SBD/Throwing A Changeup/Franchises

Armed With New Stadium And Players, Red Bulls Become MLS Force

Thanks In Large Part To Thierry Henry (c), The Red Bulls Are Second In MLS Jersey Sales
The MLS Red Bulls have "become a force in the league" for the first time and perhaps in the "crowded New York marketplace, on and off the field," according to Kevin Clark of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. After finishing the '09 season with the worst record in MLS, the Red Bulls now own the second-best record in the Eastern Conference and acquired two designated players midseason -- Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez. At the same time, the team's "off-the-field fortunes have improved as well." The new Red Bull Arena "is the headliner, as attendance has risen to 17,926 per game from 12,774" last season at Giants Stadium. The club also is "building a training facility in New Jersey, though no timetable has been finalized, with a plan to commit" $25-50M. adidas Dir of Soccer Antonio Zea said that Red Bulls jersey sales "are up 150% since the re-branding from Metrostars" prior to the '06 season, and the club is "second in the league in jersey sales" behind the Sounders. While there is "no timetable for when the team will begin turning a profit," Red Bulls Managing Dir Erik Stover said that the team is "fine with being in a 'growth mode' in the first season" in Red Bull Arena. Clark notes both "concessions and merchandise have doubled in the new stadium, and they no longer have to give a cut to Giants Stadium." In addition, Stover said that the team "wants to produce its own local broadcasts next season and sell the rights to major networks." Sources indicated that the Red Bulls are in the final year of a three-season contract with MSG Network. The sources said that the contract calls for the Red Bulls to "pay about $250,000 in production costs while MSG pays $750,000." Stover said that MSG "produces the team's broadcasts well, but that the network hasn't 'always done enough' because it's 'cluttered' with other responsibilities" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/15).
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New York Red Bulls, Franchises

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