Friday roundup: Phoenix to get USL stadium with giant disappearing soccer ball, plus more fallout from MLB slashing minor league teams

Too much going on this week to have time for more than a brief intro, but I do want to note that “’Company announces advertising campaign’ is not a story, no matter how easily that campaign can be metabolized by the publications it’s aimed at” is something that should be tattooed on the foreheads of all journalists, even if it is a quote from an article about Pantone colors.

And now, how sports team owners and their friends are trying to rip you off this week:

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2 comments on “Friday roundup: Phoenix to get USL stadium with giant disappearing soccer ball, plus more fallout from MLB slashing minor league teams

  1. I may or may not know who I am, what with wellness retreats and vaccuous celebrity run personal development “happenings” very much hamstrung by the pandemic.

    That said, when I ran the numbers myself on indie baseball (or soccer or any other minor league sport where 25-30 players have to be paid along with 10-15 support staff, and associated travel costs, equipment, insurance etc) it does mean you need an absolute minimum of 2500 paying fans on average (with a free stadium) and probably 3500 if you have to pay stadium ops and or some basic form of rent (or if you just want a snowball’s chance of ever turning a meagre profit).

    Here’s my question for the unnamed sports exec: Why does your business exist at all if you can’t draw 2500 fans in your home market?

    These aren’t local mill teams where everyone volunteers their time and the great and generous parent corporation agrees to buy the uniforms that will advertise their corporate logo, but only so long as the players/mill workers agree to donate 2 saturdays a month of free labour to help offset the enormous (and fully deductible) cost of the jerseys.

    If there’s one thing this site has conclusively proven, it’s that small towns cannot afford even minor league sports and should not try to make that happen via the large scale application of taxpayer funding.

    Opinions (economists opinions) do seem to vary on what percentage of a host city’s population a prospective entertainment business should hope to be able to attract, but 1% I think would be on the high end. So if you need 150,000 paying fans a year over 50 games, setting up shop in a city with less than 400,000 in population is an act of wild optimism.

    You might luck out and find a city of 250,000 where “everybody loves baseball” and 5,000 a game is a possibility. But 1500-1800 is still more likely.

    At no point did I suggest indie baseball can work everywhere, just that at least some viable cities will likely be left behind by the relentless push of Baseball’s MBA princes to remake the game in their own image (well, ok, not their actual image, but the image they appear to have of themselves…).

    As those cities will, in all likelihood, already have viable stadia in place that can be leased or rented at attractive terms (sunk costs), it may be possible for a couple of new indie leagues to survive, or for existing indie leagues to have the opportunity to add teams at the middle or top of their economic scale rather than expanding “at the bottom” as leagues often do (generally before they collapse, but…).

  2. In fairness to Phoenix’ USL team, the temp bleacher/NUSSLI style temp seating arrangements with modest permanent office/bathroom/concession buildings attached are a cost effective way to start out life as a professional sports franchise.

    There are, obviously, companies who specialize in setting up temporary or quasi-permanent (IE: season long) grandstands around permanent or removable playing fields for events (the WM open in Phoenix, any other professional golf event, world cup skiing etc).

    IMO it isn’t the necessarily the grandstand seating that puts fans off attending, it’s the portapotties, dodgy concession carts and other items that do it.

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