Sky Blue FC, New York Red Bulls could partner

Dan Lauletta August 4, 2013 195

Sky Blue FC captain Christie Rampone. (Photo Copyright Linehan Photography for The Equalizer)

Following the conclusion of Sky Blue FC’s home season Saturday night, team personnel lingered at Yurcak Field discussion the necessary permutations that would allow the team to host a playoff game.  If that does not materialize, Sky Blue could be a very different team when they next host a game, presumably next April.

The Equalizer has learned that Sky Blue will be entering talks with the New York Red Bulls in hopes of developing a working arrangement beginning in 2014.  The extent of the relationship has not been determined, but it could go as far as Red Bull taking an ownership stake in the club.  Should that happen, Sky Blue FC would almost certainly play their home games at Red Bull Arena next season.

A decision and announcement, should there be one, would come by the end of September.

Sky Blue has languished near the bottom of the attendance table since joining WPS in 2009.  They entered the weekend 7th of 8 in that category, ahead of only the Chicago Red Stars.  A move to Red Bull Arena and a partnership with the MLS club could lead to some spillover from Red Bull ticket holders and would represent a massive upgrade in amenities over the quaint but basic Yurcak Field at Rutgers University.  On the other hand, even if they doubled attendance it would mean playing in front of some 20,000 empty seats most games, a scenario that plays poorly to the eye and saps atmosphere.

Red Bull bought the MetroStars ahead of the 2006 MLS season and promptly changed the club’s name to the New York Red Bulls.

UPDATE (8/6/13):

Red Bull general manager Jerome de Bontin provided the following statement about discussions with Sky Blue:

“As a club, the New York Red Bulls are present throughout the youth, college, amateur and professional ranks of soccer in the tri-state area and embrace all aspects of the sport. We believe that women’s soccer has an equal part to play in the development of the sports in the USA. In my career, I have been very supportive of women’s soccer at all levels. As Chairman of Rush Soccer, I also oversee over 20,000 young women playing the sport and have played a role in helping some female American players find clubs to play for in Europe. Most recently, I helped Rush Product and U.S. International Lindsey Horan sign with Paris Saint Germain.

“I have enjoyed a long standing relationship with the owners of Sky Blue FC and can confirm that conversations, not negotiations, are on-going over the future of the franchise and the potential for the team to play at Red Bull Arena in the future. If those conversations are fruitful, we could potentially share the plans with the public after the completion of the present season.”

 

  • Lance Scallop

    Well, this certainly makes more sense than giving the Red Bulls one of the expansion teams.

  • Michelle

    It’s a shame they can’t partner with the Red Bulls and find another stadium that isn’t Red Bull Arena. That’s such a huge building and putting Sky Blue’s 2000-ish fans inside that massive place doesn’t seem like a smart idea to me. There’s no atmosphere as it is at Yurcak (Jill Loyden brought a cowbell on the bench and used it, for crying out loud!)… a bigger building just seems foolish.

    • Rufan

      What other soccer facility in NJ? None.

      Rutgers in terms of size, central location in NJ, access to major highways, parking, is the best available facility That is not the “problem”.

      • Laura

        “central location in NJ” IS the problem for people living nearby in America’s largest metropolis, many of whom do not have cars.

        • Rufan

          Please then suggest another location.

          • Steglitz49

            Central Park?

          • Laura

            Actually, I’m allowed to recognize and share problems with the current location even if I’m not aware of the size, location, and parking access of every stadium in the greater metropolitan area.

          • Rufanr

            Please, what are the “problems” with Rutgers? If the response is that SB only avg. 1,667; but Rutgers was not a problem in WPS days when SB avg. over 3K. If SB was doing that again, we would not be having this discussion now. Rutgers cut its rent 60% from in WPS days to $4K per game now. Again, if its an attendance issue, its not because of a location “problem”.

            If you do not know of any other possible good facilities (beside RBA) in NJ, its because the answer is none.

            PS- Tom H’s main business is in Morristown, so hard to expect the team to relocate far.

          • Laura

            I actually thought I was clear the first time, but I will repeat myself since you are apparently incapable of scrolling up: Rutgers is not accessible for most people living in the 4 most populous boroughs of New York City. If that’s a market that NWSL thinks is worth attempting to attract, they will either need another franchise in the metropolitan area, or they need to move SBFC.

          • Rufan

            I will try not to be rude back. SB never marketed to NYC or Long Island. If you could not make it to a SB game, I am sorry. I did ask you to suggest another location and you did not. Please again.

          • Laura

            You already attacked me, by repeatedly implying that my observation was invalid because I was unable to come up with some perfect solution.

            I made an observation that SBFC is not accessible from the nearest major market. Instead of disputing this by saying that it is actually accessible, or saying why it doesn’t need to be accessible (which you finally did in this latest response – although I think marketing to NYC is a lot more relevant if they partner with NYRB), you made the completely unrelated and unnecessary demand that I suggest I different location.

            That’s not related to the observation I made. My inability to single-handedly solve this problem does not mean that I am not permitted to acknowledge it. I happen to really hate dishonest arguing techniques, so yeah – your attempts to silence me really pissed me off. The fact that I did not suggest a different location remains unrelated to my initial point and my continued presence in this discussion.

            I don’t know what you mean by “Please again.”

          • Rufan

            I am sorry that you are upset. Of course SB is accessible by mass transit from NY, by NJ Transit train and then either cab or Rutgers campus bus from New Brunswick. If the issue is that that is not convenient for you, you want SB at a location within subway or path ride. I have stated that there are no other sites that satisfy the seating,
            parking and highway needs of the fans in NJ. That did not satisfy you. I simply asked you to suggest other sites, not attacking and not being dishonest.

          • TsovLoj

            No, they didn’t market to those locations. But the people they successfully marketed to, there clearly aren’t enough of them.

          • Steglitz49

            Morristown is on the commuter lines that go out from Penn Station and also from Hoboken. Apart from Brick Chruch and all the Oranges, the line goes through Summit, Chatham (home of the talkative pigs and many restaurants), Madison, Convent Station and Morristown, after which it continues into the back and beyonds (Morris Plains?)

          • Gerry Marrone

            Hey guys – let me try to shed some light on this subject – as I personally did the research and looked for other facilities. The goal was to find a stadium that could hold 3000-5000 fans in seats AND have a grass playing surface devoid of football lines. I know that may not sound too difficult – but it is. There are NO colleges that have both of these items – there are plenty that have field turf and football lines however. For example, we seriously considered Kean – AND they have a NJ Transit station in the parking lot. But at the time, we felt it was imperative to play on grass AND have no football lines. We always realized that the NYC market was a very difficult draw because of the serious lack of mass transit options.

          • Lorehead

            Ten-yard lines are very important to avoid, but would there have been more options if you’d been willing to consider turf?

          • TsovLoj

            Seconded. I think turf’s worth considering if it opens doors to a better location.

          • Laura

            Thanks for the insight! In case it wasn’t clear, my repeated objections were in no way to the idea that it wasn’t possible to find a good location more accessible to NYC (which I never challeneged). I was objecting to the fact that I felt Rufan was disrespectful and then proceeded to act as though he or she had been completely polite and I was being unreasonable, which pissed me off even more.

            Back on the subject at hand, it’s great that SBFC prioritized grass, but it seems like a partnership with NYRB would only work if there’s a potential for growth (although I could be wrong about that) and I don’t think that can happen at Yurcak to any great extent – not because of the size or quality of the facilities but simply because of the location.

          • Rufan

            According to the update of the original story, you may be able to see SB play at RBA in the future. I am happy for you.

          • Laura

            And you have, for the third time, implied that my position in this discussion was based on my own personal needs and preferences, even though I didn’t mention my own location or situation at all, and you are the only one who has brought up my own personal ability to attend SBFC games as part of this discussion. Again, your responses are indirectly discrediting me (by implying that I’m whining or am motivated by selfishness when in fact I am simply stating a fairly obvious situation) and failing to respond to what I’ve actually said.

            Saying “I’m happy for you” might be polite words in another context, but it is not polite when I’ve never expressed a desire for SBFC to move to RBA (but rather only stated that they cannot attract an NYC market at their current location). Instead, it shows that you have not been listening to what I’ve said. Either you’ve failed to comprehend my points or are deliberately responding in a way that mischaracterizes them.

          • Steglitz49

            Lorehead’s points are well taken, though I contend that given where women’s soccer is financially it might be worth swallowing the grid-iron lines as well as the artificial surface, but only if you thought the punishment fitted the crime so to speak.

            In short, is there any evidence that New Yorkers would venture into NJ to watch women play soccer? Apart from catching a plane from Newark airport, do New Yorkers voluntarily set foot in NJ?

            Put another way, how can DC with such a miserable season, have such good attendances? Bottle that and sell it!

      • romel dias

        I think the smart thing in this situation is to actually go the English way…maybe utilse the new training facility for the womens team…that can definitely seat at least 3000?

  • kernel_thai

    5000 is a nice crowd if u keep them together but if u let them scatter all around the stadium, the same number looks sparse.

  • Gerald

    I agree 5000 people on the logo side of the lower bowl wouldn’t be too bad and I wouldn’t be surprised if they averaged a little more than 5K. RBA had 19k for the USA match

  • Gerry Marrone

    C’mon folks – if this is true does anyone really believe that the Red Bull’s – part of a huge Swiss company would be interested based on the current attendance? This is the fundamental problem that no one is looking at this as a business. For this to make any sense Red Bull must have an idea for a bigger opportunity. Opening Red Bull Arena would cost too much money for these crowds and would just increase losses.

    I would imagine they see the success in Portland and what Mr. Poulson has accomplished and would hope for something similar. Think about what the Red Bulls have – a big stadium that stays empty more days than it’s full – I would think those additional dates would be nice if the crowd could be increased to a respectable number. All the infrastructure is in place – ticket sales, operations, etc. Perhaps some more international friendlies and USWNT games with the link to this side of the game couldn’t hurt either. Maybe they are thinking of a female training business or Academy – it seems to work well, and make others tons of money.

    But above all – don’t think they would have any interest if they didn’t see a true business reason to do it.

    • Gerald

      what do you consider a respectable attendance level

      • Gerry Marrone

        It really doesn’t matter what I think – it matters what the Red Bulls think – but my guess would be they need a minimum of 8-10K based on stadium costs.

        • Gerald

          Thanks I know it doesn’t matter what you think :(
          I just wanted an opinion

          • Gerry Marrone

            HA! Well at least you got it!!!

        • RuFan

          Good to hear from you! I think that back in WPS days, SB looked at having a game at RBA, and Tom later said that rent would be too much. Were you with SB at that time? and is your 8-10K # what SB felt then needed to make it work? If SB and RB “merged”, would those number be able to be lower?

          • Gerry Marrone

            Thanks for remembering me! Yes I was and the rent was VERY high. The cost to open the stadium is a lot – so you would need to do the math to figure out a minimum. Doubleheaders are also possible – but that defeats the purpose of getting another event at a venue sitting empty. If the average ticket price is $15 – with 5,000 sold tickets it’s $75,000. I don’t think even opens the gates honestly. And remember – this is a business and needs to generate revenue not losses. I think 8-10K is the number as a minimum.

          • Lorehead

            How would it affect the math if the Red Bulls took an ownership stake, rather than renting out the arena?

        • Steglitz49

          If the Red Bulls own the arena, they control the costs, don’t they?

          As someone typed, they could simply use only the main stand, and rely heavily on volunteers. The costs for a ladies’ game would be minimal. In short, they would make money, not lose it.

          • Gerry Marrone

            While they do “own” the stadium I would guess there is some significant debt service on it – don’t think the wrote a check. There are costs for employees – parking, traffic, concessions, safety, security, medical, etc., etc. There are utilities, field preparation, etc. These are real dollars that require paying spectators to cover at a profit.

        • NYRick

          I agree with you on the 8-10k probably needed. The double header is attractive but does defeat the purpose. I would hold maybe 5-6 double headers a season just to expose fans to the women’s game.

          However for the 8-10k needed draw there is only player in the women’s game who could have pulled that off, and she plays in Portland. That’s why IF the NWSL even had a glimmer of a thought that the Red Bulls would be interested even next year, Alex should have been allocated to NY. She is made for NY. The star of stars etc.

          In fact, Portland’s current soccer culture is so fanatical that they could have made Amy LePeilbet the ONLY US allocated NT player with Sinclair and still had a similar attendance in all likelihood. That’s why if it’s a business as you correctly say, the players should not have had any say in their allocation. That was pure lunacy.

          • Lorehead

            Did you seriously just say that the players should have had what little autonomy they do possess taken away, so that the team owners can make more money off them, and that to treat them with even the minimal level of dignity we allow employees in a free market is lunacy? No, absolutely not, and it’s a sign of how immoral the business of sports has become in the United States that anyone would look at it that way. There is no other business in which you would allege that the owners should pick which employees they want and give them no say where they work, or even in which city they have to live in. In fact, in any other line of work and most other countries, that would be illegal.

            If it’s truly necessary to hold wages down and to allocate the stars against their wishes for the sake of the league’s survival, that can be negotiated as a collective bargaining agreement. The players, after all, have more of a stake in the league continuing to exist than the owners do. You may have noticed that several WPS owners are back, after having found it advantageous to burn WPS down and start over.

          • NYRick

            I understand your argument, but you are kind of blurring things and a little misinformed with all due respect. It gets into that “when I call it a game, you call it a business, then when you call it a business, I call it a game” line of thinking.

            In nearly every other professional sport, a player can not dictate their movement until free agency has been declared (collectively bargained for by a player’s union, and then negotiated and stated in that specific player’s contract). Players especially in a designated draft have and should have no say in what city that wish to play in. Trust me, Andrew Luck would most rather play for the 49ers with his ex-coach than in Indy. The HUGE difference of course is that the NFL is a multi billion dollar industry and the NWSL is basically poorly funded. So the cry for women soccer players (not the Morgans, or the Abbys etc.) is that “we play for the love and game and really no money.” Probably very true. But there are business realities that have to supersede emotions in business, especially sports business.

            For instance, check out the scenario that’s unfolding with SB and the MLS Red Bulls. They need a marquee player to somewhat half fill a beautiful arena in the NY market. Which would be a big media boom for the league as well, least of which getting another MLS team to join the party. But the face of the sport wants to play and has been allocated to the PNW, an area that does not need her to fill their arena and grow the sport. If she is properly allocated in the best INTERESTS of the league, not the player, the league of course is the big winner, but OVERALL the COLLECTIVE players win because the league continues to grow and prosper. It’s klnd of how the NFL was built. The owners understood even early on that the best players had to moved to different cities. They all would prefer in play in California or New York if given the chance. The fact that the Green Bay Packers are a marquee franchise is living proof of spreading the wealth. There are many other factors to the growth of the NFL too, so let’s not even get fully into that.

            As for the players having more of a stake in the league continuing then the owners…without owners and sponsors the players would be playing pick up matches at HS fields. It is a necessary evil in sports. And most importantly, professional sports can not be compared to other professions. It’s a profession based on talent and marketability. It’s why Morgan can make a mil a year or more and most of her fellow non NT players may be playing for 15k or less. Fair? Of course not, but that’s simply the way sports works, simple supply and demand. If I recall you seem to be a Portland fan, so of course you’d be adverse to losing Morgan, but you obviously have no problem with your owner throwing down some major bucks, HAND PICKING stars to fill his arena and helping create that incredible Portland soccer culture.

            When I call it a game, you call it a business. When you call it a game, I call it a business.

          • NYRick

            Just want to add one important thing. There is no female soccer player in the world who stands to gain more from the prosperity and growth of the NWSL than Alex Morgan. The reasons are too obvious to list, especially as we trend towards WC15. Her movement to a city not in her specific personal preference, but in the best interests of the league, of course would be a personal sacrifice.

            But it is a sacrifice that is the best interests of her fellow players and in reality the growth and visibility of women’s soccer. Especially in the US. That is also a legacy move on her part, and she would be remembered for it. This league will be built on her shoulders. It’s already been marketed that way from day one whether she likes it or not.

          • Steglitz49

            So, the name of the team should be the “NY Red Fillies”?

          • NYRick

            I don’t think any NY soccer fan would have a problem calling them the “NY Baby Horses” if Alex signed with them.

            Kind of close to a Red Bull maybe anyway.

          • Steglitz49

            I thought that she detests the nickname (like Kosse Asllani does not enjoy being compared to Zlatan).

          • Elaine

            The rules of the league is trading one allocated player for another. So who on SB would you trade for Alex?

          • NYRick

            As an astute fan like yourself knows, there is no equal value for Alex in any trade. She may be worth 10 allocated players just in terms of her marketability and star power as the biggest name in the sport.

            It’s almost like saying to any NBA team, who would you trade for LeBron? Answer: Let’s start with the proceeds to your arena.

            If we had to play by the league rules, I guess you can start by saying, we’ll give you KO and DeVanna. At least you get a popular NTer back, and also a quality striker who can better pair with Sinclair. With a coaching change, they may even be a better all around team with this move. But it will never happen, so the point is moot.

          • Elaine

            I’ll play along here with the allocations just for fun. First of DeVanna cannot be traded. She can be waived and another team can sign her or if SB wants to keep her, they can. I’m thinking of a three way trade. Trade Alex to SB (in the interest of bringing a star player for bargaining with RB) with KO. Then trade KO with Pinoe. This way Portland gets another quality midfielder to serve balls to Sinc who can finally play in her natural position. Seattle benefits from having KO in their backline which I think she plays better at defense than at forward anyway. Alex may be a bigger draw in the NY area market which would only fatten up her pocketbook. And maybe with Gabarra she can develop more of her skills under an experience coach.

          • NYRick

            That’s kind of good. But that also matches Tobin-Pinoe together in the same midfield. It seems to be a problem with the NT with only one ball on the pitch for the both of them to be effective. I do like KO on Seattle though.

            The real key in all this is to get the best US player away as soon as possible from the worst coach so as not to inflict more damage or emotional harm. Alex to KC, playing under that coach, would be incredible to her development. But she is totally needed in NY, and Gabarra who’s not a bad coach can finally have the star power in the big market.

          • TsovLoj

            Well, the implication there is that Cone is going to be around next season. I’m kind of hoping she won’t.

          • Elaine

            Possible with Pinoe not playing well with Tobin at the same time. They could trade KO for Winters in that case. Although I’m sure Portland may not want to give up Alex for another NT player other than Pinoe since she’s a local girl and have always wanted to play for Portland.

          • Steglitz49

            Wrong consonant. D not K. The Ultras of DC deserve Alex!

          • heremerawr

            You forgot that Tobin’s probably going to head back to PSG, while I could see Pinoe turning down Lyon to play for Portland. As much as I hate to say it due to my irrational love for her, if Tobin didn’t work well with Pinoe on the pitch, then I think it would be in Portland’s best interest to trade her (to KC obviously lol).

          • Lorehead

            What I think would happen in that situation is that Portland would trade Tobin Heath plus someone else Seattle has some conceivable use for to Seattle for Megan Rapinoe. That’s equal enough on paper for everyone to save face, Portland fans would rather have Rapinoe here than Heath, Rapinoe has said she would rather be here too, Seattle would have to take whatever it can get or it ends up with nothing, and it might as well not have Heath as not have Rapinoe.

          • Gerry Marrone

            Pinoe will not turn down $150K equiv. salary from Lyon to stay in NWSL IMO.

          • heremerawr

            I dunno, she really loves Portland. Plus she didn’t get much playing time at Lyon. I could see her considering it at the very least.

          • Gerry Marrone

            Perhaps – but these women have a very limited time to make as much money as they can – and these opportunities don’t come along very frequently for most of them. Plus, she loved the experience in France – you never know?

          • Lorehead

            I have no inside information, but just looking at ticket sales, there’s no economic reason Portland couldn’t match that offer, or at least come close enough that she’d stay in the U.S. If the league were to allow it.

          • Elaine

            There is no offer to match by Portland. Pinoe’s salary is paid by USSoccer.

          • Lorehead

            Currently, yes. But the salary cap and the pick-up by the national associations were negotiated under very different circumstances and should be reconsidered for next season. In particular, the Thorns, U.S. Soccer, the NWSL and the players themselves might all prefer a deal where they stay in Portland at a salary closer to what they could make in France.

          • Elaine

            Not sure how long are their contracts for playing with their allocated teams for the NT players or how much they make. As I had mentioned in another section at this site, Alex herself was quoted as saying “I am here next year” (meaning in Portland). Whether USSoccer will pay her more next year or not or the same, I don’t know. If she is locked into Portland for another year and SB or another team wants her, it can only happen on a trade with another allocated player pending league approval (Alex should have a say in it also). Salary cap for the rest of the players can be reconsidered and increase of course.

            As far as Pinoe and Tobin who played only half a season, don’t know about their deals with USSoccer. Could be they got paid for only half a season of work. I’m sure next year these allocated deals with the NT players will be looked upon and improved. They could be tough and say if you want to play in the NWSL, play a full season. Or they could be soft and accommodate them to play in France and only play half a season again. Or they can compensate the teams that lost them for half a season with an extra discovery player slot, draft picks, another NT allocation, etc. Or the owners of Portland and Seattle can secretly pay them….SCANDAL!!

          • Steglitz49

            If Tobin has to chose, she is likely to chose Paris.

            The crunch for the NWSL are the ca 1700 young ladies who come off the NCAA assembly line. If only 1% wanted to play pro, you could add 2 to each NWSL team roster — this year, and next year, and so on, world without end.

            If I were a young player about to finish college, I would contact either Amber Brooks’s or Lindsay Horan’s agents (or both) to get a decent berth abroad.

          • Lorehead

            Cindy Parlow Cone has said in public that Tobin Heath will probably choose Paris. And she’ll do what’s best for her. I’ve said before that the Thorns might try to get Megan Rapinoe instead.

          • Steglitz49

            Why bother? In 2014 Amber Brooks’s contract is up with Bayern Munich. Provided she gets Allocated status, Amber could well opt to join Portland, who drafted her, to prepare for the WC-15. Portland has the bargaining power to ensure that.

          • Lorehead

            First, if you can get her without giving up much (and if she decides it’s Portland or Lyon, Seattle has no leverage and has to take whatever it can get for her or it ends up with nothing), why not make a move? Second, maybe I’m projecting, but I think other women’s soccer fans from these parts remember her from her time with the University of Portland and would like to see her back.

          • Steglitz49

            As long as Portland have Alex they are OK. They could even trade Ms Sinclair. Portalnd can live with Alex and draftees.

            The question is whether Porland’s fans are Ultras or just fairweather spectators? It seems that the true spectators are in DC and KC.

          • Lorehead

            You don’t know the history of the Portland Timbers, do you?

          • TsovLoj

            Portland loves Rapinoe. They will want her back. And it’s not like we don’t need a midfielder.

          • Lorehead

            I don’t see why giving the WNT players with offers in hand more money to keep them in the States would be a scandal or a secret. It’s a sound business decision. It would require changing the rules of the league, but the situation has changed since those rules were written.

            The current allocation process is the result of a collective bargaining agreement between U.S. Soccer and the USWNT Players’ Association. I don’t know how much U.S. Soccer pays its players, but NWSL salaries are between $6K and $30K on top of that. I’m told that NWSL contracts are for one year with the option for a second year.

          • Steglitz49

            There are only three players that you must keep in the NWSL for business reasons, to wit Alex, Hope and Abby. Of those, you can afford to let Abby go (or retire), but you must have Alex and Hope. The rest are trivial.

            Put the effort into the new blood!

          • Lorehead

            The league that the U.S., Canadian and Mexican soccer associations set up for their players has got to lose prestige if many of those players would rather go elsewhere. In fact, if everyone on the USWNT could play in some other league and stay in form, what was the point?

          • Elaine

            You forget why it was set up in the first place this way, to find new talent in the US and for a place to play at home for the USWNT. The players can always opt out and go overseas for the money. And some already did like Press, Brooks, Engen, Averbuch, Kling, etc. But what is the ultimate goal of all of our US players? The goal is to get on the National Team and a chance to play in the WC and Olympics. That is the same goal whether you are a veteran, college player, or ex-camper that was passed over previously. And who decides who gets on the team? USSoccer and Tom Sermanni. That is the carrot dangling in front of the players. That is why you see TS scouring back and forth across the country attending all of these games. He is not overseas keeping tabs on those overseas players.

          • Lorehead

            Even so, holding to a too-low salary cap creates a situation where up-and-comers past their college years would have an incentive to play as a tryout for the USWNT, but once they got there, that was their ticket to move up to Europe. That’s a recipe for a distinctly second-tier league—and unnecessarily, since FCKC is selling more tickets than all but a few women’s soccer clubs in the world, while there’s never been anything like the Thorns’ now-complete regular season of home games in this sport.

          • Elaine

            Maybe NWSL started with a very conservative outlook and they needed to be to keep costs down without really knowing the turnout and attendance of fans in this new league. This is only the first year. Going forward, everything can be adjusted including salary caps. By the way, not all teams in Europe pays top dollar for players or even can afford to. As this league grows and hopefully ticket sales improve across the board, then USSoccer and owners can pay more to their players, NTers or not.

            We must also not forget that some players really just want to play at home instead of abroad and help this country set up a women’s soccer league for themselves and the young ones after them. As Abby once said, “if she can help build a women’s league in the US, it will be a part of her legacy”.

          • Steglitz49

            Few teams can afford to pay much. Teams like Lyon and PSG are the exceptions rather than the rule. The German and English clubs pay considerably less. As for the Swedish clubs, why do you think so many Swedish ladies play abroad?

          • Lorehead

            Even Lyon and PSG can’t actually afford to pay that much; it doesn’t, from what I can see, make any sense as a business proposition if the goal is for the women’s team to be profitable by itself.

          • Steglitz49

            Benistiti has said that he was not interested in Alex, but not on account of insufficient funds. PSG is (almost too) keen on PR. Lyon allegedly pay their top players in the region of $250,000 per year + the use of a small apartment and a car.

            I would be surprised if Christen Press earns >$75,000 per year; probably less. I have not seen a figure for what Chelsea Ladies pay Yuki Ogimi. It would be interesting to learn how much she and Sofia Jakobsson get.

          • Lorehead

            I agree. They started out at a level they were sure would be sustainable, and that should be reconsidered now based on what happened since then.

          • Steglitz49

            I contend that Tobin is prepared to take the risk and play in Paris. It is Paris after all, not Bogotá or Terra del Fuego. I could imagine that Pinoe shares that sentiment. Lyon is a fine place from which to experience not just France but Europe as a whole.

          • Lorehead

            And if both players can get their teams into the UEFA Champions League, I’m pretty sure Sermanni will be watching that.

          • Steglitz49

            Both Lyon and PSG are qualified for the CL. How far they will get we will find out eventually. They ought to reach the QF stage at least but time will tell.

          • Steglitz49

            Women’s club soccer should be dominated by USA. There is still time for NWSL to claw back from UEFA though it will now never be as dominant as the NHL is in hockey.

            There are not enough clubs that can afford American players. Most people want to live in their own land, though American ladies who play soccer may be a different breed. After all, the top soccer schools are also the world’s very best universities, so a couple of “gap” years after college playing in a foreign land might be quite fun, before you settle down to your career, marriage and kids. With Stanford or UNC on your CV, you are set up for life.

          • Lorehead

            That’s an interesting outside perspective on our university system. I wouldn’t have put it that way. I’m not sure which ground rules you’re using to conclude that the U.S. should be dominating women’s club soccer. In an ideal world, there’d probably be equal interest in it everywhere, we’d all be playing something else, or both. The U.S. does have the biggest talent pool of current players and the biggest market.

            Men’s sports careers are relatively short, too, although they often last into their thirties, while most women seem to be retiring sooner than that and starting new careers unrelated to sports. (I should try to look up those statistics, but how many players in the NWSL are over 29?)

          • Steglitz49

            Seeing that some of the Allocated Mexican players do not even get a chance to play, the NWSL must reconsider its obligations.

          • Elaine

            That last line I posted was an exaggeration of course. What do I care if Paulson or some other owner put up the money to keep the players on their team if they can afford to do so. More power to the players is what I say. But what about those other teams in the league that are not pulling in the same ticket sales as Portland’s. If their players demand more money, it might lead to the situation that doomed the WPS…high cost (mostly salaries) without the balance from revenue at the gate. That’s why the 3 federations put together this business model of funding 7 of the NT players on each team and setting a $200,000 cap for the rest of the players. That’s not to say that next year or in the future the collective bargaining agreement between USSoccer and the WNT, they can agree to pay more than what they are getting now. Or that the salary cap won’t be raised to attract foreign signings, etc. They have to take this year by year. But I do like your idea of revenue sharing, but what’s in it for Paulson?

          • Lorehead

            I’m not sure I buy that as the reason WPS folded: look at how many WPS teams are still in business. And if the Thorns are turning a profit immediately and can afford somewhat higher salaries, that’s not the same situation the WPS teams were in at all.

            As for what would be in it for Paulson, I speculated a bit further up this thread about what he might be thinking. He might decide that he wants to keep the rest of the league afloat temporarily so that his Thorns have worthy rivals. He might also be able to get some concessions in return for that money; I’m not sure what he’d ask for, but he’d have a strong bargaining position.

          • Gerry Marrone

            Lorehead – actually there is an issue – a salary cap. And, Alex’s salary is determined by US Soccer, not Portland asI understand it.

          • Lorehead

            Right; as I’ve said elsewhere on the thread, I mean that the salary cap can and should be reconsidered. It would be penny-wise and pound-foolish to lose our WNT players to Europe because, before the start of the season, we didn’t know what a success the Thorns would be.

          • Steglitz49

            Alex’s real earnings are off the pitch — with or without the benefit of body paint. That is why it makes no sense for her to go to Europe. Maybe Japan just for the cultural experience.

            The problem for the other players is that Alex does not only get the lioness’s share, she gets the leopard’s, cheetah’s and hyena’s shares also. The others get what the vultures refused.

            I would advise any college senior to take that offer abroad provided it was in a functioning country.

          • Lorehead

            Er, that is the lion’s share. Nobody reads the classics any more.

          • Elaine

            You forget who runs the NWSL.

          • Steglitz49

            Alex should be sent to DC. Their Ultras have kept the faith in spite of a miserable season They deserve their reward in this life, not the life to come.

          • NYRick

            Who are the Ultras? I thought they were the Spirit?

          • Steglitz49

            “Ultras” is a term used on the continent of Europe for fanatical fans who support their team come hell or high water, snow or sleet. To be fair, the term has a negative tinge, as in violent and aggressive fans.

            As I have typed before, this season the legendary Dutch club Ajax started a ladies’ side. Their first match was away. Allegedly, a bunch of Ultras turned up. When the stewards explained that this was the women’s match and more of a family outing, the Ultras replied that anyone who played in an Ajax shirt was entitled to Ultra support. For future matches it was more like 6 or 7 Ultras who took turns to do the honors.

            The story may not be true, though nothing surprises me about Holland. To return to DC, the turnout for their home matches is nothing short of amazing. Let’s hope they can keep the faith. They deserve Alex next year!

          • Elaine

            Portland would not be interested to trade Alex for anyone over in DC. DC should be looking to the outside market for players. Does Conny have any friends interested, especially another forward?

          • Steglitz49

            The primary aim of the Chief Ideologist of the NWSL is to protect and grow the attendances. DC’s fans are worthy of a reward for their loyalty.

            German players, male or female, tend not to play abroad until late in their careers. As I understand it, Conny will be returning to the She-wolves in the autumn. Their manager did not really want her to play for C. He preferred for her to rest.

            As for the top Brazilian players, one is allegedly moving to PSG, several play in Russia and a couple in Sweden. When there is no big championship, the glamor of the ladies’ club game is now in Europe.

            I hoped that Yuki Ogimi might be going to DC but she has gone to Chelsea Ladies.

          • Elaine

            How about if Press comes over to the NWSL next season, allocate her to Washington. They certainly deserve to get a high caliber striker to excite the Ultras.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken but I thought NYRick has earmarked her for the California expansion franchise.

            Now, if we could get all the American, Mexican and Canadian lasses who ply their trade overseas into one team, we could call them the Ex-Patriots Returned and …

            Anyway, who would provide the feeds to Christen to slam into the back of the net?

          • Elaine

            There are no news concerning an expansion team in LA at the moment, although there has been some talk about USSoccer willingness to subsidize up to 4 NT players for a team. If that’s the case and no expansion teams for next year, then Press can certainly be allocated to Washington if she decides to play here.

            Who would supply those passes to Press? That’s easy..Matheson and Lindsey.

          • romel dias

            Ex-pats returned!? whatever next!

          • Steglitz49

            Burgoyne Surrounded?

          • Gerry Marrone

            ANYONE

          • Gerry Marrone

            With all due respect – Alex Morgan doesn’t need NWSL at all – she was a mega star before NWSL, and will be one if the league goes away. There is no comparison to the exposure these women get from the national team versus NWSl – where they get virtually nothing.

          • NYRick

            So which one of the following made her this mega star: (you can’t say all 3, only one choice)

            1. WC11 Final vs. Japan

            2. 123rd minute goal

            3. SI Painted Bikini

            For me, I’ll catch flack for this but the obvious answer is #3.

          • Gerry Marrone

            All of the above. Just go to twitter and search for all the players and compare the numbers.

          • NYRick

            It was easy to say all of the above. I said only one. And I know about her Twitter numbers, and they skyrocketed after the SI bikini.

            Alex is a fantastic soccer player, but if she had average looks (and I say that loosely and respectfully, because beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, but we’re all hopefully adults here and you know what I mean), her Twitter following would probably not exceed 75-100k. Just my opinion, could be totally wrong on that.

          • NYRick

            Also just want to add that Twitter is a very misleading and difficult gauge for a USWNT player. Social media appeals to the prime audience of the these players, and the young to teen soccer playing girls idolize and follow the every move these players make, especially the big stars.

            In Alex’s case, with her looks, every young girl wants to be her, and every guy wants to have her. Of course, sexual preference comes into play here as well. Throw in the fact that she’s a hell of a player and you have a megastorm. Hence, the absurd Twitter following numbers.

            It’s also why I kind of think she does need the NWSL too. She is the main event, the star attraction. She is the face of US soccer and the poster girl for Title IX. Those are all American things and American exposure. It is most certainly in her best interests for the league to succeed and prosper based on her age too. Her sponsors are fully aware of all.

            Yes, she can go take the Emir’s dough in Europe, but she’d have to be borderline silly to leave the US market where her bread is fully buttered. Her and her handlers surely know that. If not, they should be fired immediately if not sooner.

          • TsovLoj

            Am I the only one who doesn’t think she’s that cute? As far as being a qt is concerned I’d take Press or Shim any day over Morgan. I mean, she’s an incredibly impressive striker but as for being beautiful I don’t quite understand the awe she seems to engender in my fellow men.

          • NYRick

            I understand what you are saying here, but you are probably in the minority on that one. I was just generalizing her appeal a bit too to make a point. She certainly plays that to her advantage at every turn. To deny that is being naive.

          • Steglitz49

            Which planet do you live on?

          • Steglitz49

            Verily and forsooth, hard as it is to admit.

          • Steglitz49

            Alex Morgan must have the NWSL (and vice versa): If there was no NWSL, where would she ply her trade with the same exposure and advertising income? Japan, maybe.

          • Gerry Marrone

            Steglitz – I live in NJ – so as far as planetary location I will leave that up to you! :) Ever heard of Lindsay Horan? Have you seen what french clubs are paying women players? Have you seen how many US players are now playing in England, Sweden, Germany? Alex Morgan would be fine financially with no NWSL – she became the mega star she is without NWSL, and that would not be effected one bit without it in my opinion. That being said will NWSL help her – perhaps. Will NWSL be helped by her – absolutely. As the former GM of one of the WPS clubs I can tell you without a doubt that there are few – VERY few players that move the needle at the gate and sell tickets – and Alex is one of those. When we had Marta come to town we could trace perhaps a 50-75 ticket sales increase – thats tickets, not percentage. This year the on field seats sold out at one stadium (the most expensive seats in the house) way in advance when she was coming to town. When I asked the person running sales why – he said “because everyone hopes Alex falls in their lap”.

          • Steglitz49

            When Marta returned to Sweden after the collapse of the American league, she went to Tyresö because her old club Umeå could not afford her. The match at Umeå against Tyresö early in the season, was by far the best attended in the league, only bested by the very final match between Malmö and Tyresö, that decided the league. The other matches that Tyresö played away were not remarkable.

            The reason is obvious. Marta came as an 18-year old to Umeå (when the club was the club to beat). She played 5 seasons for them. When she returned, the city turned out to watch “their” girl again.

            I am not persuaded that Alex would pull so many spectators in Europe. True, Lotta Schelin is exceedingly popular in France but she learnt the language and can give interviews in fluent French. Likewise Marta learnt Swedish, a language spoken by <10m people. (Yuki Ogimi and Saki Kumagai learnt passable German.)

            The Swedish league survived without Marta (and Lotta, Kosse, Sofia, Antonia, Sara and a whole host of young ladies). We do not want to experiment with Alex playing abroad, do we now? Hardly worth the risk, is it?

          • NYRick

            I respect your knowledge and experience within the sport itself but you are overlooking one very important thing about AM…she is an AMERICAN PHENOMENON not a Euro or World one. Yes, she can make big bucks playing in Europe but her popularity and appeal are based on an American audience (SI bikini, Conan appearance, ET shows, Hollywood and entertainment party invites, photo spreads etc.). Those are all fully “American” things that sponsors are attracted to.

            And you should know as a fellow American, that sex sells big as well in American culture. Whether you’re a movie star, entertainer or athlete. And Alex never met a camera or a microphone she didn’t like. I’m a fan, but that’s fact. Except of course, when things don’t go her away, then she pouts. But that’s just her being competitive, the fierce one that she is. :–)

          • Lorehead

            If she’s going to get exposure, it’s probably going to be in the city where 17,000 fans just showed up to watch her score two goals. (Okay, in a loss.)

            Seriously, though, why would she or her USWNT teammates accept this proposal of yours? What should the owners put on the table in exchange for their giving up their current CBA?

          • TsovLoj

            It’s actually crossed my mind that we could try to trade Morgan and get a pretty good deal. If we had any of our own Mexicans yet I’d consider trading one and Morgan to Seattle for Rapinoe and Cuellar. In any case, I think she’s too volatile emotionally, not versatile enough for what the Thorns need right now (too much of a pure striker), and the Portland fans aren’t showing up for Morgan, they’re showing up for the Lady Timbers. Let’s be honest, the Portland Pilots and the Timbers are both probably much larger influences on numbers than Morgan is. The attendances don’t shrink all that much with the stars gone.

          • TsovLoj

            Maybe even trade her and one other (one of our scrubs, we have lots) for Fishlock and Cuellar?

          • Guess42

            As a Thorns fan , I find it kind of disturbing that some people want to trade the team’s assist and goal leader. Is she having the best season? No, but she is not the only striker on the team that is not living up to the expectations. Yes, Sinclair was a mid but she has been back at her natural position and still is not playing spectacular (though last game she was the most energized that I have seen her in awhile). I attribute both of their struggles slightly to the tactics and management of CPC. But trade Morgan? Are you kidding me? One of the best, and I will argue top 3 best strikers in the world given her knack for coming through in clutch situations, explosiveness, and now she has added more technical ball skills. It seems that while Sinclair gets a pass on criticism because she is a former Pilot, but Morgan gets criticized every game (not saying that some of it is not warranted) because, why? I do not understand the thinking “oh, yes, trade Morgan. She’s the problem” Personally I agree with NYRick in which CPC does stay next season as head coach, than I hope Morgan does leave for her sake because I think CPC is not managing her or the team that great. However, Morgan has said she loves Portland being a Thorn so I don’t know if she’d want to leave anyways.

          • Steglitz49

            The point of any trade is to get Alex to a different club in order to raise the excitement-level and appeal of the NWSL as a whole. That the NWSL moves its biggest mega-star to where she does most good for all.

            Obviously, Portland would be crazy to let her go though they could do so provided they extract their pound of flesh from the Central Committee of the NWSL.

            He who pays the piper calls the tune …

          • Lorehead

            There are some deals I’d be willing to take for Morgan, and I would like Megan Rapinoe back, but I think they’d have to be better than that. I agree that the Portland crowds are probably going to be more willing to show up without her than the other cities in this league.

          • TsovLoj

            I figure forward is our strongest point. We can afford to trade out from there, keep Shim and Sinclair and maybe Foxhoven up top, if we can get a quality midfielder and something else out of the bargain. Frankly I keep mentioning Cuellar because I think she has a lot of potential when paired with experienced players, and she jives well with the Thorns’ playstyle.

          • Lorehead

            By the way, thanks for tempting fate.

          • Lorehead

            We seem to be talking past each other, since you’re attributing to me views that I don’t hold and I don’t see what you consider me misinformed about. Which facts did I get wrong?

            You respond to my comment that the business of sports in the United States is immoral by giving me examples of how that’s how sports works in the United States. That misses the point entirely. It’s immoral even under the ethics of classical liberalism for the owners to form a private cartel, take away their employees’ freedom of contract, force them to accept below-market wages and relocate at their boss’ whim, and say it’s for the common good. And how can a modern libertarian possibly endorse a system in which players get “drafted” and then cannot sign a contract with another team that wants to hire them because someone else “owns their rights” without their consent?

            It’s pure state-subsidized crony capitalism, a holdover of robber-baron practices that were outlawed in every other profession a hundred years ago, but which the Supreme Court arbitrarily decided could continue in sports.

            And if the common good is the justification for what the owners are doing, then what they’re doing has to actually meet that criterion, and not just be them swinging around their clout. Now, I am a Portland fan, so MLS picking up Clint Dempsey’s transfer fee does come to mind first. But I don’t see where you’re getting your assumptions that I support everything Merritt Paulson does, since I never said anything of the sort. I have in fact repeatedly said that I would like to see revenue-sharing and less collusion to keep the players down. If someone has to make less money for the good of the sport, my sympathy is with the players. Furthermore, salaries are too low right now for the good of the sport, not too high. A $6,000 salary is obviously not enough to play full-time. Several of the best players are choosing to go abroad for more money, to the great detriment of a Seattle team that should have been a success this year.

            I don’t agree that the issue here is that what one of us sees as a game, the other sees as a business. I see a corrupt system set up by the owners in their own interests and would love to see it dismantled. If we’re going to override people’s freedom of association for the good of the sport, then how about, for example, merit-based relegation for the owners, instead of endless bailouts for the least-competent insiders in the private club? I really do not see how any fair-minded person could look at American sports leagues today and think that the problem is that athletes have too much control over their own lives.

          • NYRick

            My apologies for any miscommunication on the issues to each other. No disrespect intended for any misconceived accusations on my part. I think this is starting to get into some pretty heavy philosophical differences, and quite frankly pretty heavy stuff as it pertains to robber-baron practices or libertarian viewpoints on business in general. I don’t want to go there, nor do I feel I’m qualified for such a discussion.

            I understand much of what you’re saying. The salaries are of course too low, the player Euro excursions too great and revenue sharing should be instituted in some regard. I agree with all that. My main point, that I’ll stand by, is against player preference for specific team/city. Especially for the stars, and especially when an allocation process supposedly to the benefit of all teams was put in place. One thing we probably fundamentally disagree on is that professional “sports” is a unique and very different business platform from just about any other business. Rare talent makes it different.

            Sports talent is very different than CPA talent, or being an electrician or a plumber. I know you know this but I’m just trying to make a point. In women’s soccer, there is only one Alex Morgan, not two or three. She is not a commodity like in most business practices. She is worth her weight in gold as to where she is allocated to obviously for any said franchise. She holds the hammer and her handlers know it. That has to be controlled “in the best interests” of the league. By giving Alex the control (and I’m not criticizing her, she’s acting in her best interests and within the laws structured) she in turn decides the fate of one franchise over another. Surely you see that? Maybe at SB with Alex, they are drawing 5k a match and don’t need the Red Bulls.

            I know women’s soccer is an unusual sport because it is still relatively in its infancy and there is absolutely zero money, but a player allocation system has to be in place that balances the power and places the stars in advantageous locations for league. Is that immoral and unethical. YES. But I think the sports business is immoral in so many other ways. I strongly believe that. Because at the end of day, I don’t care if Portland is drawing 20k a match. If 4 other teams are under 2k, the whole thing collapses like a deck of cards. Hence, the mad scramble now to align MLS teams with the league.

          • Lorehead

            Thanks for clearing that up. I thought it was an honest miscommunication and didn’t take offense.

            As far as the allocation process goes, the current collective bargaining agreement is actually more fair to the WNT players than the way most U.S. sports leagues work. It’s somewhat similar to how medical students are matched to schools and rabbis in North America to congregations. It should not be based on seniority. I can’t get behind a proposal to replace it with the owners telling the players where to go, whether they want to move there or not. For one thing, why would the players ever agree to it?

            For another, it’s not even good for the league, especially since all the best players can go elsewhere if the only offer they get is unacceptable to them. If every deal is presented to them as take-it-or-leave-it, it seems to me that a lot of players would have to threaten to walk out of the league, since that’s the only bargaining power they have left.

            The fact that the Thorns just about have to be making a profit gives the players economic leverage to negotiate a better deal, especially because the reason they’re so popular is that this is a city that wants to see them treated fairly. Although, ironically, they might well prefer a bargain that gives them more money and makes it harder for Paulson to replace them. If everyone wants to play in Portland, arguments about whether they’ll get to go to their city of choice become very theoretical.

          • NYRick

            Thanks, this was interesting. I learned some things I didn’t know.

            Do you think a designated “franchise” player should be instituted for each team? In the MLS, they call them designated players, of which you can have 3. Usually they are the more expensive international stars. The Red Bulls currently have two (Henry and Tim Cahill).

            How about something similar but not too complex for the NWSL, that would work in some type of balance benefit way. In other words, no way a Sinc and Morgan would wind up on the same team. Both would be franchised players or designated players for one of the teams.

          • Lorehead

            MLS combines allocation rules for the USMNT players with the DP rule in a way that Portland fans happen to be upset about at the moment. In broad strokes, the fact that revenue is so unequally distributed pits the league in a dilemma. It would be bad if Merritt Paulson spent all that money on his team and made the league uncompetitive. On the other hand, it would also be bad if he weren’t allowed to spend more on his sister team than the poorest franchise in the league can afford, so he just kept that money instead of putting it back into women’s soccer.

            My proposal would therefore be revenue-sharing in place of the salary cap. I’m not a big fan of the salary cap in principle, and common sense says that there ought to be a way to for teams in the NWSL to match whatever offer their star players get from abroad and retain them. At the very least, the terms the players agreed to before the league played its first game should be renegotiated in light of everything that’s happened since.

            From Merritt Paulson’s perspective, though, this is all going to come down to whether he wants to prop up the other teams in the league as worthy rivals or not. Maybe he doesn’t. When you look at the history of the Western New York Flash, they’re no charity, and clearly the Sahlens are willing to spend millions of dollars putting together a dream team for the owner’s daughter to run and play on and her husband to coach with no concern about making a profit. (I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them spending their money on that if they want, but I’m honestly surprised at why all this resentment about money is directed at the team that made it by turning a legitimate profit and hasn’t yet used it to buy a championship.) The Red Bulls, and whatever other MLS teams decide to take the plunge, are the direct rivals of the Portland Timbers. So maybe he doesn’t want to subsidize them, and figures that if they want to spend money to stay competitive with him, they can.

          • DJ

            Two factors to consider also playing into Morgan to Portland is 1) She is a Nike athlete (who had say in this league and thus wanted one of their marquee names nearby) and 2) She dates a Seattle Sounder, so she would presumably request to play in either of the two Pac-NW markets.

            Who knows what happens next year, if US players get reallocated, traded, etc? Still lots in the air on both a league level, as well as down to each team.

    • romel dias

      I agree…though my hunch is that its not gonna be the arena..its more likely to be the new training facility grounds…currently I am not sure that there are stands available…but if they need to I am guessing they could add temp stands for about 3000-4000 fans

    • Steglitz49

      What is wrong with “a true business reason”? What is wrong with women’s soccer the world over is that it can’t make ends meet.

      All the ladies’ leagues and teams are subsidized. They only differ in who picks up the tab and writes off the debts. Last season two German D1 clubs got into financial trouble, one of which (Duisburg, Ashlyn Harris’s club) won the ladies Champions League not too long ago.

      If the NWSL can show how to make women’s soccer break even, great; if it takes a Swizz company better known for sponsoring F1 racing, more power to their alphorns!

    • wosofan

      Red Bull is based in Austria. Don’t confuse Austrians with Swiss. Different mentalities.

    • http://www.thevipersnest.com/ Matt Conroy

      Red Bull is a Swiss company? Since when?

      • Gerry Marrone

        I clearly blew that one – Red Bulls is Austrian – that would be like me confusing Arnold Schwarzenegger with Roger Federer

        • Steglitz49

          Moser-Proell with Nadig, seeing that this is ladies soccer.

  • Steve

    Always said it would be a great idea for red bull to take over the team (as long as the name doesn’t change), but moving them to RBA won’t help the team. Sky Blue when in a good location and advertised to the local area can get 3,000-4,000 fans per game. That kills atmosphere, looks awful, and will cost a lot more to open up the stadium at least 11 times a year. Just went to my first game at Yurcak yesterday since that sellout in 2011 and while attendance wasn’t great the game actually had a professional feel.

  • JD

    Well could there be another nearby stadium that holds less than RBA?

    • Rufan

      No

  • JD

    But people saying they’ll get the same amount of fans like at Yurcak is probably off. Maybe it won’t be much more, but its a guarantee they’d get more fans if they were 1-Owned by an MLS team, which increases awareness significantly and 2-Playing much closer to East Rutherford/Jersey City/NYC.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/users/535519-nick-p nick price

    If Sky Blue FC had a bigger stadium they would probably have bigger crowds

    • Lorehead

      A better venue would definitely help, but what could make a real difference is marketing to the MLS team’s fans. The best thing that could happen to women’s soccer would be for the fans to decide, as they have in Portland, that they should proudly support both the men and the women.

  • SBfan

    I’ve gone to just about every Sky Blue home game this year. Basic crowd seems to be suburban families and young lady fans. Only been to Red Bull stadium one time to see the Korea game – traffic getting to the stadium was very bad and parking worse (although the stadium itself was beautiful) but fan base at that game seemed to be that which attends the Sky Blue home games. But will those fans of the Woman’s National Team travel to Harrison on a regular basis and put up with the congestion and parking. Question for Red Bull fans – do the Red Bulls attract suburban types such as attends the Sky Blue games or is it more of an inner city ethnic crowd. If more of an inner city ethnic crowd my thought is that doesn’t translate to fans of the Woman’s Game and therefore not likely to match the Portland teams popularity or its fan base – result that it not pay the freight as described as needed in the various comments in this posting.

    • Bob L Head

      The traffic getting in isn’t bad at all if you know how to come in. As for leaving, one thing you can do is staygate and chill for abt 30 minutes and then leaving isn’t a problem. I have no problems w/ 20K not sure how you would have a problem w/ 10k.

      • SBfan

        A 40 min normal drive from Morris County took over 2 hours. 280 to Harrison exit over Passaic River Bridge and down into Harrison – then left and crawled through the city. That was on the Red Bull site – they seemed to be geared more for mass transit. Can you suggest a different way to drive in for future purposes? I do know the area somewhat.

      • NYRick

        I must first commend you on your name. Almost as good as Arrested Development’s Bob Loblaw, brilliantly portrayed by Scott Baio.

        As to RB Arena, I go to many games. I live a half hour or so away in northern jersey. I drive and park in Hoboken, take the PATH to and from the game with not too much trouble. Getting there is kind of easy. Leaving by PATH in Harrison is a nightmare and a serious tragedy waiting to happen. People literally stampede the small station. Throw in some alcohol juiced college guy packs and trouble awaits. Apparently, the Red Bulls are addressing the problem by enlarging the Harrison station in the near future and building more parking.

        The problem with women’s soccer is that the crowds are different than the men’s soccer matches. Women soccer matches are NJ suburbanites with families and young kids DRIVING to the matches. The Red Bull matches are heavy PATH/NYC crowds. Also, the political correctness of putting RB arena in Harrison was asinine all around. If it was put in the Jersey suburbs or even close to the Meadowlands, this new arena (which is stunning by the way) would sell out every match. Even by car. Harrison is on the fringe of Newark. Actually RB arena is more Newark than Harrison and that’s a turn off to fans. Especially families with young children. Sorry, Corey Booker. It’s reality. So I’m not quite sure if the SB/Red Bull women soccer thing would fully work. They truly need a big star like Morgan to help draw the crowds.

    • Elaine

      You mean the crowd at the S. Korea game was not the same type of crowd at the SkyBlue game, right? If not, that is the conundrum for the NWSL and other women soccer leagues around the world (except in Portland) …that is how to attract those same crowds to the league games that show up for the NT games. Seeing that 19,000 attended that game in Red Bull arena show that there is an interest in women soccer in NJ. And why wouldn’t urban types attend a SB game but they do NT games. Maybe transportation issues to Piscataway are a major factor. Or a lack of star power. If SB can stay in the mix in the playoffs and get more advertising and marketing with the help of the Red Bulls, they can get decent numbers to their games. A survey and study into the watching habits and interests of women’s soccer in and around Red Bull arena and NJ should tell us more if the move will be worth it.

      • SBfan

        The crowd at the S. Korea game seemed to me to be made up of the same type of fan as at the Sky Blue games but a heck of a lot more of them. So I wondered if Sky blue can’t draw them now how would moving to Harrison help in drawing them. That’s why I asked about the Red Bull fan base – if they are similar to the WNT fans then maybe you get a Portland type spill over. But if the base is different then will there be a spill over? Urban areas seem to hold more recent arrivals to our country and first generation Americans whose interest in soccer does not extend to the woman’s game or at least it seems that way to me. Explains why the European woman leagues and teams don’t draw at all well as compared to their men’s leagues and teams. Don’t purport to be an expert on this which was why I was asking for thoughts from folks who are more knowledgeable. Maybe a lot of fans that would be drawn to a woman’s league game won’t drive to New Brunswick from North Jersey and from points east but would drive to Harrison (which was why I commented on the commute and parking). But Bob L Head has helped clarify that for me.

        • Rufan

          I agree with SBfan. I have gone to SB for all the years and to WNT at RBA at least twice. Same kind of crowds, families with girls Traffic for Korea game was bad, even well after end of game. Different type of crowd men vs women. Key for men Red Bulls game traffic is us of NJ Transit and Path, women games are more cars from suburbs.

      • Rufan

        Yes, 19K were willing to go to a once in several years WNT game (with Abby going for her record) at RBA, but only 3K a few days later for Portland at SB for a regular club game.

        For those not from NJ- Rutgers is in central NJ, plenty of parking (same lots for football stadium), close to major highways. 5K steating. Within one hour drive covers alot of NJ. If people are not coming, its not because of location.

        • TsovLoj

          The operative word there is “drive”. A lot of New Yorkers don’t. SBFC chose a location outside two major metropolises when they should have just picked one and gone with it. It’s the same problem Chicago’s having; suburbia doesn’t work. More broadly, marketing to suburban families instead of urban sports fans doesn’t work, either, but that’s another issue.

          • Rufan

            Take into account that Tom H’s main business is in central NJ.
            When WPS started up, there was also a Phila team Independence. Closer to NYC there is no other good facility in terms of size, parking and transportation. Read Gerry the former GM comments about RBA costs. Therefore: Rutgers, for the reasons stated earlier.

          • TsovLoj

            Well, again, Gerry says they went for grass and things like that. I think we could bend there, for starters. A turf field that dramatically improved on the location and logistics factors would seem like a good move up to me.

  • Steglitz49

    What would be the team name? It can hardly be “Bulls” can it? The Red Cow is a not uncommon pub name in England, though the Red Lion is the commonest. Red Heifers might do, though it might be stretching it a bit.

    • SBfan

      Red Ladies has a nice ring to it if you lose the political aspect.

      • Steglitz49

        Indeed. Alt “Crimson Ladies”, though probably taken already?

        • Boston Red

          A little too “red light district.”

    • Lorehead

      Red heifers makes me think of the fundamentalist Christians down in Texas trying to breed one like the Bible says so that Jesus can come back. But it is a good name, and it goes back a ways.

      Maybe Red Skies?

    • Lorehead

      I just checked, and there’s already a team called the Lady Rams, so. I guess we’re not a nation of farmers any more.

      • Steglitz49

        Language is quaint and full of exceptions. The northern European nations followed the British convention and traditionally use lady (ie the translation thereof) in sports, just as it is Arsenal and Chelsea Ladies and the ladies final at Wimbledon. America, on the other hand, has insisted on using women for women and not ladies as in WNBA and NWSL and the use has started to permeate the world at large, except it is, of course, the LPGA.

        Any takers for “Women Bulls”?

        • Boston Red

          “Women Bulls” sounds like a bit like a joke some rancher would play on a city fellow.

    • Lady Gaga

      Heifers? Why not call them Whores, Bitches, or Sluts? Or Fat Pigs? The passive aggressive routine is boring.

      • Lorehead

        English is not Steglitz’s native language.

    • ctsmith73

      Heifer has a rather pejorative feel in the USA, Steg.

      • Steglitz49

        Thank you.

    • Jane

      Since Red Bulls is literally the sponsor’s brand name, the team would either be the Lady Red Bulls or something altogether different.

      • Gerry Marrone

        I highly doubt that Red Bull would even be allowed in the name – see Portland – they aren’t the Lady Timbers – mostly because the Timbers name is on an Adidas uniform and that is part of the licensing deal. My guess would be the same in this case. That being said the Red Bull logo would no doubt be the logo on the jersey front as the sponsor.

        • KT5000

          I hope hope hope that we don’t start getting team names like “Lady Whatever-the-Men’s-Team-is-Named”. I know having a big sponsor would be wonderful for everyone, but there will be no end to my sorrow.
          I was so happy that the Thorns got their own name; the leagues are not formally-associated after all. I would not have minded if the NWSL team was simply “Timbers” but “Lady Timbers” or “Timbers Women” I cannot abide.

      • Steglitz49

        Only two soccer teams are allowed to have company names in their names. They are Bayer Leverkusen and PSV Eindhoven. This is because the clubs were started by the companies for the benefit of their workers.

        FIFA allows some leeway within countries, so company names can be used though they are not encouraged. Thus, for example, when LdB Malmö play in the CL they are known as Malmö, likewise Kopparberg Göteborg is simply Göteborg.

        Should the Lady Red Bulls (were such a team to be a reality) play in an international tournament, one presumes they might have to call themselves New York Ladies, which would be altogether fitting should they meet Arsenal or Chelsea ladies or Kobe Leonessa.

        • Lorehead

          If the Red Bulls really wanted to mess with the new team in town, they could call them something very similar to NYC FC, but not actionable. High school and college teams in the U.S. typically add Lady to the nickname or use the same one as the men. But that doesn’t work as well when the name is something like bulls.

          In everyday use, “lady” is hanging on in the Southeast while the rest of the country is moving more toward “women.” The University of Tennessee’s team is the Lady Volunteers, and the University of Texas’ is the Longhorns, while the now-independent former sister club of the Seattle Sounders is still the Seattle Sounders Women. I don’t actually live in New York, although my sister recently did, so I can’t be certain, but that might not be the right name for that part of the country.

          • Steglitz49

            I favor Kernel Thai’s “Bulletts” — or “Bullettes” to be linguistically pure. “Bullett(e)s” is probably too complex but, maybe the second “e” could be superscripted in?

          • Lorehead

            I think you need both E’s to keep people from confusing it with bullets.

      • SBfan

        A friend of mine suggested the Red Bull Ladies which has a nice ring to it.

      • SBfan

        The name Red Bull Ladies has a nice ring to it as a friend suggested to me.

  • Jane

    US Soccer is out of marquee superstars to gift SB/Red Bulls to pull this off. Morgan/Wambach/Solo are spoken for. I would love for Christen Press to come to NY/NJ but she isn’t a household name (yet). Maybe Tobin and Carli could return home to Jersey but I don’t think they are big enough either. There isn’t even a foreign player with big enough clout to treat as a DP. The Great Marta Experiment never panned out for the WPS…

    • newsouth

      press has family in ny/nj on her mother’s side, is a perfect. my guess is, they would allocate cystal dunn before the draft and ship her to the red fulls. give them one more good forward/attacking mfer and a nice backline with a guardian like the German coming to the nwsl, and they are in the playoffs with ease.

      • Steglitz49

        Yael Averbuch is a New Yorker, isn’t she?

        • Victoria

          she’s from jersey and would definitely be a great addition to any NWSL team. too bad she plays overseas :(

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you for keeping me right. If NJ is such a hot-bed of women’s soccer, why not more spectators at SB games? Too inconvenient a location? Too expensive?

          • Jane

            Jersey is one of those funny states. You go up north and it’s an NYC suburb, central is a Philly suburb, and south is basically Delaware. Yurcak is basically located in a spot that nobody claims as “home.” Except maybe the denizens of the Jersey shore and they are spending their weekends on the beach.

          • Rufan

            Talking to someone who is close to her and living in NJ, she supposedly likes to come back next year, but does not know where & if allocated.

        • Jane

          It can’t just be a native, the team will require a truly marquee player that can help fill the stands. Averbuch definitely does not fit that bill.

          • Steglitz49

            Would that the female Derek Jeter present herself.

  • kernel_thai

    As to the name, remember u heard it here first…the Bulletts…where’s a trademark when u need one.

    • Steglitz49

      Perfect! The Doncaster Belles are one of the time-honored English teams, though the FA has treated them disdainfully recently.

      • TsovLoj

        “Red Belles” is about the best I’ve seen come by so far.

    • Boston Red

      I was thinking “Red Sky”.

  • disqus_JZCge8f0Nh

    As a Red Bulls season ticket holder, who would’ve loved to go to more Sky Blue games this year, I think this would be great. The reason I go to Red Bulls games and not the Sky Blue ones is a simple one, easy access to public transportation. I live in JC and being able to get to a game in 15 minutes is something that can’t be beat, and when you don’t have a car it makes it real tough to get to central Jersey, even from the train to the Rutgers’ campus.

    • NYCer

      Thank you. I’m a long time women’s soccer fan, yet as a Manhattan-dweller without a car (a condition shared by many, if not most, Manhattan residents), it is almost impossible to get to Yurcak Field. The nearest NJTransit stop is a 2.5 mile walk from the stadium. Return trains run hourly on weekends, meaning a 10:30 pm train after a 45 min walk from the stadium to the station post-game. Result? Neither I nor my soccer-fan friends have attended a single SBFC game this season.

      We have attended numerous RBNY games, as well as the USWNT-Korea game in June at Red Bull Arena. The RBA train station is a 15 min ride and 5 min walk from Manhattan. The trains are always thronged for Red Bull games, and no surprise, were also packed for USWNT-Korea. It would be interesting to do a survey among Red Bull season ticket holders to test interest in Sky Blue. With smart marketing to both adults and families-with-kids in NYC, Sky Blue should be able to significantly boost attendance in a more accessible arena.

      I understand that the break-even point for RBA is far higher than current SBFC ticket sales, but wonder if with game day volunteer personnel, the gap might be narrowed? Or perhaps building temporary stands in the practice fields is a viable answer. If SBFC and NYRB really are exploring some kind of partnership, hopefully they take the overlooked NYC market seriously.

      • http://sashaverma.com/ sushita

        Even if you don’t walk, and take a cab instead, it’s an extra $30 being spent on top of your train ticket and game ticket. It’s reasonably priced to go to a few games, but no way would I have been able to afford to be a season holder and get down to Piscataway every weekend. Plus, getting there on a weekday would supremely suck with work hours.

  • NYRick

    How about the NY “Pink Bulls?” Kind of a lighter shade of red and of course Pink being certainly the associated feminine color. Too sexist maybe? Too girly? Trying not to be.

  • mo

    `i dont think anyone understands… parking is the last thing you should all be worrying! we worry about parking for every BIG event that goes on. The more congestion, the better! that means the crowd is bigger! and isn’t that what we want? isn’t that what we need? if the crowd isn’t big, then parking is never a worrysome factor.

    sky blue should play at the redbulls ATLEAST for the playoff game. I live 15 minutes to Rutgers, but i WILL COMMUTE FIFTY MINUTES to get to NYRBA. What’s wrong with taking risks? Partnering with RB would be a great thing, and it’s something i’ve been waiting for since inaugural season 2009. Look at ptfc! I know they are an expansion team, but still. We can atleast TRY.

    besides, the crowd at all the sbfc are very weak to begin with. Maybe a better venue will draw in a better crowd, preferably a crowd that knows how to cheer, PLEASE!!

    and to solve your terrible driving commute people, there’s always the train. nj transit to newark, path to harrison, and boom, easy commute. i am willing to do that all next season. that is fact.

    • mo

      besides, its a female-dog to use public transportation to get to yurcak. you take a train to new brunswick, then what? how do you get back to the train station after the game? i rest my case.

      • Rufan

        Take a cab or walk over to Rutgers and take a campus bus.

        But you are right its not easy

  • Steve

    Would SBFC change their name?

  • Jean

    A NYRB and Sky Blue partnership would be nice. At least I would get to go to the women games. I wanted to attend a game the last two weeks, but the commute was almost impossible outside of NYC. Imagine I won free tickets for two to attend a Sky Blue game and I didn’t go. Why? No Path train access. So I contemplated taking the NY subway to the NJ Transit to New Brunswich–Piscataway by Rutgers University…. after that there is a very long walk to the Yurcak field. Then, how long/late or how do I get back home with the train schedule on the weekend? I didn’t want to risk it since I had never gone to that part of NJ before. It’s bad enough that it takes me approx. 2 to 3 hours (with train delays/changes) to get to a NY Red Bulls game—which I do because I love the Red Bulls. I would probably have to add another hour or two to get to Sky Blue games if they stay at Yurcak field.
    Also, need to get a few more star players on the Sky Blue team to pull a larger crowd to the women’s game. Honestly, the player who got my attention was Christie Rampone. Who else was there I think Kelley O’Hara? Over the years, the women league has suffered. I love the USWNT just as much as I love the USMNT. I just have not been able to support the women games in the league because of location/distance. Hope Red Bulls can figure out the business end to match Sky Blue crowd size with game play at RB Arena. I know this matters a lot. Take this eg. In addition to soccer, I also like basketball. Big supporter of the NY Knicks (NBA) because of that I used to attend many NY Liberty (WNBA) games at MSGardens. Then, because of the MSG renovations, the Liberty women games are now played at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. I attended a few games last year and this year, but it wasn’t the same. Sorry I don’t like the Prudential Center. Moreover, MSG used to be packed for the Liberty games. Now, the crowd at the Liberty games is poor (even on big promotional events). Trust me easy access/location and target market (who attends such games) really does matter.

  • GM

    As a Red Bulls season ticket holder I
    would love to go to Sky Blue games. The Rutgers location is too far of a drive
    for me to attend after work (I work weekends too). I went to the USA game at
    Red Bull Arena and it was a very different fan base. I loved not having to wait
    in line at the bathroom. However, I am not sure
    if Red Bull Arena would be financially viable as a home stadium. Perhaps Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium (where the Newark Bears play) would
    work. It seats 6,000, possibly more if they add portable bleachers. If the NFL
    can share baseball fields, why can’t the NWSL?

    • TsovLoj

      See, this sounds like a really good idea.

    • Steglitz49

      The bounce of the ball? “The ball is round and goes where it wants.”

  • JerichoWhiskey

    It would seem it is early to think anything concrete will come of this anytime soon. RBA needs more events.