The WPS vigil: Dec. 2 update

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6 Responses to The WPS vigil: Dec. 2 update

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Another intriguing piece, Beau. I haven’t agreed completely with anyone on this topic yet, but that first option with US acting as an exhibition team sounds really solid. It will bring the other unknown players that are excellent players in their own right more into the public’s eye. It may help bridge the gap between USWNT fans and WPS fans. It will pay the USWNT their full pay while owners do not have to put up their tabs. This seems like a WIN-WIN-WIN (USWNT, non national WPS players, Owners).

    This is by far the best idea I have heard…Are there any problems I am missing here?

  2. KT says:

    The return of Team America! Awesome.

    Thing is, the US Women in a league setting would be very likely to be a Cleveland Browns in the AAFC situation (Google it, kids). Might not be very compelling.

    And we’ve seen how crowds for the US women spike right around the times of major tournaments and then drop back off. I don’t know that barnstorming through the league 20 times (no home games?) wouldn’t wear off even more quickly than that.

  3. Gerald Barnhart says:

    I think Peter’s thoughts and proposals are quite good. I think part of the problem has been with women’s soccer is that they designed the two leagues with what they thought the top should look like and operate at that level from Day One instead of building a plan to move upward. By doing so, every shortfall is more damaging, especially with public perception which guides ticket sales and affinity. If they would have set those as goals and then examined a lower level of all those goals for which they could start at, then it would have been easier to make/find successes, creating positive public perception that would drive more expansion and sponsorship interest in a cycle that would allow them to grow. (The players would always have been there regardless of the salaries – they talk about Europe, but they don’t all end up going – and that’s what the fans cared about in the first place; not all the other stuff. MLS was in the opposite situation of needing the atmosphere to make up for not being world’s best league)

    At this point, I do think ‘dissolving’ the league as it is now – particularly if Borislow does win his case – may be the best move for a single season. The key is that all the teams must continue in a newly developed ‘special-league’ operated within the USL W-League, allowing the communities and branding to continue as it did with the Freedom post-WUSA (2 teams already from W-League, which fittingly is partnered with NIKE – partner of the USWNT). Whether they continue to operate under USL in future years (as Peter suggests) or not, the move would give them a year to plan and set things into motion for 2013 without the daily burden of league operation. Having worked 10 years at USL, I can tell you that with a minimal staff, balancing the daily operations with future planning is a difficult task – and that is something I think they REALLY NEED at this juncture. You can’t do it all October-February.

  4. Beau Dure says:

    But which is more costly?

    A. Tearing up all the contracts and plans to carry on in 2012 with an eye toward restarting in 2013.

    B. Going forward with a five-team, 20-game league in which each team also plays a game or two against the national team?

    The other thing to bear in mind — though Olympic and World Cup bumps don’t last that long, you don’t want to go completely without them. No one event has bumped MLS from obscurity to popularity, but each one helps a little. If the league is stagnant during the Olympic year, I think that might hurt a bit.

    Kenn — I agree that 20 USWNT-WPS games would be ridiculous overkill. I’d think the WNT would play each team twice at most, and a second game could be at a second location. (One Borislow idea I haven’t managed to work in anywhere: He thinks WPS teams should have a second home base within driving distance — say, Atlanta-Birmingham, Palm Beach-Orlando, Philly-Washington — so they can give more fans a chance to check out a couple of games. I think it’s intriguing but logistically difficult or unfeasible.)

  5. Gerald Barnhart says:

    It is a tough choice, but I think right now they have to consider long-term over short-term or they will never get out of this problem. As for the cost of ‘scrapping 2012’ as is, I am not sure that it would be all that great – they havn’t yet fully established the new NY office so far as I know, and as has been intimated, they’d rather throw in the towel than go on with Borislow so they obviously are already considering the losses of calling it quits anyway. Plus, dissolving the league/teams is far less costly than you’d imagine. We had a handful of teams during my days at USL that had to ‘dissolve’ and be reforged for financial reasons – if anything, it sheds the current burdens. A few of the examples are teams ‘we’ terminated to rescue, including the ones we ran short-term like Vancouver and Montreal – look where they are now. The RailHawks are probably the most recent example. When the Wellman’s couldn’t find a new owner they bailed and the NASL let them dissolve so they could essentially start from scratch without any burdens, acquiring the name etc on the cheap minus any third-party obligations. Maybe I am wrong, but to me it does not like they have any solid plan(s) for 2012 as of yet, and with going into the W-League, it doesn’t mean you couldn’t still have the exhibitions – especially post-Olympics when they would hopefully have the re-launch plans in place to promote during the ‘tour.’

  6. Beau Dure says:

    My understanding is that they were pretty much going with business as usual until they suddenly had to focus a lot of attention on the sanctioning issue. And still, Atlanta signed Christen Press this week. I don’t think any individual teams are in the same boat as Vancouver and Montreal were. They’re ready to play. As far as they’re concerned, they’re fine — it’s just USSF that has an issue. (And maybe the USWNT players.)

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