SBD/October 3, 2012/Franchises

Sporting K.C., Earthquakes Enjoying Increased Sales, TV Ratings With Winning Seasons

Sporting K.C.'s attendance has nearly doubled, while Earthquakes' is up 40%
For the MLS Earthquakes and Sporting K.C., "winning has erased bitter memories of local anonymity and empty grandstands," according to Frederick Dreier in a special to USA TODAY. On-field success also has "boosted ticket sales and TV ratings while attracting scores of casual fans." Since the '10 season, Sporting K.C. has "nearly doubled its attendance," while the Earthquakes have "seen a 40% jump." Success has been "well timed for the clubs." The Earthquakes organization is "financing an 18,000-seat stadium, which could open by 2014." Team President David Kaval said that the "team's success and news media attention helped sell all 12 luxury suites and 576 club seats in the new stadium." He said that winning also has "helped him in sponsorship meetings with the local corporate community." Meanwhile, Sporting K.C. is "two years removed from a rebranding campaign that replaced the old 'Wizards' name." Sporting K.C. CEO Robb Heineman said that he "anticipated a boost from the stadium," but that winning has "helped advance the new team name beyond his projections" (USA TODAY, 10/3).

PEOPLES' CHOICE: In N.Y., Mary Pilon notes beginning Sunday, and ending Dec. 7, MLS Sounders fans "will head to the poll and cast ballots on whether the team should retain" GM Adrian Hanauer. In the "unlikely event he is voted out" as GM, Hanauer will "retain his minority stake" in the team. He said that he was "not nervous about the vote." Hanauer has "not retained a political consultant, created attack ads or given stump speeches." Pilon notes in order to vote, fans "must be a member of the Alliance, the club's official members association." Membership is gained "by being a season-ticket holder or paying a $125 fee." A minimum of 10,000 votes "is required, and the results will be announced Dec. 13." Some European clubs "like Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain have long allowed fans to vote on their management" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/3).

IF A TREE FALLS...: In Portland, Geoffrey Arnold reports MLS has fined Timbers Owner Merritt Paulson $25,000 for "inappropriate conduct directed at officials and through use of social media" for his actions during and after Saturday's game against DC United. Paulson "confronted the referees as they walked off the field after the Timbers 1-1 draw." The refs "had barely stepped off the field of play when Paulson confronted the referees and began yelling at them as they walked toward their locker room" (OREGONLIVE.com, 10/2).
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