SBD/Issue 181/Leagues & Governing Bodies

WPS Reaching Preseason Goals For Attendance, Aiming For More

L.A. Sol Leading WPS With Average
Attendance Of 7,422 Per Game
WPS, halfway through its inaugural 20-week regular season, "has met its modest goal of drawing crowds between 4,000 and 6,000 per game, averaging 5,185," and the L.A. Sol lead the league with an average of 7,422 fans per game at The Home Depot Center, according to Darren Sabedra of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci said that she is "pleased that 'we're right in the wheelhouse' of the preseason attendance goal." Antonucci added, "Clearly, we'd be happy to have more fans, and we're working toward that." Sabedra noted the FC Gold Pride saw attendance shrink to 2,533 for their third game at Santa Clara Univ.'s Buck Shaw Stadium after drawing 6,459 for their opening game, and the team "responded by slashing ticket prices by 25[%] for the remainder of the season." Gold Pride GM Ilisa Kessler said of the attendance drop, "I don't attribute that to the product that we have. I'm attributing those changes more to the economy." Antonucci said of the Gold Pride, "I credit them for adjusting quickly." Meanwhile, WPS "plans to add teams next season in Philadelphia and Atlanta," and Antonucci "believes WPS could be a 16-team league playing in stadiums big enough to hold 15,000-20,000 fans ... in 10 years" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 6/6).

UNTAPPED MARKET: In N.Y., Dan Tomasino wrote WPS "seems to be finding its place by catering to a market largely ignored by other professional sports -- middle- and upper-class women, aka soccer moms." Sky Blue FC GM Gerry Marrone said the demo is "definitely an untapped market." Marrone: "Major consumer packaging companies are looking to market to females, families, kids." But Tomasino noted WPS "does not expect to survive on a family atmosphere alone," as the league's mission statement is to be the "premier women's soccer league in the world." Sky Blue D Christie Rampone: "I wouldn't say we're there yet. That will come in time, and when that does come, this league will be the best in the world." Tomasino noted Sky Blue is "averaging about 4,100 fans through its first three home games" at TD Bank BallPark in Bridgewater, New Jersey, and Yurcak Field in Piscataway, New Jersey (N.Y. POST, 6/7).

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