FC Cincy Owner: Club OK With Financial Hit From Fan-Less Games
FC Cincinnati Controlling Owner Carl Lindner "wants to get back to playing games as soon as it's safe," even though he knows his MLS club "will take a financial hit without fans" in the stadium, according to Steve Watkins of the CINCINNATI BUSINESS COURIER. FC Cincinnati COO Dennis Carroll recently said that the club "gets about 90% of its revenue from playing games at home in front of fans." But Watkins wrote club ownership is "willing to bite the bullet." Watkins noted the group's investment commitments "include not only enough to ride out the season but also to wrap up construction" of the $250M, team-financed West End Stadium. Lindner brought in former eBay and HP CEO Meg Whitman as part of a group of investors in November, and together the group "invested a reported" $100M. Meanwhile, the ownership group has "kept all of FC Cincinnati's employees on staff and didn't apply for a Payroll Protection Program loan." Lindner: "We're trying hard not to do furloughs. We want to see how things play out when things start back up. It's kind of tied to our values. That's part of the same reason we didn't go for a PPP loan." Lindner also said that he is "encouraged with the fan response to club seat sales that began last week." Watkins reported within three days, FC Cincinnati "received orders for more than half of the club seats in its new West End Stadium." The club "took in more than 1,500 deposits" in those three days (BIZJOURNALS.com, 5/21).