Numbers Behind 2019 MLS Ambition Rankings: Eastern Conference Clubs

Go inside the numbers of the 2019 MLS Ambition Rankings with the detailed answers provided by the Eastern Conference clubs to our team surveys.
By SI.com Staff ,

To obtain the information used in determining our annual MLS Ambition Rankings, we sent each of the 24 clubs in the league the same survey. But as the league has changed, so, too, has the direction of some of our questions. For instance, MLS has warmed to the idea of being a selling league, understanding that clubs developing or investing early in players and then profiting off their sales is a way to grow and reinvest in the club. That alone, of course, does not indicate a club's ambition, but it's a greater piece of the puzzle. Nor is spending big on the current roster a sole means of determining ambition. It's a complex notion.

Not all questions asked were directly answered, or at least answered with the full amount of desired detail, but the revealing of that proprietary information is at each club's discretion. Some were way more forthcoming than others, while one Eastern Conference club, Orlando City, opted not to respond at all despite multiple inquiries and having participated in past years.

Teams are listed in alphabetical order, not by rank. You can also go directly to a specific team's responses by clicking below:

Atlanta United | Chicago Fire | FC Cincinnati | Columbus Crew | D.C. United | Montreal Impact | New England Revolution | New York City FC | New York Red Bulls | Orlando City | Philadelphia Union | Toronto FC

ATLANTA UNITED

How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees plus salaries)? How much are you spending in 2019 on your full roster (salaries of Designated Players, TAM players and other first-team players plus transfer fees paid for any of them)?

Over the past three years, we have signed a total of four Designated Players, all young players from South America. We have constructed a team around them that features experienced players with international experience as well as young talent, both homegrown and sourced from outside of our organization. 

How much money has your team accrued in transfer fees for sold players in the past three years?

The club transferred Miguel Almirón to a starting role at Newcastle United, smashing the record MLS transfer fee.

How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

The club has spent over $5 million over the past three years on youth development.

Atlanta United fields seven fully-funded youth teams and three fully-funded junior teams as part of the United Juniors training program (ages 8-11). The academy shares the club’s $60 million training facility. As well as fielding its fully-funded youth teams, the club also seeks to assist youth development in the state by conducting free coaching courses for coaches across Georgia club soccer programs.

How many talent scouts do you have working for your club only (i.e., not shared with other MLS clubs), both domestically and internationally? How big is your budget this year for scouting domestically and internationally?

The club continues to invest and grow its scouting department commensurate with the growth of MLS and the expanding levels of investment in player transfer fees.

How many season-ticket holders do you have for 2019? How many did you have in 2018? What was your average home attendance for league games in 2018? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local TV game rights? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local sponsorships?

Season ticket holders: 2018, more than 36,000; 2019, more than 37,000.

Average attendance of 55,000-plus leads MLS. This average ranked 13th worldwide compared to the 2017-18 global season. In two years, Atlanta United has broken every single attendance record in MLS and U.S./Canada history. It owns the top seven most-attended regular season matches in MLS history, including the league record of 72,243 fans who witnessed Atlanta-Seattle Sounders at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on July 15, 2018. No other MLS team averaged more than 41,000 and only one other team (Seattle) averaged more than 27,000.

Atlanta also boasts the top four most attended MLS Cup playoff matches in league history, highlighted by the 73,019 fans at the 2018 MLS Cup final against Portland. Combined, Atlanta owns each of the top 10 most attended matches in league history. It also shattered the U.S. Open Cup attendance record with 41,012 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on June 20 against the Chicago Fire.

As a privately-held organization, we do not release TV rights or sponsorship information.

Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building—or in the process of upgrading—your stadium? What is the cost?

The team plays at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which opened in September 2017. The best-in-class facility cost $1.5 billion. It can be completely transformed to be soccer-specific thanks to retractable seating for a wider pitch, an automated curtain system for a more intimate and energetic setting, digital signage for exclusive club branding and the absence of permanent on-field lines. Atlanta United has its own locker room, reserved for the club year-round. The flexible seating capacity allows for configurations of 42,500 (when the upper bowl is closed) or 70,000-plus when fully opened. 

Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

The team trains at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta, GA. The $60 million facility opened in April 2017. It houses the first team, USL team and seven academy teams. It features six full-sized pitches. 

Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

We do have a USL Championship team (Atlanta United 2) that trains at the first team training ground and plays at Kennesaw State University. This is the USL team’s second year of competition.

CHICAGO FIRE

How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees plus salaries)? How much are you spending in 2019 on your full roster (salaries of Designated Players, TAM players and other first-team players plus transfer fees paid for any of them)?

The club has spent $31,415,000 across the past three years on Designated Players. The club is spending $18,095,000 in 2019 on the full roster. 

How much money has your team accrued in transfer fees for sold players in the past three years?

N/A.

How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

The club has spent $4.5 million across the past three years (2017-2019) and has five fully-funded youth teams (U13, U14, U15, U17 and U19).

How many talent scouts do you have working for your club only (i.e., not shared with other MLS clubs), both domestically and internationally? How big is your budget this year for scouting domestically and internationally?

The club currently has two talent scouts. The club has plans to add two full-time and three part-time talent scouts. 

How many season-ticket holders do you have for 2019? How many did you have in 2018? What was your average home attendance for league games in 2018? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local TV game rights? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local sponsorships?

2018 average home attendance: 14,806.

Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building—or in the process of upgrading—your stadium? What is the cost?

The club does not own the stadium. SeatGeek Stadium is owned by the Village of Bridgeview.

Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

We train on the grounds of the stadium, which also belongs to the Village of Bridgeview. On a yearly basis, we’ve made modest improvements to the training facilities: the gym, where we eat, the food we serve, the players’ lounge.

The club made a $22 million investment in the CIBC Fire Pitch, a North Side of Chicago facility with two full-size fields and an inflatable dome, where the team can also train. But more importantly, it’s designed to help build the soccer ecosystem across Chicagoland. 

Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

No, the club does not have a USL and/or NWSL team. The club has an affiliation agreement with Lansing Ignite [of USL League One].

FC CINCINNATI

How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees plus salaries)? How much are you spending in 2019 on your full roster (salaries of Designated Players, TAM players and other first-team players plus transfer fees paid for any of them)?

We currently have two DPs: Fanendo Adi and Allan Cruz (young DP). Our 2019 spend doesn’t include the 2018 costs to acquire Adi as a USL team, when we assumed a full MLS DP contract against a USL salary budget in early preparation for MLS roster building. 

FC Cincinnati’s over-budget spend this year will be around $7 million by the end of the year, putting our total roster expenditure around $11.5 million this year. 

How much money has your team accrued in transfer fees for sold players in the past three years?

Does not apply to us. However, we are building our roster with the strategy to maximize our return by acquiring certain high-potential, lower-cost players and putting them in position to showcase their talent and have the opportunity to move on at a higher price. 

How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

This question doesn’t quite yet apply to us as our academy hasn’t been launched yet while we await guidance on the 2019-20 youth structure.  

That said, when we do launch our academy later this summer, it will be fully funded. We will be starting with one age group on the younger side in order to keep them in our system and have a longer time to develop them. We will then continue to add age groups as we build out our entire developmental pyramid from youngsters up through the first team. 

To aid the region’s development model universally, we’re also committing to extensive education and training in the Tri-State youth soccer community. That includes coaching education, referee development, and parent education. Through our affiliate system, which is starting to come together, we’ll have tremendous influence in developmental programming, coaching quality and implementing a cohesive style of play in this region of the country. 

On the women’s side, we have sponsored the local [U.S. Soccer] Development Academy entry, Cincinnati DA, with a significant financial investment each of the last three years.

How many talent scouts do you have working for your club only (i.e., not shared with other MLS clubs), both domestically and internationally? How big is your budget this year for scouting domestically and internationally?

We have five people working in our scouting department, which reports to technical director Luke Sassano. We have three full-time employees—a director of player recruitment, a director of domestic scouting, and a scouting manager—and two part-time scouts who are working explicitly on FCC’s behalf. Additionally, we have an international network of scouts and advisors with multiple people on three continents who collaborate with our full-time scouts. 

How many season-ticket holders do you have for 2019? How many did you have in 2018? What was your average home attendance for league games in 2018? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local TV game rights? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local sponsorships?

We announced that we crossed the 20,000 season ticket member plateau—all full-season tickets, not equivalents—in late February. This was a new club record before we played our first MLS game. We passed our old record of 18,007, which we had to cap in 2018 to provide for enough inventory for single-game, group and mini-plan buyers to attend games. 

We hope to average more than 28,000 fans in 2019, after setting the USL season average attendance record (25,717) in 2018. That figure would have ranked fourth in MLS behind Atlanta (NFL stadium), Seattle (NFL stadium) and Toronto (CFL stadium). 

FC Cincinnati has a comprehensive TV package which the club manages in-house, maintaining full control of inventory and content. Programming will be distributed via over-the-air and streaming platforms. Financially, the deals together represent a broadcast income in the upper six-figure range.  

FCC’s MLS partnerships will bring in eight figures in 2019, which represents a 400-500 percent increase in the club’s sponsorship totals that set USL records in 2018. The multi-year agreements are comprehensive and include in-stadium, media, digital/social, hospitality and marketing assets. 

Another area that has been a tremendous revenue driver for the club has been merchandise and consumer products sales. FC Cincinnati was the third-highest selling soccer brand at Dick’s Sporting Goods in the United States, and overall the team averaged $1.75 million in merch sales in 2017 and 2018. 

Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building—or in the process of upgrading—your stadium? What is the cost?

Stadium construction is a two-part question for us.

Our current home at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium is undergoing a $2.5 million renovation, which we are funding. This includes renovations of the existing locker room, (converting it from FCC’s locker room to the visiting locker room suite), converting the former team lounge to FCC’s new locker room, removing and laying a brand-new turf surface, as well as improvements to gate entrances. We also created a new, climate-controlled media work area off the field to aid space and access concerns. 

These improvements will get us through our last two years at Nippert Stadium before we move to the West End Stadium in 2021. 

FCC owners are privately financing our $250 million-plus soccer-specific stadium in Cincinnati’s West End, which is just blocks from the downtown Central Business District and adjacent to the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. With land and ancillary costs added in, the stadium will represent more than $300 million in private investment in the city. 

The stadium will seat approximately 26,000 fans. It will also feature 50 suites—the most in an MLS stadium that’s not shared with an NFL team—and more than 4,500 premium seats. This almost triples the number of premium seats available to corporate customers and fans at Nippert Stadium.

Additionally, The Bailey, the supporters section, will be safe standing and have a capacity of just over 3,000—more than double its current size at Nippert Stadium. 

Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

After training daily at Nippert Stadium in each of its three USL years, FCC has moved to a new complex: the Mercy Health Training Center in Milford, Ohio. 

The $30 million-plus, state-of-the-art facility will house the FC Cincinnati first team, academy, soccer and support staffs in a space of more than 34,000 square feet on 24 acres. Outside, there are three fields: two natural grass and one artificial turf (same surface as Nippert Stadium), plus an additional dedicated goalkeeper training area. 

The two-floor facility features some key designs that are aimed at enriching FC Cincinnati players’ experience:

—First-team locker room featuring large-height ceilings and natural light.
—Full-service, on-site kitchen and dining room with direct pitch-side access.
—Player lounge and support facilities including an on-site barber shop.
—State-of-the-art sports performance areas, including a full-service athletic training suite, a double-height fitness facility and hot/cold hydrotherapy plunge pools.
—Soccer operations and administrative offices to support the first team and FCC Academy teams.
—Second-floor balcony and lounge area that overlooks the training pitches.
—Three academy locker rooms and academy-specific athletic training area.
—Expansive equipment area, including storage, cleaning and maintenance spaces.
—Meeting and conference spaces, as well as a media production studio and media work areas.

The site’s master plan also calls for a 500-seat stadium to host scrimmages and FCC Academy games. When constructed, it will also be used to support the regional youth soccer movement.

Demolition and construction began last summer before the formal groundbreaking in mid-September. The full Mercy Health Training Center is expected be fully ready for occupancy in August 2019. 

Until that time, FC Cincinnati is using a custom-built, 8,000-square-foot temporary facility on the 24-acre property. This space includes a full locker room suite; full-size athletic training room; equipment room and ancillary supply area; team meeting, lounge and meal space; and office and work spaces for the entire technical staff, soccer operations, communications and community relations staffs. Construction on this space began in November and was completed in mid-January. 

Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

As we enter MLS in 2019, we plan to have an affiliate relationship with a USL Championship club. As we continue to plan for 2020 and beyond, we are exploring options for a USL League One team—either through direct ownership and operation, or through a shared ownership and management arrangement. 

Should the NWSL consider expansion in the coming years, we intend to explore that option after West End Stadium opens. There is a significant interest in high-level women’s soccer in our Tri-State region, and we believe that this would be an exciting market for the NWSL. Coupled with that, an investment in the NWSL would also include expansion of our academy to include a girls’ program, as well. 

COLUMBUS CREW

How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees plus salaries)? How much are you spending in 2019 on your full roster (salaries of Designated Players, TAM players and other first-team players plus transfer fees paid for any of them)?

Between 2016 and 2018, Crew SC averaged spending north of $3 million per year on Designated Players, including transfer fees plus salaries. In 2019, we anticipate this number will total $3.5-4.5 million. Full 2019 roster expenditure will be north of $10.5 million. We plan on using all three DP slots and fully utilizing TAM funds allotted to the club.

How much money has your team accrued in transfer fees for sold players in the past three years?

Between $5-10 million.

How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

$4.5 million. Four fully-funded teams: U14, U15, U16/17 and U18/19.

How many talent scouts do you have working for your club only (i.e., not shared with other MLS clubs), both domestically and internationally? How big is your budget this year for scouting domestically and internationally?

[Declined to disclose numbers of total scouting personnel and budget.]

How many season-ticket holders do you have for 2019? How many did you have in 2018? What was your average home attendance for league games in 2018? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local TV game rights? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local sponsorships?

Crew SC’s average attendance in 2018 was 12,447. New Crew SC investor-operators and a new club president took over in January. Overall, for full season ticket equivalents, we are approaching a 23-year high (other than year one) for FSEs, and we believe with continued efforts and momentum, we can certainly be looking at a new record there. For renewals, we have passed our 2016 renewal rate, which was the year following Mapfre Stadium hosting MLS Cup. Our opening match attendance at Mapfre Stadium on March 2 was the highest since 2012.

Crew SC announced in 2019 a new multi-year TV rights agreement with SportsTime Ohio and Fox Sports Ohio. STO and FSO will be producing 33 Crew matches this 2019 season as well as 30-minute pre- and post-game shows. All coverage will also stream on Fox Sports GO. For Crew SC supporters, this is new this season as supporters can download Fox Sports GO’s mobile app for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Streaming on Fox Sports GO is also available on connected devices, including on Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV, Roku and Xbox One. On the local sponsorship side, there has been a lot of momentum since January. The club is looking to secure exclusive partnerships within several important categories: beer, travel, technology, retail and spirits. With a new downtown stadium on the horizon, the club will look to also to begin discussions for the new stadium, including naming rights and founding partners, etc. 

Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building—or in the process of upgrading—your stadium? What is the cost?

A new, state-of-the art stadium in downtown Columbus has been proposed as part of a $645 million development project named Confluence Village that would open in 2021. The 20,000-capacity stadium is projected to cost $230 million and will be part of a 33-acre site with a riverfront park, 885 new residences and more.

Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

Crew SC trains at the Crew SC Training Facility in Obetz. Plans for a new Crew SC training facility were announced in December 2018 when Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Columbus City Council revealed that part of the new vision for Crew SC includes transforming Mapfre Stadium into the Columbus Community Sports Park following completion of the new stadium. The shared-use center would include an indoor soccer field and basketball courts, tournament-level outdoor athletic fields and programming spaces for multigenerational activities. Costs of the new facility have not been finalized.

Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

Crew SC does not have a USL or NWSL team.

D.C. UNITED

How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees plus salaries)? How much are you spending in 2019 on your full roster expenditure (salaries of Designated Players, TAM players and other first-team players plus transfer fees paid for any of them)?

$12 million spent on DPs. 2019 roster spend is $13 million.

How much money has your team accrued in transfer fees for sold players in the last three years?

Minimal.

How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

Approximately $4 million spent on youth development in that time.

How many talent scouts do you have working for your club only (i.e., not shared with other MLS clubs), both domestically and internationally? How big is your budget this year for scouting domestically and internationally?

We have three scouts and a $250,000 budget.

How many season-ticket holders do you have for 2019? How many did you have in 2018? What was your average home attendance for league games in 2018? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local TV game rights? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local sponsorships?

Season tickets are up 70% since the move to Audi Field. 2018 season averaged at 19,000+.

Partnerships are up 70% since the move to Audi Field.

Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building—or in the process of upgrading—your stadium? What is the cost?

Audi Field, our brand new all-seater 20,000 stadium, opened on July 14 2018. The total project cost was in the region of $500 million.

Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

Team currently trains between local facilities in D.C./Maryland/Virginia area. New training and academy facility is being built in Loudoun County and will be completed sometime in 2020.

Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

Loudoun United is in its inaugural season in the USL. Playing budgets confidential.

MONTREAL IMPACT

How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees plus salaries)? How much are you spending in 2019 on your full roster (salaries of Designated Players, TAM players and other first-team players plus transfer fees paid for any of them)?

[Club declined to disclose figures.]

How much money has your team accrued in transfer fees for sold players in the past three years?

$4 million in 2018 and 2019 following the transfers of Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla and Alejandro Silva.

How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

Approximately $4 million.

Three of our academy teams are fully-funded (U15, U17 and U19). The players on the U14 team pay only $500 per year, while the cost is approximately $5,000.

How many talent scouts do you have working for your club only (i.e., not shared with other MLS clubs), both domestically and internationally? How big is your budget this year for scouting domestically and internationally?

Hard to say because we work in conjunction with Serie A's Bologna FC and its scouting structure.

How many season-ticket holders do you have for 2019? How many did you have in 2018? What was your average home attendance for league games in 2018? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local TV game rights? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local sponsorships?

We’re close to 9,000 season tickets and will hopefully reach 10,000 for the first time. Club had 9,000 in 2018. Average home attendance in 2018 was 18,569. TV rights fees come from the Videotron telecom deal, which is among the top five in MLS. 

Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building—or in the process of upgrading—your stadium? What is the cost?

Yes. $3.5 million was invested in 2017 and we’re looking at options to significantly improve the stadium.

Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

At the club’s training center, Centre Nutrilait. It was completed in the summer of 2016 so it’s still a new facility, which cost $17 million.

Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

No. 

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees plus salaries)? How much are you spending in 2019 on your full roster (salaries of Designated Players, TAM players and other first-team players plus transfer fees paid for any of them)?

The club has signed Carles Gil to a Designated Player contract. Juan Agudelo, Juan Fernando Caicdeo, Luis Caicedo, Antonio Delamea, Michael Mancienne, Cristian Penilla, and Wilfried Zahibo are all TAM players. Additionally, the club paid transfer fees for Gil, Juan Fernando Caicedo, Luis Caicedo, Delamea, and Penilla. The club also expects to add another DP this season.

How much money has your team accrued in transfer fees for sold players in the past three years?

None.

How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

The Revolution continue to spend over $1 million on youth development each year.

All five of the club’s academy teams are fully funded. All player needs and expenses related to soccer activities—including training, facilities, equipment, uniforms, and team travel—are provided for and paid by the Revolution at no cost to the players or their families.

The Revolution have invested millions on youth development, and the club’s new $35 million training center has been designed and is being built with youth development as an integral part of the facility.

How many talent scouts do you have working for your club only (i.e., not shared with other MLS clubs), both domestically and internationally? How big is your budget this year for scouting domestically and internationally?

The club has two talent scouts: one international scout based primarily in South America and Director of Scouting & Player Personnel Remi Roy based in Foxboro.

How many season-ticket holders do you have for 2019? How many did you have in 2018? What was your average home attendance for league games in 2018? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local TV game rights? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local sponsorships?

The club does not disclose specific numbers. The New England Revolution's average home attendance for league games in 2018 was 18,347. 

NBC Sports Boston purchases the regional TV rights to broadcast Revolution games and also pays for digital streaming rights. All games on NBC SB feature a 30-minute post-game show. The club invests over $1 million in production costs on local TV broadcasts and travels club broadcasters to every away match (including national TV matches as they call local radio). Outside of game day, NBC SB also produces a bi-weekly news magazine show.

Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building—or in the process of upgrading—your stadium? What is the cost?

The club continues to invest significantly in pursuit of building a soccer-specific stadium in or near Boston. This is a stated goal for the club and the Revolution expect the project to be entirely privately financed at a cost in excess of $300 million.

Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

The Revolution broke ground in 2018 (opens in 2019) on a new world-class training center that will be the center of the Revolution first team and academy operations. Upon completion, the new facility will feature state-of-the-art fitness and medical centers, six professional-grade fields, a team dining and lounge space, and office space for the club's technical staff and front office, among other amenities.

The privately-financed and funded, $35-million development will span 68 acres with 42,000 square feet of building space and four new full-size fields (three natural grass surfaces and one artificial turf). With the club’s existing access to Gillette Stadium and the Empower Field House, upon completion the center will feature a total of six professional-grade fields.

Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

The club does not have a USL or NWSL team.

NEW YORK CITY FC

How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees plus salaries)? How much are you spending in 2019 on your full roster (salaries of Designated Players, TAM players and other first-team players plus transfer fees paid for any of them)?

We do not disclose financial information above and beyond that which is available from public sources. NYCFC made a significant investment this offseason on Designated Player Alexandru Mitriță, an exciting young talent from Romania, who has six caps for the national team.

How much money has your team accrued in transfer fees for sold players in the past three years?

We do not disclose financial information.

How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

New York City FC is deeply invested in developing local youth talent and it is a core principle of our club. We currently have multiple boys teams in a fully-funded atmosphere across the following age groups: U12, U13, U14, U15, U17 and U19. 

In only a short time, the academy has become one of the most successful in the country and we continually produce national team call-ups across a variety of age groups. 

In 2017, our academy won its first major youth title, the Generation Adidas U17 Premier Division. The team won the tournament without conceding a goal through its five matches. Joe Scally and Justin Haak, who both graduated from the academy to the first team, were part of the GA Cup squad. Comprised of many of the same players, our U19 team won the 2018 U.S. Soccer Development Academy national championship. James Sands, the club’s first homegrown signing, converted the winning penalty kick in the final.

How many talent scouts do you have working for your club only (i.e., not shared with other MLS clubs), both domestically and internationally? How big is your budget this year for scouting domestically and internationally?

We are part of City Football Group, which has a network of scouts around the world.  

How many season-ticket holders do you have for 2019? How many did you have in 2018? What was your average home attendance for league games in 2018? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local TV game rights? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local sponsorships?

Our average home attendance in 2018 was just over 23,000, which is an increase from the 2017 average of just over 22,000. Given numbers that we’ve compiled, we are among the top three MLS teams for the number of fans who have traveled to support our team on the road. 

We do not disclose the financials around our local broadcast partnerships. YES Network continues to be our local TV broadcaster. Our games are broadcast on the radio in English due to a partnership with The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. In 2018, our games were broadcast in Spanish on local Univision radio. A new Spanish broadcaster will be announced shortly.

Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building—or in the process of upgrading—your stadium? What is the cost?

N/A.

Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

The NYCFC first team trains at Etihad City Football Academy in New York. Opened in 2018, it’s the third academy built across the globe by City Football Group. It brings a best-in-class approach to infrastructure and a global network of soccer expertise to New York City. Marking CFG’s first permanent training complex in the U.S., the Academy features leading medical and sports science facilities to drive elite performance. The Etihad City Football Academy represents another landmark of the club’s long-term and sustainable commitment to MLS and U.S. soccer.

The Academy was designed, built and is now operated in a manner consistent with CFG’s approach to infrastructure and proven best practice. The facility shares design elements and functionality with the first two City Football Academies in Manchester and Melbourne and was designed by the same New York-based architect, Rafael Viñoly. At its core, everything is built around the soccer pitch and the players’ functional needs to help them prepare to win. Each interior specialty function—including circular locker room, communal dining hall, professional kitchen with on-site chef specialist, medical treatment rooms, and gym—is positioned and designed so players can perform at their best.

The training pitch is usable year-round due to undersoil heating capability. The pitch has been designed and constructed to create the ideal playing surface where the ball moves consistently and quickly. 

Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

NWSL—no. We do not have a stand-alone USL team.

NEW YORK RED BULLS

How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees plus salaries)? How much are you spending in 2019 on your full roster (salaries of Designated Players, TAM players and other first-team players plus transfer fees paid for any of them)?

The Red Bulls have two Designated Players on the roster. The team signed Bradley Wright-Phillips to a new DP contract in 2017. In 2018, RBNY spent a reported club-record transfer fee on Argentine playmaker Kaku. This offseason, the club signed Tim Parker, Aaron Long, and Marc Rzatkowski to TAM deals. TAM was also used in the acquisition of 18-year-old forward Mathias Jørgensen. 

How much money has your team accrued in transfer fees for sold players in the past three years?

This financial information is not disclosed. The highlight of New York's transfers in the past three years is homegrown Tyler Adams, who was identified during a Red Bulls summer camp, invited to the Regional Development School program, progressed through the RBNY academy and signed his first professional contract at age 15. Adams has transitioned seamlessly into the Bundesliga (RB Leipzig) and has become a mainstay with the U.S. national team. 

How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

RBNY operates two cost-free pre-academy teams, five cost-free academy teams from U13 to U18/19, as well as a U23 team that competes in USL League Two. That allows academy graduates currently in college to remain active with RBNY over the summer, training and playing in the Red Bulls environment with professional coaches. The organization also offers a variety of pre-academy teams to elite players from the 40,000+ children involved with Red Bulls youth programs in the tri-state area. 

How many talent scouts do you have working for your club only (i.e., not shared with other MLS clubs), both domestically and internationally? How big is your budget this year for scouting domestically and internationally?

The club has three in-house scouting positions, as well as a player identification network across Central and South America, and Europe. 

How many season-ticket holders do you have for 2019? How many did you have in 2018? What was your average home attendance for league games in 2018? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local TV game rights? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local sponsorships?

Ticket sales revenue was up by more than 10 percent in 2018, according to a December interview with GM Marc de Grandpre. The club also saw 100 percent renewal with its marketing partners and increased the total number of partners by 25 percent. In 2018, the organization generated the highest revenue figures in franchise history. 

Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building—or in the process of upgrading—your stadium? What is the cost?

The New York Red Bulls have announced the beginning of ongoing renovations to improve fan experience at Red Bull Arena. New video boards have been installed that are double the size of the previous boards, and de Grandpre said in a recent interview that further improvements are coming. The club is working with a design firm to evaluate options, including “open concept” spaces. The Red Bulls are also working on a forum to engage fans for feedback during the process.

Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

The privately-funded Red Bulls Training Facility opened in 2013 with first-team buildings and three full fields. The facility has expanded to include locker rooms for the USL team, and an academy-specific building that houses four locker rooms, a gym, treatment room, coaches’ offices and a meeting room all specific to academy use, as well as a fourth field dedicated to academy training and games. The academy building and field have also become the training site of choice for the U.S. national team, FC Barcelona, and more when they visit the New York metro area.

Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

The Red Bulls USL team has made the playoffs in each of its four years of existence, reaching the Eastern Conference final for three consecutive seasons. It won USL Cup in 2016. NYRB II are one of very few MLS “2” teams to be in the USL Championship this season. From a sporting perspective, USL has been integral to giving young players development opportunities, from Adams and Sean Davis to Long, Florian Valot, and many more. Last season, graduates of the Red Bulls academy and/or NYRB II accounted for 40% of all MLS minutes played as the Red Bulls set an MLS record for points in a season, reached the Concacaf Champions League semifinals and the MLS Eastern Conference finals. 

The organization has completed two rounds of renovations to MSU Park, the home of NYRB II.

ORLANDO CITY

[Declined to respond.]

PHILADELPHIA UNION

How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees plus salaries)? How much are you spending in 2019 on your full roster (salaries of Designated Players, TAM players and other first-team players plus transfer fees paid for any of them)?

Our investment in established talent continues to grow year-over-year. We recently completed the acquisition of Marco Fabián, who is the highest-paid player in Union history. Additionally, we signed Sérgio Santos to a TAM deal after meeting his buyout clause, and over the past three years, we acquired the four most expensive players in club history in Fabián, Alejandro Bedoya, David Accam and Borek Dockal.

How much money has your team accrued in transfer fees for sold players in the past three years?

This is a key element of our strategy going forward, as we aim to be among the world’s top clubs in producing youth development and helping our academy products achieve their dreams. Our academy, established only a few years ago, is just starting to bear fruit with young products heavily contributing at the first-team level. We have signed seven homegrown players to the first team over the past three seasons, with four additional academy products signed to our USL club.

One such first teamer, Auston Trusty, recently became the youngest player in MLS history to play every minute of a 34-game season, while both he and Mark McKenzie were two of the youngest players called into the recent U.S. national team January camp. We believe we are the league’s leading club at giving young homegrown talent a chance to play, and we know that the world market is taking notice.

How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

As in recent seasons past, we remain committed to building a sustainable model through this area, spending approximately $16 million over the past three years on our youth setup, which includes our USL club. In 2018, we spent $3.5 million on our academy and $2.1 million on our USL team, which is estimated to be the highest in MLS in these two areas combined. We own and operate the YSC Academy, the first-of-its-kind, soccer-specific high school in the US.

From U12 to U19, the Philadelphia Union Academy is completely free for players. The YSC Academy school covers 84 percent of all tuition with financial aid. Currently, 96 percent of our students are receiving such aid.

The innovative Philadelphia Union youth program is based in sport science and performance and follows best practices in long-term athletic development and coaching education. It includes two developmental levels: Union Juniors Pre-Academy (U8-U11) and the Union Academy.

How many talent scouts do you have working for your club only (i.e., not shared with other MLS clubs), both domestically and internationally? How big is your budget this year for scouting domestically and internationally?

As with other areas of our club, our budget has increased dramatically in this area over the past year or so. We recently added multiple positions related to these initiatives, including support in the video, analytics, and scouting areas. We also recently implemented new data-oriented software into our scouting and analytics processes, and we have special camera tracking technology to help us analyze our matches. Additionally, through Sporting Director Ernst Tanner’s network, we have expanded our scouting footprint. We’ve established an on-the-ground presence in numerous countries for the first time over the past year.

How many season-ticket holders do you have for 2019? How many did you have in 2018? What was your average home attendance for league games in 2018? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local TV game rights? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local sponsorships?

We have approximately 10,000 season ticket members in 2019, which is in line with 2018. Our average home attendance was 16,518.

On the TV side, we have an incredible relationship with our two broadcast partners, PHL17 and 6abc, which began in its current form in 2018. We moved from a cable network to this new relationship, which has over-the-air coverage, allowing us to increase our reach by 32 percent. Our ratings grew by 100 percent on first airings.

In sponsorships, we set a record high in revenue in 2018 and are on track to break that record again in 2019. Similarly, our new partnership revenue was the highest it has ever been in 2018, and we are also on track to break that record in 2019.

Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building—or in the process of upgrading—your stadium? What is the cost?

We have made many upgrades to our stadium in recent years, with the most forward-facing being a new and improved Union Shop via our partnership with Fanatics. The shop was completely renovated, expanded in size by approximately 30 percent, and modernized to create a better retail experience for our fans.

We are also unveiling a new, state-of-the-art Tunnel Club this summer. The Tunnel Club is designed for 150 premium clients and will provide these clients an up-close, behind-the-scenes look as the players leave the locker room to enter the field. The Tunnel Club will feature a luxurious bar and lounge, and electric lighting effects as the players line up and walk to the field. We have upgraded the stadium scrim as and concourse to improve our atmosphere. We have also assisted our supporters’ group, the Sons of Ben, with the purchase of two large capo stands and a tifo pulley system to enhance their game-day efforts.

Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

We train at the Power Training Complex in Chester, which is adjacent to our stadium and offices. We built the facility ourselves in 2016, and installed two Bermuda grass practice fields adjacent to Talen Energy Stadium prior to that. We also used what formerly was the machine shop of the vintage power plant that has been turned into extraordinary Class A office space by our ownership, transforming it into a high-end, 16,500-square-foot training facility for the team. We kept the 1920’s brick façade and incorporated elements of the iron and brick interior, like the 800-pound iron door to our locker room.

Despite this vintage theming, the facility’s contents are absolutely state-of-the-art,  including: an expansive weight training and exercise area, technologically advanced video theater, players’ and coaches’ lockers and showers, a full weight area, a hydrotherapy suite, hot and cold tubs, an underwater treadmill, shower, and infrared sauna.

Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

Bethlehem Steel FC is entering its fourth season and has been a critical part of our “Path to the Pros,” an initiative that we believe in and to which we allocate significant funds in accordance with our commitment to youth development. We spent $2.1 million on our USL team alone in 2018. We have now signed seven homegrown players over the past three calendar years, all of whom have appeared or trained with Steel FC prior to making the jump to the first team. We also currently have four academy products signed to USL contracts.

TORONTO FC

How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees plus salaries)? How much are you spending in 2019 on your full roster (salaries of Designated Players, TAM players and other first-team players plus transfer fees paid for any of them)?

2016 - $19.3 million.
2017 - $19.7 million.
2018 - $19.9 million.
2019 - More than $25 million.

How much money has your team accrued in transfer fees for sold players in the past three years?

More than $3 million.

How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

More than $7 million. Seven teams.

How many talent scouts do you have working for your club only (i.e., not shared with other MLS clubs), both domestically and internationally? How big is your budget this year for scouting domestically and internationally?

Seven scouts worldwide. More than $600,000.

How many season-ticket holders do you have for 2019? How many did you have in 2018? What was your average home attendance for league games in 2018? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local TV game rights? How much money will you get in 2019 for your local sponsorships?

23,454 season-ticket holders in 2018. Average home attendance 26,628.

[Remaining questions unanswered.]

Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building—or in the process of upgrading—your stadium? What is the cost?

A new hybrid turf field costing more than $2 million.

Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

First team trains at the BMO Training Ground. Adding a mini stadium for USL [League One] team for more than $1 million.

Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

USL League One. Budget more than $2 million.

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