Sol setting in Los Angeles Part 1: Fans and the area

Jeff Kassouf January 28, 2010 0

The Los Angeles Sol have ceased operations, and the plan is to have the players distributed through a dispersal draft on Thursday, Feb. 4.  This much we know clearly.  Well, sort of.

After news of the Los Angeles Sol’s potential collapse came to me on Tuesday, about 52 hours of hard work brings the situation to its present state.  I’d actually like to get that thought out of the way and let fans know that indeed, I could have been irresponsible and posted this two days ago, but I decided to uphold some basic ethics of journalism.

In the aftermath of these events, I am systematically taking a look at the various aspects affected by this news.  All of that will culminate with a release of my full interview with WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci.

First up is Los Angeles itself.  This is the second largest market in the country, and the Sol were arguably the most high profile women’s soccer team in the world by virtue of Marta, the four time reigning FIFA World Player of the Year.

Fans are upset.  That is obvious.  I truly feel for them.  I spent Tuesday and Wednesday night restless and unable to sleep after reading various social media conversations about the future of the team, where fans were oblivious to what was about to happen.

If I am a betting man, WPS will be back in LA by 2011 at the latest.  Really, they have to be.  A last-minute miracle to salvage 2010 is still hypothetically an option, if you are a true optimist.

“Well we think it is a really viable market,” Antonucci said.  “We are very interested in keeping this as a suspension of the operations.  We would like to sell this team to a new ownership group for 2011.”

She also sympathizes with Los Angeles Sol fans.

“I would understand fully if LA fans are upset by this,” Antonucci said.  “In terms of that fandom perspective, you just don’t want to see it happen.  And the fans, I encourage them to follow their favorite players to the various other WPS teams and stay connected to the dispersal draft and hopefully get behind another WPS team.  But, you know, I have to believe that if we do our jobs right and we get back to LA in 2011 that those fans are going to welcome the team back.  It is certainly not the players’ faults, it’s not the team’s fault, it’s not the market’s fault, so I hope that they open their arms to it.  We are going to do everything that we can.  It is a great market and we want to be back in it.”

This is not something indicative of the state of the league, which is actually incredibly healthy for a professional sports league in its second year.  Clearly, though, WPS cannot go on for very long without a team in Los Angeles.

Listen to the Set Piece Analysts Women’s Podcast on the subject here.

Follow me at www.Twitter.com/JeffKassouf for all of the latest updates.


8
Comments… read them below or post one
Anonymous said…
I think that you can look to growing sponsorship deals as one major form of evidence. Sponsorships are huge in professional sports, and there are many deals being signed around WPS. We keep seeing news out of Sky Blue FC of different sponsors adding to their 2009 load or new sponsors all together. FC Gold Pride is announcing deals like the one with Gordon Biersch Brewing Company. The Atlanta Beat are about to open up their own stadium (which obviously costs money, but in the long-run means no rent, much more control over revenue, space and time, and a more attractive process. Look at the turnout for draft day by media and fans alike. In no way are things perfect or thriving, but the argument can definitely be made that things are in place for a positive future. – Jeff
Anonymous said…
Define “incredibly healthy” and offer evidence.
Anonymous said…
Maybe we don’t need our playing field leveled if people like you are going to be doing the leveling. Holy cow.
Anonymous said…
To whomever this may be…it is necessary to have your facts straight before attacking somebody. There was no confirmation on Tuesday, simply rumor. Which is precisely why it would have been irresponsible. It was confirmed in the process of talking to Tonya, in which case it actually makes sense to hear the story. Glad to see you are so on top of things, though. -Jeff
Anonymous said…
To whomever this may be…it is necessary to have your facts straight before attacking somebody. There was no confirmation on Tuesday, simply rumor. Which is precisely why it would have been irresponsible. It was confirmed in the process of talking to Tonya, in which case it actually makes sense to hear the story. Glad to see you are so on top of things, though. -Jeff
Anonymous said…
Then this from your twitter account one hour ago “@Allthingsfooty Undeniably. I’m actually trying to bait them into talking. They need to stand up and take this, or at least try to defend it” Journalism ho!
Anonymous said…
And to have all these quotes ready to go from the WPS commish creates even muddier journalistic waters. Did you make a concession to not break the story in exchange for these quotes from Ta.Ta.Ta.Tonya?
Anonymous said…
You actually have a responsibility to the NEWS to break a story once you have confirmed the accuracy of said story. To sit on it for two days as you note….well there is a reason why you write about women’s soccer.