SBD/November 10, 2010/Franchises

Soccer Franchise Notes: Sounders Ticket Renewals On Par With '10

Adrian Hanauer Notes Sounders Have A Waiting List That Hasn't Been Tapped Into Yet

Sounders investor & GM Adrian Hanauer said season-ticket renewals for the MLS club are "on target or basically on a comparable basis" to last year. He said, "Three weeks after announcing we’re renewing we’re at some percentage that’s the same as it was the year before 21 days after. And we do have a waiting list, we haven’t dug into that yet. But you always obviously get people who aren’t going to renew, and people move out of town and have different financial situations. So it’s a little premature to know where the capacity will end up" (, 11/9).

LEARNING ON THE JOB: In Boston, Frank Dell'Apa noted the "one visible change" at Liverpool since John Henry's New England Sports Ventures bought the EPL club last month "is the presence of Henry himself in the stands at Anfield." Now that NESV has "relieved the financial strain on Liverpool, things seem to be going smoothly." Henry said that the "business of soccer is 'like the Wild West,' investors not always in control." He also talks of a "culture shock" regarding how EPL clubs operate. N.Y.-based soccer consultancy LFC Int'l Founder Jeff L'Hote: "What you want is an owner who understands the business of professional sport and will put a winning team on the field" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/9).

ALL OPPOSED? Wigan Athletic Chair Dave Whelan has "raised doubts about the proposed takeover" of fellow EPL club Blackburn Rovers by India-based chicken producer Venky's, saying that he "would rather give his club away to the right British owner than sell to an overseas company." Whelan noted that he "sympathises with the trustees of the former owner Jack Walker's estate wanting to sell, but doubted the sense in doing so to Venky's." He said, "The Blackburn deal doesn't sound right, and it doesn't look right. ... I am sure Venky's can help sell Blackburn Rovers shirts in India, but I think it'll be very short-lived" (GUARDIAN, 11/10).

HOPING FOR A GOLDEN GOAL: FC Gold Pride GM Ilisa Kessler in a special to the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS writes the WPS club is "running out of time unless an eleventh-hour investor surfaces." Kessler: "Monday is the deadline for making a capital call to WPS, and the current ownership is unprepared to make it. If the capital call is not made, the Pride will cease to exist. ... The team's demise would be a great setback, not only for professional sports in the Bay Area but for the cause of gender equality across the country and around the globe. My fervent hope is that the progressive and entrepreneurial spirit of the Bay Area survives sufficiently to save the Pride" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 11/10).

NAME THAT TEAM: San Antonio’s new NASL team, which will debut in '12, has started a contest to come up with a suitable name for the club. The contest runs Nov. 10-Dec. 17 and invites fans to submit names to the charity website A panel of judges from STAR Soccer, NASL San Antonio and others will select the name in early January. The fan who provides the winning name will win a package that includes four season tickets, team equipment and a trip for two to accompany the club on a road trip (Fred Dreier, SportsBusiness Journal).

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