Report: Red Bulls-Sky Blue deal a no-go

Jeff Kassouf November 20, 2013 250

Sky Blue FC reportedly rejected a deal to come under the Red Bull ownership group. (Photo copyright Howard C. Smith)

All signs of late were pointing toward there not being a deal between the New York Red Bulls and Sky Blue FC.

The Equalizer first reported in August that the New Jersey MLS and NWSL club were in talks of partnering up with each other. Over the last few weeks all had gone quiet on that front, with one source saying on Tuesday that no partnership or buyout would happen. According to BigAppleSoccer.com, the proposal of Red Bull  is “dead in the water,” and the details are ugly.

The report states that the potential deal “had the blessing of Red Bulls general manager Jérôme de Bontin” and the Red Bull ownership group in Austria, as well as U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, but that Sky Blue FC “rejected” an offer for controlling interest.

Sky Blue FC would have played games at Red Bull Arena, significantly closer to New York City than Sky Blue’s current home of Rutgers University.

There’s two sides to every story, but as it stands, the failure to complete a deal is an unfortunate setback for a team that through four combined years of play in WPS and NWSL has failed to establish a foothold with fans in central New Jersey. That Sky Blue rejected a deal to come under Red Bull’s umbrella looks even worse at a glance, but details are yet to be unveiled. Owners Thomas Hofstetter and Phil Murphy have guided the club through two different leagues since 2009, the year it won its only championship after a Cinderella playoff run.

Sky Blue FC have been teasing a forthcoming announcement for this week. What that entails is anybody’s guess.

  • Steglitz49

    Maybe Boeing or Victoria’s Secret could buy a ladies’ soccer team like Chicago. Or Microsoft Reign. We live in hope.

    • Lorehead

      Does their logo remind you of anyone?

  • kernel_thai

    Perhaps Christen Press vetoed the deal

    • Silver Frost

      Perhaps SB owners didn’t like being pushed aside by the big bad Austrians. The deal would hand controlling interest to Red Bull, and leave the SB owners no upside. They probably felt insulted by the terms Red Bull was proposing.

      I’m sure there are other expansion proposals/investors who have been in touch with USSF/NWSL. Supposedly a group of wealthy footie fans in Connecticut are interested, etc. CT has 11 billionaires in Fairfield County alone.

      • Ben

        If there is currently an upside to the current SB team as is I don’t see it.

        • TsovLoj

          This. I guess they’re happy with “pet soccer team” status. This is the stuff we ripped mercilessly on Borislow for. I don’t think Sky Blue’s longer history gives the owners a pass.

      • Steglitz49

        I doubt if they want to lose money on women’s soccer. People like the chairman of Lyon, the Emir and those guys are not so common after all.

        The NWSL could not be fagged to send a team to the MobCast cup. That says it all. Why join these losers?

  • QuickAsAFlash

    Thanks Jeff for both the facts and for expressing an opinion. If there is a rationale for saying “No” Sky Blue will tell us.

    • newsouth

      I can’t see anything other than him not wanting to let go. RB has clubs in Germany, Brasil, Ghana, Aust and the USA with stadiums. These guys are real football people, not yahoos like MagicDan or Jeff Cooper (Athletica). And the fact they were aware of Press’ exploits in Sweden can testify to that. They had a pulse on the league her in the states and players in Europe which is more than Sermanni who can’t get his VISA straight. But I’m open ears to SBFU, but they can come up with any variation of a response.

      • NYRick

        You make a great and interesting point, that being, “these guys are real football people.” That type of thing can’t be undermined. And they have large pockets which could open so many other doors and avenues for the league in general. This is really hard to comprehend how this deal gets nixed if Red Bull was this interested. And from all indications, they clearly were.

        Once again, Gulati and the USSF was most likely asleep at the wheel during the process. They needed to exercise enormous pressure on the SB ownership to make it happen, but they obviously didn’t…or couldn’t.

        • SB fan

          Could Gulati pull the franchise from Sky Blue’s ownership and award it elsewhere? Who controls which city or ownership is awarded a franchise?

          • newsouth

            I don’t think this is necessary. If Riley’s Mutany are still around, maybe Red Bull absorbs them, but I’m guessing it has no where near the structure of Skyblue. Maybe they talk over the next 2015. Hopefully the door is still open. We won’t know until we get full details.

  • SoccerBuff

    I continue to be bored with Sky Blue FC no matter what league they are on. What the hell is Sky Blue anyways!! Wasn’t it a company name?

  • Elaine

    What a letdown. Let’s hope Hofstetter and company have a better plan to boost attendance and interest in SkyBlue FC.

    • NYRick

      Elaine, they don’t. They’re done. I’m telling you they are completely done. The fan base was holding onto this and very excited about the prospect. They are not a terribly exciting team to begin with. Even a popular player like KO couldn’t change that. The backlash by the fan base (and it obviously isn’t big to start with) is going to be huge. It would have gone completely the other way too with this deal, and say a star like CP bought into the picture.

      I’m sure the owners didn’t want to let go, but it seems on the surface anyway to be complete insanity.

      • Silver Frost

        How will fans react if Press is in a Sky Blue kit next Spring?

        • newsouth

          1000 instead of 900. even the great morgan couldn’t even bring them to that stadium.

          • Silver Frost

            Hmm. Well, you have a point. Rutgers is nice, but a bit of a chore to drive out to unless you live nearby.

          • Steglitz49

            Then she is not a real star, is she?

          • NYRick

            You just can’t resist.

          • Steglitz49

            Alex might very well bring a lot more to the stadium if she played for the SB. Who knows? Who cares?

  • newsouth

    I posted this 100 times but got dissed by a couple of members here esp S49. The writing was on the wall that SBFC’s owner wouldn’t give up controlling interest to Red Bull because he wouldn’t let his baby completely go. The story broke about 2 months ago by BigSoccer members that Red Bull had made an offer to buy majority interest in the team. This has to be the biggest Yahoo move to date in the NWSL.

    • NYRick

      Dude, you were totally on this story and 100% correct.

      • newsouth

        The only thing I could see is they wanted to make alterations to the name to fit their brand. I will roll the dice that’s what SBFC will come out and say. The deal was a brand killer along with a complete buyout of sort. Anyway, let the Press to Washington for a year movement begin until Pali Strikers go online. I can’t wait to hear what they have to say. I’m assuming Red Bull doesn’t really want to a couple build. Is Phil Riley’s team still in NY? They wanted to enter the NWSL also

        • NYRick

          It seems to be a pattern for better or worse, that the fate of women’s soccer in the US (both the WSL and now the NWSL) rides on small maverick owners not impersonal corporations. I think we need large impersonal corporations for ownership for the sport to properly grow.

          Too much of women’s soccer is held hostage by the likes of either egomaniacs like the magicjack guy. Or in this case, small business owners like these SB guys who can’t let go of the emotional attachment to a team even when it is clear they can’t run it optimally and to the best interests of the sport.

          Not sure yet if this is a deathblow to the league, but let’s face it, even for the ultimate optimist it can’t be good. There still is the dreaded 3-year mountain to climb for this league, and I think this deal would have be a steady sherpa to help lead the way forward. Now it becomes a slippery slope.

          • Elaine

            These small business guys better start using their business sense and realize NWSL in the future may not need them. Look at the interest from Houston Dynamo for a women’s section. If that falls through in 2015 and perhaps along with other MLS teams, Hofstetter and company will be left in the dust. I don’t see how they can think they will get a better offer than with the NY Red Bulls.

          • Steglitz49

            They are free to think so. That is their right. They risked capital when many doubted that the NWSL would come into being.

            It is simple once the league is there — but you have to pay the price. Red Bull were not willing. That is their right.

            Please feel free to write SB a check for the required amount. They may prefer cash on the nail.

          • NYRick

            How in the world do you know the price when it hasn’t been made public!!??

            Have you ever been to an SB game at Rutgers? I have. There are tumbleweeds in the stands. This was all about relinquishing power. These SB guys are losing money and they are no different that MagicDan in the damage they have now done.

            Watch the backlash. They think they had an attendance problem last year, they ain’t seen nothing yet.

          • Steglitz49

            “There are tumbleweeds in the stands.” — It sounds like Liverpool before Bill Shankly took charge. They were floundering in one of the lower divisions. The rest is history.

            The SB people may be losing money but that is their right in a democracy. Maybe they wanted Red Bull to buy them outright and for a decent price. Seeing that the deal fell through, Red Bull by definition did not offer the owners enough.

            The owners may be misguided but then it is up to others to explain the facts of life to them. Clearly they failed to do so.

            Maybe Toyota or Honda or, even, Subaru could step into the breach — or Victoria’s Secret? You can always write them a check. No-one is stopping you, are they? Either pay up or shut up!

          • Elaine

            You’re right. The owners of SB were there when no MLS owners want to get involved at the start of our new league except for Paulson. We ought to wait until the details of why this deal fell through before we make any judgements on their decisions. Perhaps they have a plan to increase attendance at SB’s games. Perhaps they will still get Press as an allocation. But they certainly need to do something for next season to better their chances of making the playoffs again and get more people in the stands.

            EDIT: announcement tomorrow for SkyBlue, 10am ET, stay tuned

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe someone else is buying them. As you type, let¨s see what the press conference reveals.

          • necron99

            You seem to forget that the first pro league the WUSA had much much deeper pockets than Red Bull. In fact it was owned by the very television companies that we say the NWSL needs to grow market share…… and it failed.
            Lets be honest here. If RedBull wanted to own a women’s soccer team in 2012 they would have won the bid to be the NY/NJ NWSL team. They were not interested and did not apply.
            Now they are here trying to buy a team. They are not guaranteed to get more fans than Sky Blue even if they had a team and Press or Morgan. They still aren’t winning with their Men’s team. They have much deeper pockets to sustain losses than the current Sky Blue owners do, that is true. But the Sky Blue owners have proven that they are interested in being involved in WoSo for years now. Red Bull has not. While the cost to run a NWSL team is a drop in the bucket for RedBull the same was true for AEG and the LA Sol. They still dropped the team.

          • that one guy

            Press would not pull close to the same numbers as Morgan, not at first anyway. Maybe once (if) she blew up the league by scoring. Name recognition is everything at this point, and it has to come from the NT.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear!

    • Steglitz49

      Something is only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it. If Red Bull had upped the ante, the owner would eventually have sold.

      Why should an owner who risked capital and went in as a founding member of the NWSL sell up just because a richer group wants to buy? If the price is right they can buy.

      Red Bull could have been a founding member of the NWSL if they had wanted to, but there is as far as I know, though I may be mistaken, no evidence that Red Bull were willing to put cash on the nail when the NWSL was a speculative venture.

      • Silver Frost

        Excellent point. Sky Blue owners would sell out if the price was right. They were insulted by Red Bull’s paltry offer.

        • newsouth

          We don’t know that. Has the offer been posted? From the article they were still a minority owner in the team. What is SB really worth since the offer was paltry?

          • NYRick

            In business, owning a small percentage of something big is always more valuable than owning 100% of something small and really worthless and not making money. If these owners have an MBA in business, they should be embarrased.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            You’re right; this decision is an embarrasment. It screams of selfishness. The only people getting anything out of this is the current owners; everyone else is losing. I guess they didn’t want to step down from being the decision makers, to the detriment of the team and potentially the future of this league.

            I can’t see it having anything to do with money. The Austrians are business people who have done this before. It would have been a good offer. There couldn’t have been concerns over future coaching, training, or player-signing, since these are soccer guys who have done this before.

            It all comes down to this: “controlling interest.” I guarantee you if the offer had been for 49% of the team, and Hofstetter & Murphy kept 51%, this would have gone through in a second. I deal with millionaire businessmen every day; it’s all about having that 1% more control. If you are used to being “the money guy” and you are used to having that control, it is incredibly difficult to give up. Especially when it’s something that you’re passionate about – something that is “your baby.” In most business situations, money buys control. These guys really didn’t NEED the money, but by not being willing to make a deal, they screwed this team. What a letdown to both players and fans.

          • NYRick

            Excellent post. I’m with you on all points. It is amazing the egos involved once powerful owners have to relinquish power (even to their financial benefit). I’m sure that’s what happened here, because these guys are never in their life going to get a deal placed at their doorstep for the SB franchise like this.

            The absurdity of it all runs deep on so many levels. As a WoSo fan, and an SB fan, it’s just so disappointing. I really think there was probably nothing more important for all of 2014 to happen for the NWSL than this. Just goes to show you how weak the USSF is (when they want to be). They should have exercised a little more power for the greater good. In baseball, for example, the commissioner is often allowed to step in for “the good of baseball” and the sport on decisions of this nature. These SB guys have just done in their own way just as much damage as MagicDan did to the WPS.

          • Steglitz49

            Please simply write the SB owners a check for the required amount. No-one is stopping you.

          • NYRick

            I tell you what though, if I was advising them I would easily tell them that they are utter fools to walk away from such a deal. Even at a lower price than they wanted. They would have still most likely been given a small majority share, and what’s that worth when you are dealing with a mega global company like Red Bull. Colossal f-up on every level!

          • NYRick

            I also want to add in terms of writing checks. I won’t be writing any for SB tickets for the 2014 season. I did last year. What does that tell you? I’m sure I’m not alone.

          • Steglitz49

            That is your inalianable right. It won’t help SB, but no-one can stop you. Not a positive attitude to the issue, but it is your right. Stuff the ladies who want to play pro-soccer.

            Whose season ticket will you get instead? Wolfsburg? Montpellier? Liverpool? Kobe Leonessa?

          • clioamare

            I know many fans from NYC area (and in NJ area) were upset by the breakdown in the Sky Blue-Red Bull deal. Fans were genuinely excited about the prospect. In less than 36 hrs from initial article, we’ll hear from SB owners and see what the real deal is.

          • necron99

            That is ok, I had two VIP season tickets last year, even though I don’t live near NJ. I will buy two more to cover yours.

          • NYRick

            Great. There will still be 1,336 at each match.

          • ctsmith73

            Come on Rick. We don’t even have all the details yet. By all accounts, Hofstetter has been engaged and involved. Not up to par with marketing, but let’s not put him in the pen with Borislow just yet…till we know more, anyway.

          • necron99

            So you think that USSF should have been strong and coerced the current Sky Blue owners to sell their franchise?? Interesting we have seen that before. That would have been much more like the Magic Dan situation. Do you think that the current owners would have just taken it? Rich business people with lawyers never know their rights? They would not have gone to court? That would not have been good for the NWSL. Some people are ridiculous.

          • NYRick

            Seriously, are you a flack for Sky Blue?

          • necron99

            No I am a WoSo fan who understands business and the realities of contract law. I am no lawyer but this is a basic concept.

          • NYRick

            So let me ask you a serious question for a second, and please forget the venom that you have for me for some reason.

            Do you not think Red Bull acquiring Sky Blue and also adding a player like Press to the team would not have been a positive or benefit to the league and WoSo, especially in the states, in general?

            Forget law, the rich owners, the corporate bullies etc.

          • necron99

            I have no venom for you or anyone else on here. I hate the ridiculous level of hyperbole that people have here on this blog. I also hate the repetition and knowing that instead of reasoned discussion on any new topic I will see the same 5 people having the same 100 post debate about Christen Press over and over again. And I don’t mean you, I mean everyone having the same debate.
            That said, I think that Red Bull purchasing Sky Blue and getting Christen Press could have been a hugely great thing for the league. I also am hesitant because it would only be great if Red Bull was really into it for the correct reason. If they did not take it seriously, or if they thought it was quick money it would be bad. Like it or not the current Sky Blue owner has chosen to put his money where his mouth is and support WoSo for many years here in the USA. He has lost money each year. There is much he could do better. Clearly Red Bull has way more resources to do it better if they wanted to. But they have no history supporting WoSo at that level. We have had other big pocket corporations and individuals come and go in WoSo to the determine of their teams and leagues. AEG is definitely a soccer/football company who owns/owned many MLS teams including the Galaxy. They crapped on the LA Sol and weakened the WPS. So I am not universally positive that RedBull would have been a great thing. It surely could have been. I would have bought season tickets and hoped for the best. I also don’t like the fact that they did not want to have a NWSL team in 2012. They would have won if they had bid. There are no guarantees they would replicate what Paulson has done with the Thorns. The Timbers sell every seat to every game and have a multi year waiting list for season tickets. Paulson is expanding his business in one of the few ways he logically can. And he is in a much better town for soccer as well.

          • NYRick

            I agree with you on the excess Press discussion. I’ve been purposely trying to not comment on too much of it myself lately. However, you know that ANY thread on here that concerns the NT will then start to focus on:

            The influx of our star forwards and how to play them, and then to Abby being old, slow and a flopper and Alex being the golden girl (who by the way didn’t score a goal for club or NT for just about the last 6 months of season) and the wunderkind who is tearing up Europe and who gets no NT respect: Press. Throw in the fact that she happens to be good looking and you have a firestorm. Plus, she steps on the toes in different ways of the two biggest names in the program (Alex and Abby) and that leads to many discussions. Plus she has a past history with both Abby (magicjack fiasco) and Alex (always compared). That all adds up to a lot to talk about when threads concern the NT.

            As for this RB/SB situation, I respect the fact that the owners have rights and it’s their prerogative to turn down any deal for whatever reason they see fit. But I just see it as bad business for the league. I care more about the sport and it’s survival than I do for the SB owners.

          • necron99

            I agree every discussion ends up covering each of the topics you listed. Which generally keeps me from reading threads here. Everyone has a hardened opinion on each of those topics and everyone knows each other’s opinions.
            The funny thing is that without those discussions any article has between 0 – 23 comments.

          • NYRick

            Regarding the 0-23 comments for discussions without those topics, as a WoSo fan isn’t it a hell of a lot better having people even talking about women’s soccer and bringing comment threads over 300 for really just about anything? At least fans are engaged. That’s certainly not a negative for the sport? When they don’t care and “every” article contains 10 comments or less, that’s when you know you have a problem.

            And also as stated and we both agree, the Press stuff gets out of hand but she has become a lightning rod for a lot of structural and managerial issues for the US program, past and present. You would think that on a team that has well-known names like Abby, Alex and Hope that those 3 would be most talked about. But Press probably exceeds those 3 combined by far on many women’s soccer forums. In her quiet way, she has become really the most intriguing player on the team. And look out if she ever started at forward for the team because she has the goods all around to be a big star…and even more talked about.

            But I do see your point. :–)

          • Steglitz49

            Please feel free to call SB’s owners and write them a check for the required amount. They may prefer cash on the nail or a bankers draught.

            Pay up or shut up!

          • clioamare

            I think that Slicey has provided a interesting point about “controlling interest.” It’s a possibility. We’ll find out tomorrow.

            I do wish you to stop asking people to pay up and shut up. No need to be harsh.

          • Steglitz49

            We shall indeed. A controlling interest could mean owning 51%. That way the current owners would have had to do as Red Bull wanted but still carry half the expenses.

            It seems the owners preferred to be masters in their own home but pay for the lot. Given the salary cap of $200k it may not be so bad if you are interested in women’s soccer.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            What “required amount” would that be? My argument was that this wasn’t a deal that broke down because of money, it likely broke down due to percentages and the current owners being unwilling to give up control.

            Whether RB offered $500K or $5million for the team, without that 51% I’m sure that SBFC owners say NO.

          • Steglitz49

            If the price had been right, the SB owners would have sold. Red Bull were not serious. Capitalism, the creed that built the good ol’ US of A:

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            I disagree. See my previous post.

      • newsouth

        i wouldn’t put money either after watching the wps. you would loose you house on womens soccer in the states. it’s a good deal to come in and absorb an established protect. in the real world that what corporations do. the league benefited from red bull, not really the other way around. lets be real. red bull would put a stadium and team in spain. why would they loot their bank accts trying to carry the nwsl. it can succeed but it won’t be the mls. red bull approached it the right way. if i was in charge, i would have done the game. paul riley has a team in ny. maybe they go for that. red bull are real soccer people, not the heart in the game and don’t know how to do it like some of the wps owners and magic dan.

        • Steglitz49

          “it’s a good deal to come in and absorb an established project” — verily and forsooth but you have to pay the owner what s/he wants or cut some sort of deal. Capitalism at work! For the rich, pure paradise; no-one gives a monkey’s for the poor.

          Red Bull would not pay enough. Tough!

          • NYRick

            Sometimes “branding” and a mere association with the Red Bull brand is hard to put a price tag on. These SB guys haven’t done their due dilgence and/or had bad advice. As newsouth said, these were “football people” at your doorstep and deals like this don’t happen everyday, if ever.

            Sad part is, the league suffers and the sport suffers. I don’t give a toss about the deep pockets of any owner, including these SB guys who I’m sure are not poor.

          • Steglitz49

            If Red Bull had offered enough, the deal would have gone through. What the owners of SB considered “enough” was more than Red Bull felt it was worth. That is the way the cookie crumbles.

          • NYRick

            SB will fold in 2014. Rationalize it any way you want.

          • Steglitz49

            It depends on how much money the owners are prepared to lose. There are few, if any women’s teams that break even, let alone make a profit. They all have sugar-daddies. These can be either loyal fans who chip in or wealthy persons or wealthy corporations like men’s teams or companies.

            No-one ever became rich by underestimating the low pull of a women’s soccer team.

          • Silver Frost

            The unrelenting pessimism might have something to do with Ronaldo’s three goals against Sweden in the WC playoff yesterday. Even Zlatan could not save the Blue and Yellow. It’s all on Pia now to save Sweden.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            Right. And if they’d only be willing to sell the team for $10 million then they’re delusional and are making business decisions based on emotion and not on the bottom line.

            Basically, what we learn from this deal is that no offer will be good enough for the current owners to step away from SBFC. They are emotionally invested enough to keep throwing money at a losing product instead of working out a deal to improve the team and the league.

          • necron99

            Branding and association with Red Bull isn’t important here. There is no need to put a price on it. It would only be of value to the owners of the team. If Red Bull bought the team outright, then it would increase the value of the team they purchased. But the only value that the current owners would see would be the cash in their pockets. If Red Bull bought the team and doubled it’s value that is great for them, but it means nothing to the people who used to be owners.

          • clioamare

            What is “verily and forsooth” ??

          • NYRick

            I too laugh when I see that. Just interpret it to mean, “right on!” Actually, as a joke I said that to my wife in general conversation to see her reaction and she looked at me like I was from Mars.

            I’m going to have to inject it in a business meeting in some capacity.

          • Lorehead

            They’re both words from Shakespeare’s time whose literal meaning is “truly” or “certainly,” but it isn’t an actual quotation. Verily as an interjection usually meant you agreed with what another person just said, and forsooth that you strongly meant what you were about to say.

            In the more formal language of the King James Bible, verily is usually an adverb that means “truthfully” (“verily keep my sabbath” or “verily swear”) or appears in the phrase, “Verily I say unto you.” The word forsooth does not occur at all.

          • Steglitz49

            Verily. The AV uses “verily” — often doubled as in “Verily, verily” — but the RSV replaced it with “truly”. I have not the foggiest what modern versions use but I would not be surprised if it was something clumsy and unpoetical like “in very truth”.

            The Australians would say ” ‘struth! ” which I think is derived from “God’s truth” (or “ain’t that God’s truth”).

          • Lorehead

            The repetition “verily, verily” is more a translation of the distinctive style of the Gospel of John than it is something a native speaker would actually have said, though.

            Most modern translations say “truly,” but at least one went with “certainly.”

          • Steglitz49

            Three books have played a big role in the development of the English langugae: the Common Prayer Book (essentially Cranmer’s work) and, as Lorehead typed, the Authrorised Version (KJV in the US — a collaborative effort) of the Bible and Shakespeare. Since most of the well known expressions in the AV/KJV comes from Tyndale’s earlier translation, he ought to be credited. Tyndale and Cranmer were burnt at the stake for their pains.

            Lorehead has dealt with “verily”. “Forsooth” is an archaic adverb for “no doubt”, “to be sure”. Today its use is mainly ironically.

      • NYRick

        You make a very good point that Red Bull could have been a founding member of the NWSL last year, although we don’t know that for sure if SB was originally in the mix and given “territorial” rights to the area since it was only 8 teams.

        The key points to keep in mind though that regardless of anything else, SB can not sustain this team at a optimal level acceptable to the league. They were worst in attendance and a playoff team who led the league most of the year and folded due to many injuries. So no way should attendance have been that low. There was zero promotion and the venue is ridiculously inconvenient for anyone traveling from north Jersey or NYC to see a match. It just doesn’t work, and they were given a golden ticket (even if it was a low ball price, do we even know that?) and still declined.

        • necron99

          If it was a low ball price then it was not a golden ticket.
          A team is only worth what the next owner is willing to pay to buy it. However the current owner has the right to ask for the money they want/need to get out of it, and not sell if they don’t get it.

    • Ben

      What a bunch of revisionist history. Weren’t you the one as early as this week going on about RB purchasing SB even when other members on this same board were being skeptical. Now you are claiming you were the one who saw the writing on the wall??

      • NYRick

        Ben, I’m going to have to defend newsouth on this one. He did say several times the last few weeks that the deal was falling apart and that Red Bull was interested but the SB owners were nixing things.

        • Ben

          Well he might have said that but also in most of his post about Press joining the league, he spoke about the RB deal as if it was all but final.

          • NYRick

            I think he mentioned that Press was a key element to Red Bull getting the deal and they wouldn’t do it without her. Who knows?

          • Steglitz49

            The camel?

          • SB fan

            Maybe Press declined to play for Sky Blue and that ended the negotiations – we will apparently find out tomorrow.

          • newsouth

            no, i made it up. i didn’t post in several threads that red bull had made an offer for a majority steak. i also said here is the quiet before the storm which was sbfu pulling out because they didn’t want to give up control of their baby. slicey kind of backed that up with his/her experience with millionaire business men. also i didnt post that red bull had interest in press. it was even reported that press would be a minority part of the deal. why can portland cut a deal which includes morgan but red bull couldn’t go after a hot property in sweden who wasn’t allocated to anyone? i posted this dozens of times but i was making it up. it’s amazing i got it right because i was making it up or i researched. pick a venom.

          • that one douchebag

            Just like when you said Press would be top 3 in POY this year.

            Oh. Wait.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear!

            Where will we see ms Press? In DC or Chicago?

            Let’s get Toyota or Honda on the case, even Subaru.

        • Steglitz49

          The owner does not have to sell unless s/he wants to. If Red Bull had offered enough, the deal would have been sealed. Capitalism at work in the National Workers Socialist League.

          • NYRick

            And you know this how? How about we hear the financial details or the why for the decline before we make conclusions.

            Did you ever think that these SB guys are pretty wealthy too, and just didn’t want to relinquish their toy? Maybe they have a 9-year old grand daughter who plays on her youth team and loves the idea that granddad owns a women’s soccer team. It could be something as ridiculous as that. Point is, the way this league is set up, small maverick owners can derail the greater good of the league at any time. You’re a smart guy who follows the sport, can’t you see that’s just what happened? This was as major a blow to the future of the league as you can possibly get.

            The SB owners are nothing but total buffoons.

          • Steglitz49

            That is their right in a democracy.

            I know that NJ is Soprano country but we fought a bloody war to get rid of one tyrant. More tyrants have arisen but we try to check and preferably get rid of them.

            They risked capital when the NWSL was just a twinkle in people’s eyes. Had Japan won at Wembley, it would have been money down the drain.

            Buy SB yourself and put Ms Press there if it is your yen! Either pay up or shut up!!

          • NYRick

            Now we’re getting into tyrants and bloody wars? Sports and politics don’t mix. No place for it ever.

            If you want to talk democracy and capitalism, well then SB just lost my business. I’m free to choose as well.

          • Steglitz49

            Ask the head coach of Potsdam about sports and politics. He will keep you right.

          • Lorehead

            So, an unfettered free market when it comes to making the owners do something they don’t want to, but socialism when it comes to handing them a bag full of subsidies or letting the players have free agency or competition through promotion and relegation?

          • Steglitz49

            Two women’s pro-league have failed in the US. The NWSL is exploring a different way of financing the venture. A major purpose of the league is to help the US win the next world cup (and, preferably, also the OG again).

            Judging by Europe and Japan, women’s pro-soccer is an artificial activity because it does not pay for itself. Quite a lot of money underpins it. The clubs only differ in who picks up the tab and settles the debts at the end of each season.

            There is a free market in Europe but it is obviosu who are becoming the top dogs and who are the also-rans. Each season there is the odd exception but overall money talks in a way it did not 5 years or so ago.

          • Lorehead

            Right. So the owners aren’t putting up the money, but apparently they get to call the shots?

  • NYRick

    I don’t know how SB survives this as a franchise. As a fan and someone who went to some games last year in a venue that has not been supported by the fan base, and is really inconvenient, I’m really ticked. And I’m sure I’m not the only SB fan.

    More than that, this is an obvious big blow to the NWSL. It’s a shame and very disappointing. At the very least, RB arena is one of the finest soccer specific stadiums in the country and just that alone would have helped boost the league and even drawn Euro players to the US in the future. Plus, the solid NYC base is now lost for the league. Wow. Just wow. They are going to be lucky to get 1,000 people at their matches this year.

  • NYRick

    Quick prediction: This thread may reach 500 comments. This news is that big.

    • newsouth

      Can’t say I’m personally happy about this as a fan. I had no problem with the deal if Red Bull had modified the team to fit with their brand. That would have been even cooler. This is a HORRIBLE deal and blow for the league. You dont get multi-billion dollar corporation with their football ties knocking at your door. And they have the stadiums around the world to match up a NWSL champ to do a tour in Germany against Frankfurt or even go down to brasil for a mini-tournament , etc. Even Aust would be on their radar. I bet Sermanni could find the visa for that. wow, not believing this!

      • Steglitz49

        Red Bull could have bought the whole NWSL. It can’t be worth that much with a salary cap of $200k.

        The NWSL cannot be bothered to send a team to the MobCast cup. Portland are not exactly short of money and could have done an NWSL champs tour of their own bat. They could have offered to go to Germany and play Wolfsburg.

  • Steglitz49

    If there was relegation and promotion from the NWSL, then Red Bull could buy a team in a lower division and put in money and it will get promoted. Tyresö was only promoted a few years ago, as was Vittsjö.

    The alternative would be to do like Man City in England. They agreed to take under its wings a ladies’ team that called itself Man City and played in light blue. As a quid pro quo they got direct entry into the expanded FAWSL at the expense of the glorious Doncaster Rovers. Thus, Red Bull can go and take care of a little ladies team, call it Red Bull Ladies and ask the NWSL that it replace SBFC.

    Such team could be in Texas, California or Alaska. Then Victoria Secrets can do likewise in Ohio.

    • Silver Frost

      I’m just waiting for Toyota to support a women’s team in Columbus, OH. It’s a college town with a legendary soccer stadium.

      • Steglitz49

        Not a bad idea. Toyota’s Secret, revealed?

        Toyota support the Nadeshiko league, so there is a precedent. I am not sure how or by how much and they no doubt support the men (even more). I seem to remember that Toyota have a big plant in Kentucky also.

        The first match could be an invitation event against Wolfsburg, a wholly owned subsidiary of VW where the CEO of VW is the chairman of the club.

        • Silver Frost

          Toyota could bankroll a ladies team for ten years in a purpose-built stadium even with zero attendance, in any state that had a plant:

          1.) Tupelo, MS

          2.) Georgetown, KY

          3.) Lafayette, IN

          4.) San Antonio, TX

          5.) Hunstville, AL

          • TsovLoj

            Given the Scorpions and the nearby interest from Houston, San Antonio might not actually be a bad spot…

    • TsovLoj

      This. If Sky Blue won’t let them buy in and they’re this interested, they may just see if the NWSL will let them start their own team. If you were the NWSL leadership, would you be willing to say no to that kind of money and investment for the sake of a team drawing <1000 a game?

      • Steglitz49

        51% is controlling interest. The current owners would be liable for half but Red Bull would call the shots. Maybe the owners concluded that they might as well own the lot and pay for all. Hopefully we will soon learn more facts.

  • nwslfan

    if league bylaws are not in place to allow for a strong response against owners who make decisions that do not benefit the league, will the league owners promptly meet, amend the league bylaw to allow for sanctions when owners do the right thing for the league? how will USSF deal with maverick team owners if owners do not make decisions that benefit the leauge? Will USSF pull allocated players if certain standards are not met by a team? allocations is real leverage… in previous league, we saw what happened with a crazy owner and it was all bad. Here, what the owners of FCSB have done is not Magic Dan crazy level stuff, but it does appear to be is a stubborn, self-oriented decision that stunts the growth of the league.

    • Silver Frost

      On the other hand, corporate powers like to push little guys out of the way, and make insulting offers, expecting the opposite party to bend a knee and be grateful.

      • NYRick

        In some cases, it’s necessary. As you ascend to any higher level of business you have to be prepared to play with the big boys or big girls. If you are not, they stay in your small pool. This league is supposed to be the highest level of competition in the US for women’s soccer. There are other lower level leagues these owners could still own a team in. This move stunts the growth of the league, whether it’s pushing little guys out of the way or not.

        • Steglitz49

          Theft is theft, whatever fine words you emply. If the owner of a house does not want to sell, that is her or his right. If the majority of the shareholders do not want to accept a take-over offer that is their right.

          It may not be the best option but the owners believe that it is best, and that is what counts.

          Do you want to live in a lawless land? A land where contracts are not honored? Freedom, not tyranny, please.

          • NYRick

            Once again, why do you call it theft? In an open economy it is the law of general business. If I make a widget and it’s pretty average and gains some market share but nothing special. And a well financed company comes in with the resources to make my widget something special and buys me out to do so, how is that theft?

            The SB product was mediocre and losing money. Red Bull threw them a life jacket and they instead preferred to drown on principle and stubbornness. That’s how I see it.

          • necron99

            It is theft because you keep describing the NWSL forcing them to sell. If they chose not to sell, and are forced, it is theft. Sky Blue doesn’t believe that it needs a lifejack. As we have seen many times in business and many times in Women’s Professional Soccer around the world if their product remains mediocre they will fail. It is their business to chose to do so. Perhaps the product improves. Or perhaps next year they beg RedBull to buy them out for half of the offer they made this year. We shall see. But being forced is theft.

        • necron99

          Letting the big boys force you to sell your property for whatever price they chose is not playing with the big boys. It is getting run over because you aren’t smart enough to play with them.

          • NYRick

            Actually, until the real details come out as to what nixed the deal, all any of us are doing is speculating anyway.

            I just see it as a blow to the league, that’s all. Nothing to do with being an SB fan, nothing to do with wanting Press to play in NJ (although as a fan I certainly would want these things).

    • newsouth

      NWSL is still a punch of independent franchises like the WPS. The only difference is a budget and a directory provided by USSoccer and some feds covering the pocket breaking salaries.

    • NYRick

      Excellent post and right on the money.

    • Ben

      Be careful what you wish for. These teams are individual entities and US Soccer should have no right to tell them how to operate their business if it does not directly affect the CBA or league by-laws. Just because we are fans think that SBFC made a shitty decision doesn’t mean we should overreact and want the league to intervene. What happens if it is the other way around where the league is making invasive decisions that is not popular

      • NYRick

        Fair point. But with a league still having yet to cross the 3-year mark, and having two past failures, you have to take some corporate risks when big players step to the table.

        • Ben

          As you mentioned below, if RB is really interested, then they can maybe purchase another minor league team in the Jersey area. Quite frankly, this whole deal gives me SOL/AEG flashback. Yes I know RB is a footballing brand but something just does not seem right. From all intents and purposes, there is no way SB should have passed up on this offer so something can not be right. I mean SB was a member for WPS for three years and I don’t think they made any money. They were also not profitable last year so for them to pass up this opportunity means something was not right.

          • NYRick

            I agree with you. Something is not right about it all. It really makes no sense for either party to pass. We need more of the “ugly details” to fully ascertain.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            Agreed. There’s still some room for SBFC to come out of this without being the bad guy, however, I would be shocked if there was another offer waiting in the wings and that’s why they declined this one. But that’s one of the few scenarios I can imagine that would make this decision not completely horrible.

            Even if the offer was thought to be low, it’s not a complete buyout, so that doesn’t matter so much. If SBFC was able to keep a portion of future profitss, this is practically a guarantee that there WOULD be future profit, with all that Red Bull would put into making the team a success. In fact, I would expect any cash offer to be low because you’re also getting rebranding, relocation, and lots of “upgrades” that add to the compensation.

          • necron99

            Actually without majority ownership for the current owners it would be easy for RedBull to never have any “profits”. All of those upgrades you suggest have a cost, Red Bull isn’t just going to do them without accounting for them. Even if the team pulled in 13k fans every game, Red Bull can charge full price for the stadium rental, the marketing, the web streaming, the cost of training facility usage, etc. That can easily turn any profit on the Women’s team into a loss. The loss could be minimal and easy for Red Bull the corporation can easily absorb it, but the current owners would see no future profits. They could not be guaranteed to see any money beyond the cash for selling the partial stake, and they would have no control over what the team chose to do. In fact as 49% owners they would be financially responsible for 49% of the costs unless the contract specifically stated otherwise. Just look at the account around how AEG ran the LA Sol. AEG charged itself tons of money related to LA Sol and reported it as a loss. It helped balance out the profits of it’s other businesses and teams.

          • Lorehead

            Businesspeople tend to handle this by asking for a share of the gross revenue instead of the net, and independent accounting.

          • necron99

            That is surely one way to solve the problem. Perhaps that is what Hofstetter asked for and Red Bull didn’t want to agree to. Maybe it wasn’t purely the selling price. We do not know. I don’t agree with calling people buffoons (not your words but others) when we don’t know how reasonable Hofstetter or Red Bull were.

          • Lorehead

            Perhaps. We don’t know.

          • Steglitz49

            “If SBFC was able to keep a portion of future profits” — I live in hope that ladies’ football teams will become profitable. The reality is that they lose money. They survive on subsidies from either their fans, rich private individuals and/or corporations including wealthy men’s teams.

          • Steglitz49

            Red Bull is a Formula 1 motor-racing brand and a winter sports brand. I never think soccer when I see the Red Bull logo. Maybe I should but I do not.

        • D23

          Sure. But you can’t exactly attract investors of any type if the rug can simply be pulled from under them by the League or USSF. I get that this sucks. I wish it had gone the other way too. But you can’t be too short-sighted in your response. Some of these issues are bigger than SBFC and Red Bull. At the end of the day the owners of SBFC stepped up when the league was created. Red Bull did not. Like it or not that gives them some entitlements.

          • NYRick

            I agree in principle to what you are saying. And I don’t plan any protests outside the SB offices. It is their business and they are free to chose what to do with it. However, as a paying consumer, I’m done with them. That’s all. And that’s perfectly within my right just as much as was their right to decline an offer that as a fan I felt was more advantageous to me as a consumer.

          • necron99

            I fully agree with your right to protest Sky Blue’s decision buy not supporting them financially and buying tickes. Fair play to you. You could also write the owner or call the team offices to express your opinion.

        • Elaine

          The league has to be careful here to not get too heavily involved with the decisions of team owners. Remember that last fiasco with MagicJack’s owner Barislow. His lawsuit against the league was what brought down the WPS.

          • NYRick

            I think you are probably correct here. The NWSL was probably fearful of some type of lawsuit if they strong-armed SB too much on the deal. However, it just proves to me that the league will continue to waddle in quicksand and maybe even closure like the first two, as long as maverick owners are allowed to act in their best interests, and not in the best interests of the sport.

            They all hide under the guise of “well, I put up my money when no one else did etc.” They are technically right, but they still hold the league hostage. The current SB product was the worst drawing franchise in a heavily populated area. And an area that has also produced 6 current NT players, many of them stars, in the player pool. SB is doing something wrong, and they can’t accept the truth or assistance. Or maybe the writing on the wall that they are in over their head in this particular league that badly needs a strong based NY/NJ franchise to help it’s survival. It’s just really frustrating, that’s all.

          • necron99

            Remember this happens in every league. The owner of the LA Clippers turns a profit every season. He would never pay big contracts and hence not attract the very best players. The team had losing seasons every year. He would get lottery draft players and lose them when new contract time came around. But even with losing he sold inexpensive tickets and enough of them to make money. Not exactly the best thing for the league.
            I get your frustration. But refusing to sell your team one year after you helped form the league is hardly holding it hostage.

          • Lorehead

            Right. And that’s not good for the league. Chivas USA is even worse. The league should therefore avoid getting into a situation like that, where it’s stuck subsidizing a team that it has no way to get rid of and the power to veto change that threatens it.

          • necron99

            That is exactly how franchise businesses run. There are usually bylaws that cover what types of actions a franchisee can’t do. If a franchisee violates those agreements they can often be stripped of their franchise. (In this case they could not take the Sky Blue team away but they could prevent them from playing in NWSL). However I do not think refusing to sell your team to who we tell you to is a violation of the bylaws. Nobody would invest in a franchise with a rule like that.

      • necron99

        A good example would be if the USSF/NWSL decided that Red Bull needed more help in drawing fans because of the unique challenges of their demographics and geography. What if they NWSL decided to reallocate Alex Morgan, Christen Press, and Megan Rapinoe to Sky Blue next year to help pack the stands. Surely Portland could handle the loss of Morgan because they have Christine Sinclair with her star power and UP ties. Portland also has a strong MLS organization backing them and the best soccer city in the USA supporting them. Would everyone be happy with USSF just deciding that was the best thing for the league in 2013?
        PS – I am sure you would be fine with it NYRick as a Press fan and local to Sky Blue.

    • Lorehead

      The USSF and its league have certainly been very willing to ride roughshod over the autonomy and income of its players.

      • D23

        Yes, but that’s because USSF control NT roster spots. No such leverage over club owners.

        • Lorehead

          The USSF doesn’t have to run the league for their benefit. and it certainly doesn’t have to agree never to kick any owner out of their club once he’s in. If the owners of the team in the biggest market of the country don’t want to sell their team because they like being in control, never mind profitability or the good of the sport, that’s their prerogative. But neither does the USSF have to hand them a bag of money to cover their losses.

          • D23

            It hardly appears that there is a massive queue of investors waiting to get involved in women’s pro soccer in the US particularly with its history of failure. The clubs are hardly the most profitable entities and will probably lose money in the short to medium term. Some may never be profitable. USSF are not being altruistic to clubs out of the goodness of their hearts. They defer because they have too. Without them their won’t be a pro league and they have concluded the viability of the NT program is dependent on there being one. Right now the clubs don’t even have control over who the top players in their roster are or how long they play for them. USSF is subsidising the salaries of only three players. The clubs themselves are picking up most of the rest of the tab (other than the salaries of the international allocations). They can’t afford to entirely alienate owners who get so little bang for their buck; both current and potential.

          • Lorehead

            But right now, there was another owner willing to come in. Only, SBFC’s current ownership was given a veto. And the current crop of owners mostly were willing to operate their teams at a loss for several years running.

          • D23

            That’s true. It’s what is so ironic about this situation. But when you create franchise agreements with owners who are willing to stake out substantial sums of money for little or no financial reward you can’t just usurp their decisions. I am not sure I would characterise it as being given a veto: they OWN Sky Blue. This is the model USSF created. I regret that this has happened too. I think is a huge missed opportunity. But USSF don’t own the clubs. It can’t simply act as if they do unless there are provisions in the franchise agreement that grant them these kinds of powers. And would you invest in a soccer club if you had no control over whether it could be sold out from under you against your wishes?

          • Lorehead

            The alternative would not have been to sell out someone else’s club from under them, but to tell Red Bull, “We’d rather have your team in the league than theirs.” Failing that, to tell Sky Blue, “If you don’t care about the money, that’s great; guess you won’t be needing subsidies.”

            Why do billionaire owners get to be as egotistical as they like, while the USSF has to altruistically hand over money to them? If the current owners would stay in the game without subsidies, why not do that? If Sky Blue’s owners would fold the team without the USSF’s money, why are they so irreplaceable?

          • D23

            But is that a genuine alternative? These are contractual agreements we are talking about. The owners have legal rights and I strongly suspect the agreements they have with USSF contain guarantees about what USSF provides financially and otherwise. This is business. You can’t pretend stuff like this just doesn’t matter. I suspect that USSF can’t just simply cut off SBFC prior to the expiration of the agreement they made unless a provision exists that allows them this power. If Red Bull really want a team then they should work with US Soccer to create one. The reality is they came at this late and want to buy an existing franchise. That means you don’t get to dictate all terms and the current owners have legal rights. Running roughshod over them is not a realistic option. As has been noted here by another poster; when that was tried with MagicJack he shut down the league.

          • Lorehead

            I don’t know what the terms of the contract are, but take a step back. If there is a legally-binding arrangement that the owners get to run their clubs any way they want, and the USSF just has to keep handing them money to do it, then is that how things should be? If they were the ones paying all the bills, I could see why everyone just would have to keep them happy, but first, that’s not the case, and second, anyone with deep pockets could replace them.

          • D23

            It’s not anyway they want. It’s according to the terms of the agreement both parties have agreed too. I would be very surprised if they contained a provision that allows a forced buy out against the owners wishes. Presumably these agreements have an end date or provisions that provide for the termination of the agreement in particular circumstances. There is no indication that SBFC have run their club in a way inconsistent with the agreement. If USSF decides to act inconsistently with the agreement just because it is not happy with a decision the owners are legally entitled to make then they are setting themselves up to be sued or served with an injunction that prevents the league from running. When the agreement expires or if it is violated then things can be re-evaluated. Yes, it may be too late. But this has to be viewed realistically; not idealistically.

          • Lorehead

            I was not even suggesting a forced buy-out.

            But assume for the moment (I don’t believe we actually know what the contract says) that the deal is: OK, you care more about staying in control than about money, but here’s some money to keep you in business anyway. Once you’re in the club, you don’t need to worry about competition ever again: you can’t be kicked out, there’s no relegation, and you get a veto on who else gets to join. Oh, and we’ll even twist the arms of our national-team players so they have no bargaining power at all and have to play for you.

            Why is this arrangement justifiable? It can’t be because the USSF needs the current owners, because there was a more desirable owner who wanted to come in. Who, other than the incumbent owners, benefits from it?

          • NYRick

            Great post. Well said.

          • D23

            I would think the agreement doesn’t exist into perpetuity, but that the current circumstances are not enough to bring it to an end. I suspect there is a 2015 end date as USSF have only guaranteed their involvement up until that point. This issue is not about SBFC preventing another team from joining the competition through a veto; it’s about the current owners of SBFC refusing a take over offer by Red Bull. And if you have ever read any of my other posts about the control USSF has over their players you would know I have very real ethical issues with it. But in my opinion that is not a legal issue as players have no legal entitlement to NT selection. Club owners have legal rights to the fulfilment of an agreement they entered into with USSF. In terms of the justifiability of this agreement; yes that’s a live issue. But consider if this proposition is attractive; come partner with us to create a soccer league where it has recently failed twice, spend substantial amounts of money with no guarantee you will ever make a profit .. oh and if we get what WE consider to be a better offer for the entity you helped create, irrespective of whether or not you do, we can sell it out from under you or otherwise stop giving you what we have agreed to in our partnership. Is that going to attract investors?

          • NYRick

            I agree with a lot of what you are saying here. However in regard to “is that going to attract investors,” look what has happened when they literally have a whale in the room wanting to play?

            I think much of what Lorehead has said in this thread deals with the duality of having it both ways: we’ll take your subsidized NT players (who would much rather probably play in Portland but are forced to come to our team), we certainly don’t mind that even though that’s a socialist measure. But in turn don’t dare infringe any roadblocks to our existence such as outside competition, a more well financed suitor etc. (democratic and capitalistic).

          • Lorehead

            Something like that. If they were the ones paying the piper, then they would get to call the tune, but the USSF is paying them.

          • D23

            You are right. The current position of having to reject Red Bull is bad; potentially disastrous. But much of this argument is hypothetical. That’s what I am saying. I personally think the interference with player autonomy is really wrong. But this is the system USSF, for good or bad, created. They agreed to partner with SBFC. They accepted their money and entered into an agreement with them; pretending that they haven’t and that there aren’t consequences, legal or otherwise, of this doesn’t solve anything.

          • Lorehead

            Please drop this “sell it out from under you” strawman, all right? No one is proposing that.

            I have no idea what the contract says. If it does say what you’re assuming, it’s a bad contract. And frankly, I think that the fact the team has never made a profit, is still operating anyway, and just turned down a buyout demonstrates that a threat to shut down if the money wasn’t good enough wasn’t credible.

            I can see the argument that there’s social value in having a women’s pro soccer club in the NJ area, but what’s the social value in preserving Thomas Hofstetter’s control of it?

          • D23

            I disagree that the selling out is a ‘straw man’. According to the article Red Bull put forward an offer to buy a controlling interest in SBFC. All that has happened is that SBFC refused this. What is it you are suggesting USSF should do? I understood you were proposing they act in a way that makes SBFC go through with the sale. Please correct me if I am wrong and indicate what it is you propose. Acting in a way that severs the current owners control of SBFC and entering into an agreement with Red Bull for this very franchise (that is what they want, they want Sky Blue) is effectively selling it out from under them. Actually it’s worse because if they don’t sell it then they get no value for the club which they currently own. You can’t just end a legal agreement with someone other than in accordance with the terms of the agreement. What do you want USSF to do?

          • Lorehead

            I can’t answer that without knowing the terms of their legal agreement. If there is no way for the USSF to add a team to the league without Sky Blue’s permission, or to retaliate in any way, that’s a great deal for Sky Blue and a terrible one for the USSF.

          • D23

            This is not about SBFC refusing permission to add a new team to the league at all. They simply refused an offer from Red Bull to purchase controlling interest in the team they currently own.

          • Lorehead

            Then one possible solution might be to ask Red Bull, “Would you be interested in an expansion team?” I do not know what the USSF’s legal options are, and that really isn’t the point I wanted to make.

            Putting aside for the moment the issue of what, legally and practically, the USSF can do about the owner’s decision, I object that what’s going on is not socially responsible. Especially if the USSF is going to force its players to give up the money and free agency they could have in Europe and play for these owners, the owners themselves have to recognize that this arrangement is not for their personal benefit, but for the sake of the sport.

          • necron99

            Please remember that Sky Blue existed in WPS without any subsidies from USSF. I don’t forsee them closing shop if they didn’t get them now. I am sure that the allocations are part of the franchise agreement though. If USSF didn’t subsidize the players would they also not let NT players play for Sky Blue? I think that ends in the courtroom as well.

          • Lorehead

            And even WPSL Elite.

          • necron99

            Actually Sky Blue didn’t play in WPSL-Elite in 2012, they sat out. Hofstetter did work with the USSF to try and get a Pro league up and running though

          • Lorehead

            Excuse me; my mistake. There was a different team in New York.

          • necron99

            No biggie. Yeh the New York team with the New York Fury headed by Paul Riley former coach of the Philly Independence, who is also a long time WoSo coach of all ages in New York. Many big name players came up through his teams.

          • Lorehead

            Please stop talking about selling the club out from under them against their wishes. That is not what anyone else said.

          • J.

            ussf is paying for administrative and operational costs, front office, marketing campaigns, and website expenses.

          • D23

            Is that true? Do clubs really not pay any of their marketing budget? Why are the qualities of the streams so different? Why are people complaining about the current owners lack of marketing of SBFC is this is co-ordinated by the league? Why were the travelling arrangements of different clubs to and from games different? I get that USSF is putting money in. But, in my opinion, the owners of the clubs are forking out substantial money to make the league happen. USSF needs partnerships with owners to make the league happen. Especially since it has stated it is only supporting the league until 2015. Sending a signal that owners rights are entirely irrelevant is not, in my opinion, going to encourage long term investment in the league.

          • Elaine

            USSF is only paying costs of front office of NWSL, i.e. Bailey’s salary and such, and marketing/websites pertaining to NWSL. The teams themselves have to pay for their own offices, venues, personnel, advertisements, etc.

          • Lorehead

            The USSF is also paying the salaries of about three players on every team; the other national federations of about four more.

          • Elaine

            That’s true too.

    • necron99

      Do you really think the league owners (all wealthy well educated business people) will meet and vote to take away their own rights as owners? That is insanity. In fact it would only serve to lower the value of their business. Who would willingly buy a business that could be forcibly taken from you at any time. Ridiculous.

      • Lorehead

        Stop pretending that that’s what anyone else said, all right?

        • Ben

          But that what it amounts to isn’t it. The phrase “best interest of the league” is so vague and could mean anything. Who then decides what is in the best interest of the league and what mechanisms will be put in place to protect the owners?

          • Lorehead

            No. Now stop.

          • Ben

            Since you ask nicely and everything…

          • Lorehead

            Well, I did say please the first three or so times. But I’ll drop it now; everybody knows what I think.

        • necron99

          That is exactly what nwslfan said in the post that I responded to. Please read their post again if you do not understand what they were proposing.

          • Lorehead

            He or she doesn’t appear to say that in the post above. If he or she did say that elsewhere, then I agree that that would be unworkable.

          • Ben

            Ofcourse it is not going to me in the exact words but the scenario he/she describe basically is proposing that the league can at anytime change the rules to ban “maverick” owners. How is that not pulling the rug from under someone? Firstly, unless an owner clearly violates an agreed upon contract, USSF have to right to expel them for any reason. It is their team, if they don’t want to sell you can’t force them to

          • Lorehead

            Earlier in this thread, you made the point that the USSF can replace any player it chooses on the National Team at any time for any reason, and she doesn’t get to complain about it.

            So why—for example—would that not apply to replacing a team in its league? And isn’t it equally the USSF’s prerogative to decide to stop subsidizing a team? Now, if the USSF did sign a one-sided contract that said it’s stuck with these teams and whoever owns them in the future forever, and can’t even threaten to stop paying them, that would be a terrible deal for everyone but the owners.

          • nwslfan

            Hi guys, I posed some questions. I doubt when the league was thrown together that they planned for every contingency. I don’t know if the current by-laws permit strong responses against owners. of course the standards in the post are vague, its a post on a chat forum. even if language was carefully crafted for a binding document, a clause regarding a strong response against a team will need interpretation and it takes a certain amount of trust be placed in the hands of a league exec to exercise appropriate discretion. as such, I doubt the league owners will rush to amend their league by-laws to vest powers in Cheryl Bailey. However, for a league to have a certain level of quality, some standards need be met. otherwise it is just a loose confederation teams who get access to certain players from the USSF. I AM sure that pro leagues such as football and baseball have such standards and the league has been vested w the power to respond against teams when standards are not met via binding language in their league by-laws.

          • necron99

            Let me quote the very first sentence of the post that I responded to “if league bylaws are not in place to allow for a strong response against owners who make decisions that do not benefit the league, will the league owners promptly meet, amend the league bylaw to allow for sanctions when owners do the right thing for the league?”
            How does that not match what I said. I was pointing out the true ramifications of what was being suggested.

          • Lorehead

            That doesn’t propose forcing Thomas Hofstetter to sell.

          • Ben

            I ask this question again, what do you think the poster meant then if not to sell? What kind of sanction do you think is appropriate when they have done nothing wrong?

          • Lorehead

            NWSLfan didn’t specify. I gave two or three examples of what I meant.

  • AshleyWB

    Jeff,

    Could you explain what you believe are the “ugly details” in this story? As far as I can tell, there are virtually no details at all beyond Red Bull offering to buy a controlling stake in the team and Sky Blue turning their offer down. I’m unclear what is “ugly” about that. For all anyone knows, the offer was rejected because RBNY low-balled their offer or had a clause requiring each SBFC player to shotgun three Red Bulls during play.

    This may not have been the result you wanted, but silly speculation belongs (and is guaranteed in) the comment thread.

    • NYRick

      I like the shotgunning 3 Red Bulls during a match. :–)

  • GeeOPee

    A deal with another MSL team is what the NWSL needs. Sky Blue could have been playing in Red Bull Stadium. I can’t believe how short-sided the owners of Sky Blue are. I hope the Red Bulls get an expansion team in the future.

  • NYRick

    My main question is this: if Red Bull is this interested, why not give them a new team? Why do they have to purchase SB? If SB wants to retain their meager existence let them stay on another year before folding. They can draw their 1,000 or so from S. Jersey and a Philly base. Or make them a Philly based team anyway.

    It seems extremely irresponsible of the league to have a powerhouse like Red Bull interested in having a team, having a supreme venue to showcase the league to boot, and then not do everything to make that happen. Including explaining Economics 101 to a small minded owner who can’t accept the fact that his product doesn’t cut it at this level.

    • Ben

      One of the draw for RB obviously was the team will play in RB stadium which greatly reduces cost and other operating logistics. Having a Philly team won’t be the same

      • TsovLoj

        I think he means RB Women plays in RBA and Sky Blue survives on Philly and south Jersey.

    • nwslfan

      I totally agree w sentiment, but it is a nuclear option. If USSF gives RB a team, (agree w Ben the team location would need to be north NJ to use the RB facilities), then USSF is totally screwing an owner. the transgression by the owner needs to fit the sanction, AND should have some advance notice they need big boy/girl pants before committing money and effort to the business venture… otherwise future team owners are frightened away from league by USSF.

      • NYRick

        I don’t know, but I grew up in an area where we had 3 professional hockey teams in literally a 50 mile radius. Every major professional sport has on average two NY professional teams. This idea that an independent RB franchise in north jersey/NYC and a SB franchise in S. Jersey/Philly can’t work because of a territorial infringement is absurd. Look at Sea/Port. Those cities are closer and it works. Rivalries are born out of close proximity.

        A RB franchise in north jersey utilizing the RB arena and facilities would not be screwing an existing SB team in Jersey. It’s just business and only the strong survive, or they both survive. The NJ Devils had enormous problems competing with the decades imbedded north Jersey base of Rangers fans. Early Devils games were filled in their home arena with 85% Rangers fans cheering against them. How did they beat that? By becoming a great and winning franchise due to smart ownership and administration. SB does not seem to be exercising that, and now they are using their leverage as being an “original” to hang on.

        This is really simple business. For any business and any industry really. A better product or offering will always replace a stagnant or inferior product. Or at the very least, people will give the new and sexy a chance and try. But right now, the public is not getting that try after being teased for months.

        • nwslfan

          good points. I would be delighted if they brought a club back to Philly.

        • nwslfan

          Princeton has a field, if SB needs to stay in jersey for its owners and players…

          • Rufan

            Not a very big field and limited parking. And further from Tom H.’s business offices. Rutgers is close to highways and plenty of parking. Rutgers cut its game day price to $4K for SB in ’13.

  • Westchestersoccerfan

    Something needs to develop on the venue front. Because as nice as the field was at Rutgers. It’s location blows. Coming from anywhere that is not NJ Rutgers is almost inaccessible from NYC or Westchester/Fairfield

    • NYRick

      The Queen Mary just sailed in and was docked at port regarding the venue. Unfortunately, it just sailed away to sea. This franchise is screwed. This is a colossal blow to the sport and the league. Some of it has to fall upon a weakling like Gulati (why is he still here?) and the USSF for not exercising a stronger hand in an issue that was this important to the growth and sustainability to the league. And if anyone if going to say, “Well, what was he or the USSF supposed to do?”, then I’m going to tell you that Leroux was just “traded” for Mewis.

      There is really nothing that will happen in women’s soccer for the next year that was this important and this influential. A total shame to be held hostage by another maverick owner.

      • newsouth

        i like how some people are comparing red bull to aeg. the problem is, red bull is expanding its’ football properties around the world while aeg was dumping them and moving to concerts and sport building management. if red bull can cut a deal for a club in cut throat brazil, then they are the real deal. brazilians aren’t letting you out the room unless they get a favorable. it’s amazing how red bull sets up shop in other countries, and no one complains about dealing with them but a deals falls through the floor when it comes to women’s pro soccer in the usa. haven’t we heard this before? is it red bull or women’s soccer failing again?

        • newsouth

          the only other big deal out there is the toronto communications group and they don’t even seem interested.

          • clioamare

            Really? Wow!

            I still am waiting for Sky Blue FC’s announcement…They would need to respond to the late night article yesterday about breakdown in Sky Blue-Red Bulls deal.

          • NYRick

            In all honesty, you need an announcement or a press conference from the president of the NWSL explaining this to the fanbase. A little damage control is in order here. I often wonder how these people ascend to these positions. There is business acumen to adhere to here. This was an enormous blow to the league and an explanation is in order or else there will be a serious backlash against one of the their 8 franchises.

          • clioamare

            I agree! It would be nice to hear from NWSL Commissioner Cheryl Bailey. As that article stated, USSF president Gulati supported this venture. Red Bulls org were for this. Now the deal is not here. What happened?

          • Steglitz49

            The owners did not think that the offer was good enough.

          • Elaine

            Conference call tomorrow with SkyBlue, 10amET. Hope more details will come out about this failed deal. Or perhaps a surprise signing!

        • Steglitz49

          Are they expanding male or female football properties?

      • http://www.phasedma.com Anthony

        Wait. What? Because someone doesn’t want to lose controlling interest in the team they built it makes them a team held hostage? Hell no.

        This team isn’t going anywhere. Sky Blue has made it quite clear they are prepared to take the financial pains, and this move only makes that even more clear.

        It isn’t the job of Sky Blue to do what is best for the league if that jeopardizes the entire team structure. If Red Bull wanted into this league they started 4 years late. It’s complete BS if they think they can waltz in, wave a big check and avoid 90% of the risk.

        I’m sure the ownership group would be willing to make a fair deal, but I’m sure that would include maintaining a controlling interest in the team, and it’s not a lot to ask for – I’m sure the buyout price could even be drastically lowered.

        But Red Bull wants everything for what might as well be free as far as they are concerned – Both risk and financially speaking.

        While I’m sure that Red Bull is committed to the sport, I have no reason to believe they are committed to the women’s side in the US. If they were they should have jumped on board a long time ago.

        In addition there is a massive country left for Red Bull to create teams. They have zero claim to the NYC area. Using that absurd logic Robert Kraft should own the Boston Breakers.

        MLS support works in Portland, but it is by no means a requirement for success. Especially long term.

    • Rufan

      How is Rutgers “inaccessible” from Westchester or Conn or even NYC. It is close to the Turnpike, Parkway, and Rt 287. Long trip maybe, but not inaccessible.

      • CT

        I can’t speak for CT or Westchester, but neither I nor my 20 to 30-something soccer fan friends in NYC own cars. It’s totally impractical and massively expensive to maintain them in the city. We travel to RBA by train, with minimal time and expense needed. So do huge numbers of Red Bull fans. Getting to Rutgers requires trains plus cab, or car rental, and adds $50-$60 and 4-5 RT travel hours to the equation. We choose to watch the video stream instead, just like we do for non “local” NWSL teams.

        • Rufan

          50K people go to Rutgers football games at the stadium 5 minute walk from the soccer field. So Rutgers is not “inaccessible”, In inconvenient to get to from some places but not impossible. So I don’t believe location is the issue.

          How many fans from NYC would go to club games at RBA?

          Enough to make a difference?

          • Daniel Pecoraro

            PATH is consistently packed for RB matches. I’d imagine a plurality of the people drive to RBA if you’re splitting up NJT (of which I have no experience) and PATH, but between the two services I’d have to think mass transit outweighs automobile in terms of access to RBA.

            As for SBFC, they need to figure out what they want to be from a marketing perspective. Are they a New York club? Are they a club for New Jersey? Are they for just Central Jersey? I don’t know if that’s ever been clear. Transportation/venue-wise they’re definitely a New Jersey club – it would take me well over an hour to get from Penn to Rutgers for matches at a high cost, as opposed to the 30-45 min, $4.50 round trip to RBA. (Hence why I didn’t get to a match last season.) More importantly, at a time when both RBNY and the Cosmos are advertising in New York City and NYCFC quickly on the way, I haven’t seen a damn thing related to SBFC. I’ve seen more Thorns scarves on the street than I have SBFC.

            A purchase by RB would have given them the marketing resources they desperately need and a venue that, while oversized on its own, could have served well for doubleheader matches – not to mention RBNY’s training center in Hanover, academy resources (which could have been merged with SB), &c. SBFC’s decision to go it alone was an awful one. NWSL could use a strong New York club – instead they have whatever this is.

  • Rivers

    SBFC == Chiavs USa

    • clioamare

      Ouch!

    • NYRick

      You’re not being very fair to Chivas.

    • xman22702

      How? Sky Blue is a great team in their league. Chivas are not.

  • JAMES

    Shizzle!

  • Pressured

    Twitter: Sky Blue to make an announcement 10AM Eastern on Thursday…

    • NYRick

      They better see if they could hire Obama’s press secretary to deliver the news, because this is going to call for some major spin.

      • JAMES

        Jay Carney is always clueless when confronted with probing questions.

  • NYRick

    Just an optimistic thought for a second: any chance that with the 10 am Thursday announcement by SB that they have come to their senses: worked out a viable deal with Red Bull…and signed the Swedish scoring machine?

    • Silver Frost

      This crisis is bringing out the roller coaster in emotions. A Sky Blue PR release tomorrow will be underwhelming unless it includes news of Christen, who Tweeted this cryptic line yesterday: “Adventure is what you make it.” She is not in Sweden. Could Christen be in NYC for an important announcement?

    • Pressured

      Follow the equalizer on twitter so see the tweet.
      While you’re dreaming… SB trades Kelly O’Hara to KC for Erica Tymrak and signs Lena Lotzen and Amber Brooks from Bayern, completly solidifying the midfield.
      Meanwhile… Press tweets that “you have to finish one chapter to start the next.”

      • clioamare

        Thorns have right to Brooks, so that won’t work.

      • NYRick

        Replace Loyden for O’Hara and I’m fully on board.

    • that ONE guy

      Swedish scoring machine? I assume you mean Lotta Schelin.

      • NYRick

        No, I’d much rather have the Cali girl who plays in Sweden.

        • newsouth

          LOL!

        • that one douchebag

          If only because she wouldn’t cost the equivalent of the salary cap.

  • Steve

    Do I believe the team would be better with RB? Yes. Red bull are real football people they have the money to spend and aren’t just magicjacks. I fully believe Red Bull would have changed the name, put their effort into this team and average 4-6k attendance a game. But think about it this way. Red Bull has been able to buy out every single owner no matter how historical or valuable the club was. I bet the money they were willing to give Hoffstetter would have allowed him to make a profit from his loses these 5 years. He didn’t give in like those other owners for money. He cares about this team and I believe he will do what he can to make this team better. I don’t know any other WoSo owner ever that would do this to keep there club.

    • NYRick

      You’re not wrong. And your analogy is very sentimental for the owner. However, I was more excited when I was reading 4-6k a match in RB arena as opposed to 1,337 at Rutgers for a given match. I was thinking that instead of Ocampo, I can watch CP in action as our star striker. And even reunite her with her old running mate KO.

      You see Steve. You seem like a nice, decent guy to think this way and you probably are. Nothing wrong with that. But maybe I’ve become jaded to sports and the business of sports, and all I really care about is my satisfaction as a fan. The product on the pitch. I don’t give a flying about good ole Mr. Hoffstetter and “how he cares” for the team. If he cared so much, how about throwing some promotional money into the team and better advertise them to increase attendance. They did zero advertising and promotion for this team last year. That’s not a sweet owner who is so committed in my book. I think fans get a little too weepy and sentimental when it comes to any owners, including the super rich ones. Mr. Hoffstetter is a business man first. Let’s not forget that. The deal was probably not to his financial liking, nothing more.

      Red Bull would have supplied a superior product, venue and better players. That much is pretty clear. And the new name would have been much cooler too.

      • NJ Soccer 1

        You know you contradict yourself over these posts when you saw all you care about is the product on the pitch, but then you proceed to moan and groan about attendance, promotion, venue, etc, correct? As far as product on the pitch goes, if you went to any SB games this year, you clearly would have noticed that the team itself was a good squad. First place most of the year until injuries kicked in the last 6 weeks, which is part of sports of course. The federations handle allocations so not sure what you mean when you say RB would supply better players. And keep in mind, SB does have the best defender in the league in Rampone. Plus in a league with the a hard salary cap, RB can have all the money in the world, but cant go over it. Everyone has the same 200k to balance out their teams after allocations. Its the same problem with Red Bulls mens team. Besides your two DPs in Cahill + Henry, you cant overspend the cap in MLS either, so teams like NY, Portland, Seattle, LA, etc can be as rich as they want but the cap/rules dont change.

        Would the venue be nicer? Yes, but 5k in RBA is only 20 percent of capacity and would look terrible. Plus, talking about names, do you really want your team named after a corporation?

        • newsouth

          do you really want your team named after a corporation? yep, if it’s one like red bull with multiple teams and stadium around the world. no doubt about it. magicjack even grew on me after a while. i could also live with Dell FC, Harpo FC (Opraph) or Oracle FC. It ain’t about the salary, it’s about the reach if they are truly interested in football like Red Bull. RB has been solid in football to date. Now they are suspect after dealing with SBFC. how about looking at the clubs? every version of a women’s pro league has failed because of bad moves across the board. This SB move has the potential to be bad. I think RB gave a fair offer because USSoccer gave the deal their blessing. Do you think if it was a .Yahoo Deal USSoccer with their money and sponsors on the line would ok it. Think about that part for a moment! USSoccer was fine with the deal Red Bull put on the table. But SB owners have a bit of MagicDan in them. Not the bad side, but the desire to have their play toy. I can’t see it any other way. Or is USSoccer full of Yahoos too?

          • NJ Soccer 1

            I’m not even going to get into the ‘US Soccer – Yahoos’ thing because that is really another topic that can be discussed at length… However, in regards to the proposed deal, how do we even know the report is accurate? It could all be here-say and/or fabrications. Just because something was reported, doesn’t mean its true. We may never know the financials/particulars of the proposed deal, but bottom line is just because this deal didnt get done, does not mean its a death sentence for SB or the league. USSF was comfortable enough heading into last year to give SB a franchise, then now with another year under its belt, and this new GM perhaps they will make changes to improve the organization as a whole. Give it time before we judge.

    • http://www.phasedma.com Anthony

      Love the attendance numbers provided. Having a larger population doesn’t automatically provide a larger attendance. On the flip side having a lower population doesn’t mean a lower attendance number.

      Product on the field and area demographics are going to decide these things.

  • Steve

    Best case scenarios tomorrow-
    1. Reports are wrong RB SBFC deal gets done
    2. Christen Press signs
    3. trade up in the draft (hopefully Johnston of Santa Clara to play alongside Rampone at CB)
    4. Another trade involving Jersey players Heath, O’Reilly, etc.

    Worst case scenario-
    1. Hey look at our new jerseys

    • Pressured

      New York Red Mares?

      • Lorehead

        In the imaginary world where the deal happened, I liked Red Belles. Maybe in Atlanta?

        • TsovLoj

          My thoughts as well.

    • NYRick

      Or…Hey, look at our new GM.

    • Lorehead

      Very worst case scenario:

      1. We’re changing our name to the Redskins and playing shirts versus skins from now on.

      • xman22702

        Is that even realistic?

  • clioamare

    Jeff tweeted tonight this tidbit: “Source: Sky Blue announcing new GM and president. So, nothing to do with the Red Bulls deal that isn’t happening.”

    Dan Lauletta also tweeted, “Am told Thursday will be a key day regarding whether Houston gets into #NWSL for 2014.”

    Tomorrow, we’ll hear Sky Blue announcement at 7 am PST/10 am EST.

    • Ben

      Well the Houston stuff is infinitely more interesting than the SB/RB drama even before it fell through. I don’t know how I feel about the league potentially expanding when we have all gotten use to the fact that there will be no expansion. What then becomes of other teams like the recently merged CA franchises that were told to wait for 2015 or beyond?

      • clioamare

        I think CA and CT folks would write strongly worded letters to the league. That’s for sure.

        • Ben

          I’ll give the league this, this off season has been anything but dull. There’s so much going on right now that you the actual soccer might pale in comparison to all this drama

  • Why Always Me

    Clearly this is an elaborate effort on the part of USSoccer and Wambach to undermine Press.

    • NYRick

      Finally. Someone is on to the real underlying story. :–)

    • newsouth

      I think Ella Masar might agree with the Wambach part. Maybe she starts a new blog on it.

      • Why Always Me

        Wow, an Ella Masar blog about Wambach. You should send me your recommended reading list. It all sounds so fascinating.

  • Bill K

    My Daughter and I were excited by the idea of a double ticket NWSL game/NYRB game. Oh well, huge let down…..Go Flash again this year!

  • Gerson22

    Hilarious sentiments: that of COURSE it’s somehow USSF’s fault (even though there would be no league without them) and not yet another case of an egotistic owner who can’t see past his own nose, and that USSF can somehow strip a franchise from its owner without a big freaking lawsuit.

    Some of you are so clueless, so naive, such believers in shadowy forces and ineptitude and so completely unable to grasp that this league and this sport is just a hard, hard sell. You think that the NWSL is justthisclose to being a big deal.

    It’s not. It’s a long way from being a big deal.