SBD/Issue 235/Franchises

Red Bull Struggling With MLS Club Three Years After Investment

Red Bull Still Trying To Find
Right Way To Operate Franchise
The MLS Red Bulls are "threatening to be the worst" team in league history, and Austria-based Red Bull is "still trying to find the right way" to operate the franchise, according to Ives Galarcep of ESPN SOCCERNET. Since buying the MLS club in '06, Red Bull has made a "series of mistakes that ultimately helped lead the Red Bulls to this point in their brief and disappointing history." But Red Bulls Managing Dir Erik Stover contends the organization has "invested in a number of things to improve the franchise for the long term." Stover pointed to the "club's improvements under Red Bull, from the securing of a temporary practice facility, to the investment in Juan Pablo Angel as a designated player and to the construction of Red Bull Arena," set to open next season. Stover argues that "investment in its player development academy (considered one of the best in MLS) and the doubling of its season-ticket base is further evidence" that the club, "at least off the field, is headed in the right direction." Stover: "Red Bull has committed the resources to make the organization successful." However, Galarcep noted whether the team "avoids repeating its early mistakes will depend largely" on Stover, who came into his position in '08 with "no sports team management experience." Stover has "helped clean up the mess that the team's business side had become, but his most important task lies ahead." Whether Stover and the Red Bulls "succeed will be decided in their selection of the next men to run the soccer operations"  (ESPNSOCCERNET.com, 8/22).

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