Tuesday, August 31, 2010

8/31/2010: Owners Re-Affirm Commitment To Crew, New Stadium

From Street & Smith's Sports Business Daily:

MLS Crew Owner Clark Hunt said that the team "must look at its long-term facility needs," including a "new stadium," according to Jeff Bell of BUSINESS FIRST OF COLUMBUS.

Crew President & GM Mark McCullers said that the 11-year old Crew Stadium "remains an iconic soccer site, but the team needs to look out five to 10 years for its facility needs."

Meanwhile, Hunt said his family is "very committed to the Crew." There have been rumors that the Hunts are "looking to sell the Columbus franchise," but Hunt said that that is "not the case." He did note that "his family is looking for additional local investors to take a minority stake in the club."

Bell notes the Crew's attendance through 11 home games was up "nearly 5 percent from a year earlier." But Hunt said that the team "needs to get better at developing corporate partnerships in the region." Hunt: "We've been going into a headwind the past two or three years because of the difficult economy. We are happy it is starting to improve so we can make up some of that ground"

My thoughts: The mention of needing to become better at developing corporate partnerships is troubling. Because that is a soccer team's lifeline, from my own experience working with soccer clubs, and if you cannot develop those corporate partnerships your club will eventually be in trouble and quite possibly fail. That might be a little on the dramatic side but when I previously worked at Dayton Dutch Lions F.C. it was always "who is going to sponsor us, are they interested in being a sponsor, we need more sponsors."

However, it's good to hear that Clark Hunt is comitted to the team and a new stadium; Possibly he figures that a new stadium will roll in the sponsorship dollars. Something along the lines of you got to spend money to make money.


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