New Professional Women’s League Announced in USA – will they follow my outline?

A new women’s professional league which will start play in March. As I have written before Professional Womens soccer can draw large crowds for club games. They have done so in France and Germany, arguable the top women’s leagues in the world. Many mistakes have been made in marketing women’s soccer in the US. Will the new ‘new’ organizers fix the basic mistakes? – choose the right demographics to market towards. As a consultant inthe strategy and marketing areas it has pained me to watch the failures to follow BASIC marketing principles.

The US, Canadian and Mexican federations are all involved. This brings me to think of a proposal I wrote earlier on how women’s soccer (and men’s) could be organised successfully in the US with various teams partially representing nationalities - A New Model for US Pro soccer. The teams will be located in eight cities – Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Chicago; Kansas City, Mo.; Rochester, N.Y.; Boston; North Jersey; and Washington, D.C. – will be included in the league.

It will the third iteration of professional women’s soccer in the United States. Women’s Professional Soccer started in 2009 and dramatically overspent on budgets making me wonder if anyone there had ever taken a business course. The WPS folded in January 2012 and was supposedly going to be fiscally responsible, but as I wrote about their demise Greed and Stupidity caused it to falter. The Women’s United Soccer Association was founded in 2000 and folded in 2003.

Sunil Gulati president of the US Soccer said the structure of the league will be more financially viable. The U.S., Canadian and Mexican federations will fund the costs of their national team players. U.S. Soccer will also cover the league’s administrative office costs. It will be interesting to watch the development.


updated with information about each proposed team from a soccer america article


Boston. The Breakers played in WPS for three years and in the WPSL Elite last summer. After playing at Harvard Stadium for their three years in WPS, they moved to 2,500-seat Dilboy Stadium in suburban Somerville, where they sold out all seven games. Breakers managing partner Michael Stollerwas one of the catalysts for the new league.

Chicago. The Red Stars played two seasons in WPS before pulling out. They played in the WPSL in 2011 and the WPSL Elite in 2012. Their WPSL home field was 3,000-seat Benedictine University Sports Complex in suburban Lisle.

Kansas City. The KC ownership group is being led by Chris Likens, his two sons Brad and Greg Likensalong with Brian Budzinski.  They also operated the MISL Missouri Comets. The team name will be FC Kansas City.

Portland. Portland will play a pivotal role in the league. Poulson, whoheads the Portland ownership group, gives the league a high-profile soccer owner. “The Timbers are, and always will be, steadfastly committed to growing the sport of soccer in our region at all levels,” he said, “and championing a new women’s league and operating a team here in Soccer City, USA, will be an important part of that growth.” The Portland area is home to the two biggest soccer manufacturers, Nike and adidas, a not unimportant consideration for a league in need of a uniform deal. Finally, the University of Portland was home to such U.S. and Canadian stars as Megan Rapinoe, Christine Sinclair and Sophie Schmidt.

Seattle. A group led by Bill Predmore, president of the Seattle-based digital marketing agency POP, will own the Seattle team, having beaten out the Seattle Sounders Women (which featured Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux and Rapinoe on their team in the 2012 W-League). Amy Carnell, the former general manager of the Sounders Women, has joined the new Seattle team.

Sky Blue FC. The New Jersey club spent three seasons in WPS but sat out 2012. (It did take a team on tour of Japan.)

Washington, D.C. The group that operated the W-League’s D.C. United Women will run the new Washington women’s team. Like the Seattle Sounders Women, D.C. United Women had no ownership ties to the MLS club of the same name. The new Washington team will have a different name.

Western New York. The Flash won three titles in three consecutive years playing in three different leagues: W-League in 2009, WPSL in 2010 and WPSL Elite in 2011. Why not four titles in a row in four different leagues? The Flash’s roots are in Buffalo, where the Sahlen family that owns the team runs a meat packing company, but it now plays in Rochester.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 at 18:23 and is filed under Professional Soccer, Soccer Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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