding considerable power when it comes to determining whether or not public funding such as sales tax money gets spent on a soccer-specific stadium for FC Cincinnati.

 

Frankly, a riverfront stadium site in Newport, Kentucky is looking more and more likely.

If it is posturing he's in for a world of hurt if his stance costs the city a franchise, let alone FCC a slot in MLS. Nippert Stadium is okay right now for USL but at the end of the day it's Nippert Stadium...University of Cincinnati Nippert Stadium...University of Cincinnati FOOTBALL stadium. Even if, as Portune says, UC is okay with possible changes to support FCC, come Fall it becomes the stadium for which it was constructed for...the UC football team. And using PBS as a back up is kind of...well...a choice but not ideal, but what other options do they have.

Then there is Newport, KY. There is no guarantee that the site FCC wants will be available. Newport has their own agendas and own plans. Not to mention there are several other cities bidding for a spot in MLS that could leapfrog Cincy just on the fact that they have a stadium, or a plan for a SSS in their proposal. 

FCC needs to settle the stadium issue ASAP in order to have a chance at MLS. 

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Gothamite    5,869
15 hours ago, Viola73 said:

Then there is Newport, KY. There is no guarantee that the site FCC wants will be available. Newport has their own agendas and own plans. Not to mention there are several other cities bidding for a spot in MLS that could leapfrog Cincy just on the fact that they have a stadium, or a plan for a SSS in their proposal. 

FCC needs to settle the stadium issue ASAP in order to have a chance at MLS. 

 

Reportedly FCC has an agreement in place for the Newport land.  They're just trying to get something in Cincinnati itself, which seems incredibly unlikely now. 

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Corvus    52
On 7/8/2017 at 2:57 PM, Needschat said:

 

Against a team that has less of a population than the Capital Region of New York (250K+ vs ~885K)

 

This is Canadian Men's Soccer. It's been bad enough that this is something to celebrate!

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