Women's Soccer USA

Coverage of women's soccer in the US. If it's not here...it's not important...

December 19, 2008

WPS poised to do well

Ironically, the tumultuous economy could play into the hands of niche sports leagues, already run on low-cost models and marketing affordability to fans.

Women's Professional Soccer, a start-up league set to kick off this spring, suffered a setback when a sponsorship deal with Whirlpool (nyse: WHR - news - people )--an economic casualty that announced 5,000 layoffs for this year--fell through at the last minute. The league's seven inaugural franchises (due to expand to 10 by 2010) also figure to lose local sponsorship dollars in the weak economy. But the WPS still managed to snag Puma (other-otc: PMMAF.PK - news - people ) as an official sponsor. And with low overhead and tickets going for as low as $10 per game in some markets, the league is poised to offer itself up as a solid value proposition.
"We are fairly bare bones in our approach," says WPS commissioner Tonya Antonucci, who is targeting an average of 5,000 fans per game as the league-wide break-even mark. Sponsorship interest remains strong in sectors like personal care and insurance, she says, even as the financial and auto sectors are hibernating. When will they wake? Good question.

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