Behind the MLS Ambition Rankings: Atlanta United FC
• How much money has your team spent in the past five years on youth development? How much in the past year?
The Atlanta United Academy will begin in full in summer 2016; the selection process will begin in late spring. We will have U-12, U-13, U-14, U-16 and U-18 academy teams.
The Academy will be an integral part of our club and overall philosophy which is why we chose to begin its operation before we have a first team on the pitch. Our Academy will be based with our first team at our new training ground and will have access to all the same facilities.
We are budgeting to spend a seven-figure sum per season on our academy operations.
• How many homegrown players have you signed? How many have played in MLS league games for your first team?
• Who pays to play on your youth teams? And how much do they pay?
The Atlanta United Academy will be free to all academy players.
• How many season-ticket holders do you have?
Atlanta United has over 10,000 Founding Members representing deposits for over 29,000 tickets.
On Feb. 4, we announced season ticket pricing, which offered a range of price points and was well-received by the community.
On Feb. 8, we began the process of working with our founding members on their seat selection and converting their deposit into a season ticket purchase.
• Where does your first team train? Did you build the training facility yourself? If so, how much did it cost?
The Atlanta United first team and academy will train at the club’s new world-class training ground in Marietta, Georgia, which is currently under construction.
The facility is being built by Atlanta United and represents more than $50 million in new investment to build an MLS best-in-class training facility.
Facility will house: Executive staff, training staff, sport science staff (including medical), scouting and performance analysis staff, digital media and communications staff, administrative staff (including player welfare staff), players both first team and academy. Grounds will include: 33 acre site, six fields total plus a specific goalkeeper training area.
• Do you have a model for integrating your academy with the first team? How closely do your academy teams resemble the way the first team trains and plays?
The academy and first team will both train at Atlanta United’s new training ground (once built).
Atlanta United is creating a model platform for youth development with the ultimate goal of developing young professionals who will be successful at the next level, on and off the field.
The training ground will foster an open, collaborative environment. Academy players will observe and interact with Atlanta United’s first team, and sharing the training complex will allow an aspirational environment for academy players.
Academy players will have access to first-team performance/gym space, athletic trainers, dedicated sports performance coaches, video analysis coaches and training.
Three key areas the club is focusing on to develop the "whole" athlete: education, social awareness, wellness
• What’s your philosophy on the use of technology in your training and preparation for matches?
Technology will play an integral part in training and match prep. We intend to use GPS/heart-rate monitors in all training sessions. We also intend to use video analysis for all our training sessions in addition to opposition analysis for match preparation.
• Who is your jersey sponsor? What’s your total income on sponsorships this season?
Atlanta United is in the process of evaluating and securing partnerships for its inaugural season.
Right now, we are working with the AMB group sales team, which creates integrated partnerships across the Falcons, United and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, to establish partners for the club. We are leveraging opportunities across our portfolio to maximize enterprise revenue and deliver great value to our partners.
There is a great deal of interest in our brands in the corporate community, and we’ll have news regarding club partners throughout the year.
• Local TV deal: How many of your games this season are shown on local television? How much is your local TV deal worth per season?
• Local radio deal: How many of your games this season are broadcast on local radio? In English? In other languages?
• How many front-office employees does your team have? How many have you added or subtracted in the past year?
We have certain shared services across all our properties, so we consult with staff in those roles frequently.
Where it makes sense, we are adding dedicated soccer roles in order to focus on and directly connect with our community (i.e. marketing, social, communications, tickets, etc).
By Q2 of this year, we’ll have between 20 and 25 dedicated Atlanta United staff on the business side.
• Have you hired any additional technical staff over the past year to reduce doubling-up roles? Are you planning on expanding your technical staff in the near future?
Atlanta United began building its technical staff in 2015. Currently the club has seven full-time technical staff members and will continue to build out staffing in ’16.