SBD/Issue 205/Franchises

Soccer Franchise Notes: Sounders Have Become Model Franchise

Dynamo President Hopes To 
Learn From Sounders FC
In Houston, Bernardo Fallas wrote the Sounders have "become a model franchise in MLS, one many teams are rushing to emulate." So it is "no wonder then" that Dynamo President Oliver Luck, who "seldom goes on road games, was bound for Seattle on Friday" to watch his team play the Sounders. Luck: "I'm going up there to try to see with my own eyes what they are doing and hopefully come back with a few things that we should be able to do. ... Seattle is an A+ team. I don't think you can do it any better." Meanwhile, the Dynamo "appear to be faring well" themselves. The team through its first eight home games at Robertson Stadium has averaged 15,689 fans, which is about 5% "less than after eight games last season" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/11).

UNION WORK: In Philadelphia, Pat Leonard reports MLS Philadelphia Union GM & coach Peter Nowak has “revealed plans to build a youth development academy in the mold of respected European clubs.” Meanwhile, the expansion franchise's owner, Keystone Sports & Entertainment, has formed a partnership with Comcast-Spectacor to “help the Union manage its planned 18,500-seat stadium, provide food and beverage concessions and catering, and support the club’s ticket sales” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/14).  

DOWN BY THE BAY: A’s GM Billy Beane said he watches soccer games on TV, but besides that has "no involvement" with the MLS Earthquakes, who are owned by A's Owner Lew Wolff. Beane: "While every other general manager is playing 18 holes of golf, I watch soccer. It's just an interest" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/12).

STILL FOR SALE: In Manchester, Louise Taylor notes there is a "growing possibility that Newcastle United will not be sold this summer." Although two consortiums "remain interested in buying Newcastle for a figure close" to the US$163M asking prices and others "hover in the background, the due diligence process is understood to have exposed troubling facts about the club's financial liabilities" (Manchester GUARDIAN, 7/14). However, the IRISH TIMES' Carl O'Malley reported Irish business execs Charlie Chawke and Louis Fitzgerald are "seeking investors to join them in bidding" for Newcastle (IRISH TIMES, 7/13). Chawke, who was part of a consortium that bought Sunderland in '06 before selling its stake in the club earlier this year, said that talks on buying Newcastle were at an "early stage" (REUTERS, 7/12).

DELAY OF GAME: In Manchester, Jamie Jackson reported Falcon Equity Chair Sulaiman al-Fahim's proposed takeover of EPL club Portsmouth "could be delayed until next month," as Fahim has "still not agreed [to] a price to buy the club." Fahim's lawyers informed the EPL that "negotiations are ongoing" with current Owner Alexandre Gaydamak. But the news "raises fresh concerns over whether the buy-out will go through," and the EPL has "yet to receive the statements they require, beyond the 'fit-and-proper persons' documents, regarding the provenance of finance for the deal" (Manchester GUARDIAN, 7/12).

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