SBD/Issue 46/Franchises

WPS Losing Another Franchise As FC Gold Pride Has Plans To Fold

FC Gold Pride Was Not Able To Find The New
Investors Needed To Save The Franchise

After two years in WPS, "having a championship team with the best player in the world wasn't enough for FC Gold Pride," who this week will announce that it is folding, according to Tim FitzGerald of the S.F. CHRONICLE. WPS teams are facing a deadline today to "post reserve fund payments." League and Gold Pride officials said that it is "highly unlikely that an investor would step in at the 11th hour and save the team, especially since the Pride has been looking unsuccessfully for a savior since June." Gold Pride Owner Nancy NeSmith said that she "couldn't comment on the status of the club because she was under a gag order by the league while it tried to sort out which teams had the money to survive." FitzGerald noted this is a "bitter pill to those who follow women's soccer in the Bay Area." The San Jose CyberRays also "went under in 2003" when the WUSA folded after three years. Pride GM Ilisa Kessler on Friday said, "I don't know if there's an appetite for women's professional sports, much less for women's soccer, in the Bay Area." Kessler indicated that Nancy NeSmith and her husband, Brian, "lost $2 million on the team this year and $3 million last year" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/13). WPS Boston Breakers D Stephanie Cox said, "It makes me sad to see that more teams are struggling with their revenue because I think that women's soccer is a great form of entertainment for fans. Less teams means less women who get to play this great game." Cox added, "The league is finding ways each year to curb expenses, but for the long run we need to find more ways to get fans in the seats and bring in more revenue. I think once fans come and see us play, they will be hooked" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 11/12).

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