September 17, 2003
More on WUSA's woes

Should have known that Eric McErlain would be the place to go to get all the links you need on the story of the WUSA folding. See here and here, and then check out Women's Hoops (start there and scroll down) for more.

This story shocked me:

The fact that the WUSA folded Monday after three years of financial struggle isn't hard to fathom. Trying to grasp how the organization ripped through more than $100 million in hard cash over that time frame is a bit harder for the everyday fan to digest.

After all, how expensive could it be to run a professional soccer league?

When the league started in 2001, on the heels of the success of the American women winning the World Cup in their home country, investors put in an initial $40 million. This investment paid for the creation of team logos, promotional marketing and advertising costs, the negotiation of leases throughout the country and the salaries of some of the league's employees. It was supposed to be five years worth of money, but it was fully "invested" after the first season.

They lost a hundred million dollars in three years? They went through five years' worth of money in the first season? Did all of their executives come from failed dot-coms? Holy crap, that's a poor business plan. One can only hope that whatever comes next will do a better job.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 17, 2003 to Other sports | TrackBack

$100 million in three years appears to be about right for soccer leagues in the United States. Last year, MLS revealed that they lost $250 million over the first six years. If not for Philip Anschutz, the league would have folded after year three as well.

Posted by: William Hughes on September 17, 2003 8:32 PM

Um as a rule you dont want to compare a failed enterprise to another enterprise hemoraghing(sp?) money as a benchmark for good business.

I know its hard for the upperclasses to get this.. but 100 Million is actually a Lot of money.. well to us peons.

Consider they could have paid 30 teams of 50 women 20k a year each to just play soccer.. then spent 10 mil renting places to play (btw that parts supposed to be self sustaining.. as are logos etc).

Perhaps its just me.. but some of us find it hard to believe the incompetance of americas "elite class".

Posted by: Charles on September 19, 2003 9:31 AM