SBD/July 17, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

USL Building Out Preferred Supplier Program To Help New/Existing Soccer Team Owners

With more than 30 expansion franchises expected to join its second and third-tier soccer divisions in the U.S., the USL is building out a preferred supplier program to aid both new and existing owners in its leagues. The league, which currently operates a 30-team second-division league and is planning to launch a third-division league in ’19, has signed its first partnership for the program with T&B Equipment, which will be its official modular stadium and seating supplier. As part of the deal, T&B will be an official supplier for all of the league’s related properties, which include USL, USL D-III, the Premier Development League and the Super Y League. Recently, T&B constructed USL club Phoenix Rising’s new soccer complex, a modular venue that features 6,200 seats and 15 luxury boxes. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. USL President Jake Edwards said by building out this new program, it will better help new owners to hit the ground running. "It’s critically important to launch sustainable clubs, and to be able in an 18-month ramp-up period be able to aid that process by helping to build a venue and put in all of these other products, it really takes a lot of the headaches out of it,” Edwards said. “For our existing clubs who are building new stadiums or upgrading their own, this also provides them with a tremendous opportunity.”

GET WITH THE PROGRAM: Edwards said that he envisions that the program will have a number of partners that could provide the clubs everything from modular stadiums and field lightning to CRM systems and executive search assistance. While some of these services will be optional, others -- including those that are for products that the teams are required to buy, such as goal nets or other equipment -- will be mandatory to purchase through that specific vendor, which will also provide the clubs and the league a larger discount as well as consistency in quality. Any of those deals mandated official suppliers will be approved by the league’s BOG. “Through programs like this we’re able to provide these partners with a real business opportunity to work with us as we scale out the league, as well as give our clubs access to companies that are best in class,” Edwards said, noting that the league is hoping to announce additional partnerships in the coming months. “We respect that some owners will want to have their own direction for their teams, but we want to also be able to work with them and essentially put all of these services on a plate for them to succeed with out of the gate.”
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