Behind the MLS Ambition Rankings: Columbus Crew SC

Friday March 3rd, 2017

How much money has your team spent in the past five years on youth development? How much in the past year?

Crew SC has spent nearly $2.5 million in 2016 on youth development, and across the past five years Crew SC has spent more than $11 million on youth development which includes an increased Academy budget of 241% since 2014.

How many homegrown players have you signed? How many have played in MLS league games for your first team?

Crew SC has signed 11 Homegrown players, including Alex Crognale this offseason. A Homegrown player has appeared on the game day roster for every game (except one) over the past three MLS seasons. Five homegrown players have appeared for the club in a MLS regular season match.

How many season-ticket holders do you have? How many did you have in 2016?

While Crew SC season ticket membership has experienced significant growth across the last four seasons, we are forecasting an overall year-over-year reduction in FSE’s for the 2017 season.

Where does your first team train? Did you build the training facility yourself? If so, how much did it cost?

Crew SC trains at The EAS Training Center at Obetz. The interior was completely renovated in 2014 and cosmetic enhancements were made to the exterior and field areas.

Did your team build its own stadium? If yes, how much money did the team spend on the stadium?

Mapfre Stadium is the first soccer specific stadium in Major League Soccer and opened in 1999 after construction costs totaling $32 million. Since Anthony Precourt acquired Crew SC in 2013, Precourt Sports Ventures has invested millions of dollars into stadium improvements.  

Do you have a USL affiliate? How big is your budget this year for your USL team?

Crew SC currently maintains affiliate relationship with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

How much money have you spent in the three previous years on Designated Players (transfer fees and salary)? How much are you spending on Designated Players this year?

Crew SC has featured at least one Designated Player on its roster for the past three seasons and the Designated Player budget was more than doubled for the 2017 season.

How much TAM have you spent since its inception in the middle of 2015 (including this year)?

Crew SC plans to spend over $3 million in TAM funding over the period from its inception in 2015 through the end of 2017 season.  

How would you describe your investment in and use of data analytics? How many full-time analytics employees do you have?

Fluency in data analytics is a screening criteria for every employee hired to work with Crew SC Soccer Ops. Two full-time employees focus on analytics and we outsource specialized analytic services to a number of local, national and international firms.

Who is your jersey sponsor? What’s your total income on sponsorships this season?

Luxury auto brand Acura was recently announced as Crew SC’s official jersey partner. Overall 2017 sponsorship revenues are forecasted to increase by approximately $1.5 million year-over-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? How big is your budget for presenting local TV broadcasts? Do your broadcasters travel on the road for local TV broadcasts?

All 32 regionally televised games will broadcast locally as part of a simulcast package featuring Sinclair-operated stations in Columbus (ABC, FOX, CW, MyTVColumbus), Spectrum Sports Ohio and Buckeye Broadband; 25 of 32 matches will broadcast over-the-air locally on CW Columbus (WWHO); two of 32 will be on local ABC affiliate (WSYX); one of 32 will be on local FOX affiliate (WTTE), and four midweek matches will be on MyTVColumbus (WSYX.2). All 32 matches will also be simulcast on Spectrum Sports to Spectrum subscribers throughout Ohio (including Columbus).

In addition, Crew SC has a rights deal with Buckeye Cable SportsNet which broadcasts all 32 regional matches to Buckeye Broadband subscribers in Toledo/Sandusky. As was the case in 2016, Crew SC has removed all blackout restrictions resulting in full access for MLS Live and MLS Direct Kick subscribers (including those living in Columbus). Crew SC TV broadcasters do not travel with the club for road matches and call matches from a Columbus location.

How many front-office employees does your team have? How many have you added or subtracted in the past year?

Crew SC has approximately 90 full-time employees presently employed which represents a slight year-over-year reduction in headcount.

What other sorts of details should we know about your club that are a good barometer of the club’s ambition? 

In summer 2016, Crew SC launched a large-scale study designed to measure community demand & economic development impact for a potential new soccer-specific stadium in Columbus.

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