Soccer means business and retailers, bars hope to cash in

When suddenly everybody wants a U.S. soccer jersey and bars and pubs are opening their doors at 7 a.m., it usually means one thing — it’s FIFA World Cup time.

Once every four years one of the most popular youth sports in the country gets a one-month stint as the country’s most watched pro sport and businesses in the soccer world enjoy the roughly 25 percent boost in business that comes with it.

“Every four years we have an extended Christmas,” Stephen G. Humburg, general manager of Soccer American, said of the tournament which starts Friday in South Africa. “It’s not just World Cup merchandise — everything that is offered goes up.”

Teams announced for July’s international soccer match at M&T Stadium

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer

For the second summer in a row, M&T Bank Stadium will host an international soccer match — this year featuring Manchester City Football Club against Football Club Internazionale Milano — a tradition that officials hope will cement reputation Baltimore as a world-renowned soccer destination.

Last year’s match, where England’s Chelsea Football Club defeated Italy’s AC Milan 2-1, sold out the stadium’s more than 70,000 seats 10 days in advance.

That event last July generated $20 million in spending, $1.5 million in state and local taxes and roughly 300 jobs, officials said.

Officials, who made the announcement Friday morning at the stadium, expect the same financial impact — if not better — for this year’s match on July 31.

Another international soccer match coming to M&T Stadium

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer 

ANNAPOLIS — Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium has landed another multimillion dollar revenue-generating soccer match to be played this July between two high-profile European teams.

The announcement is expected shortly by the Baltimore Ravens, according to the Maryland Stadium Authority, the state agency that leases the stadium to the team.

The event will come one year after Baltimore raised its status in the soccer community by hosting a sold-out exhibition match between England’s Chelsea Football Club and Italy’s AC Milan. That game generated roughly $20 million in economic impact and caught the attention of FIFA, the governing body of international soccer.

Crystal Palace is looking to baseball model

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer

New Crystal Palace GM Keith LuptonWith a new league and — they hope — soon a new stadium, Baltimore’s minor league soccer team wants to model its business after minor league baseball in its goal to fill seats and become a regional destination and entertainment center for soccer fans.

To get there, Crystal Palace Baltimore is looking to new General Manager Keith Lupton to guide the team to the next level off the field. Lupton spent 28 years in the minor league baseball business and helped start and manage Baltimore Orioles affiliates in Frederick, Hagerstown, Bowie and Salisbury.

“I’m probably the least knowledgeable about soccer than everyone in this room, but that’s not my job,” he said at a Wednesday news conference at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore. “My job is to get a new stadium up and fill the seats through season tickets, advertising, media and entertainment.”

Md. courts lucrative youth soccer championship

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer 

Maryland is bidding to host a youth soccer championship in 2011 and 2012 that could bring more than $12 million in revenue to the state each year.

State officials have their eye on the U.S. Youth Soccer Championship, a national summer tournament played across five regions in the United States between 185,000 players on 10,000 teams from youth soccer state associations. Champions in the six age brackets (under-14 through under-19) from each regional event then meet to compete for a national title in July.

Baltimore makes cut for World Cup bids for 2018, 2022

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer

Baltimore has made the cut to be one of the 18 host cities included in the U.S.A. Bid Committee’s quest to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup — a selection that could eventually mean $500 million in revenue for the city.

The announcement Tuesday afternoon by U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati was met with cheers, whistles and applause from a small group of city and state sporting officials gathered at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore to watch the news conference on television.

“This is huge,” Terry Hasseltine, the state director of sports marketing, said as they gathered to toast each other after the announcement. “The World Cup is the largest event any city could ever host. …”

M&T Bank Stadium and FedEx Field remain in running for World Cup bid

Daily Record Business Writer
August 20, 2009 7:38 PM

Maryland’s two professional football stadiums have made the latest round of cuts and remain in consideration for the U.S. bid to host soccer’s World Cup in 2018 or 2022.

After eliminating 13 more stadiums, 32 remain, the U.S. bid committee announced Thursday. The list, which started with 70 stadiums in April, had been cut to 45 in June.

Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Ravens, and Landover’s FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins, stand a good chance to both make the final cut of 18 stadiums, said Terry Hasseltine, the state’s sports marketing director.

“At end of day, if we get one [stadium] or we get two, Maryland wins because it happens on our soil,” said Hasseltine, whose office is with the Department of Business and Economic Development. “Our goal is still to have two when they’re down to 18, and I think we can do that.”

He said that M&T Bank Stadium and FedEx Field — separated by just 34 miles — provide a nice one-two punch. M&T’s smaller size and central location downtown is ideal for early round play where there’s more activity and attendance is more spread out, while FedEx’s 91,000-seat capacity is better for later rounds with larger crowds. M&T seats about 71,000.

“In all honesty, you could anchor one-quarter of field in this one area ... and I’ve pitched it that way,” said Hasseltine.

RFK Stadium in Washington also remains in the running.

The stadiums must now send to FIFA a more detailed list of specs including security capabilities, staff, parking and other event necessities and local amenities such as hotels and transportation.

Baltimore gained points with FIFA when M&T hosted a sold-out game between Chelsea and AC Milan in July, Hasseltine said.

Bids are due to FIFA by May, and the selections will be announced in December 2010.


Adding the kick to Chelsea-AC Milan

Daily Record Business Writer
July 23, 2009 5:20 PM

Chelsea Football Club and AC Milan aren’t the only ones with something to prove Friday.

In the highest-profile soccer match the city’s ever hosted, Baltimore has a chance to show to the world it can be a soccer town, and fans and businesses are uniting to get that message across.

“We want to make sure that when they go away from Baltimore, they’re going to remember this city for a long time,” said Steven Jones, the brew master at the Pratt Street Ale House, one of two designated Chelsea FC bars downtown.

“A game of this stature being in Baltimore is such a big thing,” added Jones, who moved here from Coventry, England, nearly 10 years ago. “We’re the ambassadors for the city.”

Jordan Bazant, a partner at New York-based The Agency Sports Management, said those “in the know” already consider Baltimore an elite sports town. But the event and broadcast on ESPN sends that message worldwide.

“It’s almost like its coming-out party in some ways, but it’s already been out,” Bazant said. “It’s proving what people are assuming — that it’s a phenomenal market for world-class soccer and just bringing it to people’s forefront.”

And that begins by going all-out to make the thousands of soccer fans traveling to Baltimore for the World Football Challenge exhibition game at M&T Bank Stadium feel like they’re at home.

PG officials, team officials guarantee DC United will move to Maryland

February 16, 2009 3:24 PM

LARGO — Prince George’s County and D.C. United officials guaranteed Monday that not only would the Major League Soccer team move to Maryland, but a new stadium would not cost county residents more Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson holding a DC United taxes.

“I emphatically want to repeat this again,” said United Executive Chairman Victor B. MacFarlane, who alluded last week to the team’s commitment. “We want to be in Prince George’s County and we will be in Prince George’s County.”

About 100 people, including several United players, attended a news conference Monday at Prince George’s County Community College to hear officials detail how that was going to happen.

“We understand that we cannot ask for one dollar from this tax base,” said MacFarlane. “We cannot and we will not — I promise that.”

Del. Melanie Griffith, D-Prince George’s, said she wanted to dispel rumors that new taxes would pay for the stadium.

“That is not the case,” she said.