NWSL's Sky Blue Think Red Bull Arena Can Solve Stadium Issues
NWSL club Sky Blue FC yesterday drew a club-record 9,415 fans for their game against Reign FC at Red Bull Arena, and interim Sky Blue GM Alyse LaHue believes the stadium could be the team's "salvation" moving forward, according to Michael Lewis of NEWSDAY. The game was moved from Rutgers' Yurcak Field, Sky Blue's current home, due to ticket demand, but it "for now at least" is the only game this season set at Red Bull Arena. LaHue said, "We realize we've outgrown Rutgers. This gives a lot of promise for the future." Lewis notes Sky Blue currently play at the 5,000-seat Yurcak Field, but teams and players "have abhorred" playing there, as it has a "decent field but no showers for players." Reign MF Allie Long: "Playing at Red Bull Arena allows us to feel like a professional athlete. When you're at Yurcak, you feel like you're at college again" (NEWSDAY, 8/19). LaHue indicated that yesterday's match "could have been a 'trial run' of a partnership" between Sky Blue and the Red Bulls "instead of a one-shot deal to boost attendance and revenue." She estimated the cost of yesterday's match at "five or six times" what Sky Blue pays at Rutgers. However, she said, "My revenue's incredible tonight. ... We could probably pull half of that revenue-wise and still do OK in a venue like this" (Morristown DAILY RECORD, 8/19).
KEEPING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE: In N.Y., Sarah Valenzuela notes the crowd at Reign-Sky Blue "may not have seemed like much in comparison to those usually at that stadium," as the Red Bulls this season are averaging around 17,000 per game at Red Bull Arena. However, Sky Blue's average audience this season "has only been around 2,000 per game" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/19).