Behind the MLS Ambition Rankings: Columbus Crew SC

Publish date:

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

Over the last 5 years we have spent approximately $3 million. Our academy budget has doubled in the last year.

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

Ten homegrown players were signed. Four have played in MLS league games.

• Who pays to play on your youth teams? And how much do they pay?

The academy is fully funded.

• How many season-ticket holders do you have? How many did you have in 2015?

From 2014 to 2015 our season ticket base grew by over 1,000 FSEs (full-season equivalents). In addition to growth from ’14, we anticipate that our season ticket base will increase another 1,500 FSEs from 2015 to 2016.

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

We train 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.

• 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 playing model is based entirely on the playing model from the first team. The training exercises are identical varying only when not age appropriate. Academy coaches are present at first-team training sessions and first-team coaches are often present at academy training sessions.

• What’s your philosophy on the use of technology in your training and preparation for matches?

We use technology extensively. Some examples are: advanced video software, GPS, data integration software, video analysis software, live coding capabilities, filming of both training sessions and games.

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

2016 MLS season represents the final contract year of Barbasol’s existing multiyear deal. We are in the process of either extending Barbasol for ’17 (and beyond) or identifying a new kit partner for ’17 (and beyond).  

• 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?

With the club's recent announcement on Feb 25, all regionally televised games (which for Crew SC is 31 in 2016) will be televised locally as part of a simulcast featuring Sinclair and Time Warner Cable; 25 of 31 games will be on local CW Network affiliate (WWHO); 2 of 31 will be on local FOX affiliate (WTTE); 1 of 31 will be on local ABC affiliate (WSYX), and three midweek games will be on MyTVColumbus (WSYX.2). 

All 31 will be simulcast on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel to Time Warner Cable subscribers throughout Ohio (including Columbus). In addition, the club has removed all blackout restrictions and MLS Live and MLS Direct Kick has no territory restrictions in (or out of) Columbus.

• Local radio deal: How many of your games this season are broadcast on local radio? In English? In other languages?

All regular season and playoff games are broadcast locally in English on CD102.5 FM (WWCD). In addition. the CD102.5 broadcast is livestreamed on Furthermore, all regular season and playoff games are broadcast in Spanish-language on La Mega 103.1FM (WVKO).

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

Including technical staff, the front office has 95 full-time employees. This number has grown by approximately five employees across last year via additions on the academy and first-team staff.

• 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?

Yes: Data analyst, video analyst, high performance director, director of methodology, full-time academy head coaches, full-time academy assistant coach.

• Other miscellaneous notes:

- Sold stadium naming rights prior to start of 2015 MLS season to MAPFRE Insurance (first time in club history).

- Sold training facility naming rights prior to start of 2015 MLS season to EAS (first time in club history).

- Transitioned to new food and beverage provider (Levy Restaurants) prior to start of 2015 MLS Season and grew food and beverage per caps by 20% without taking a price increase.

- Increased year-over-year paid attendance by 8% in 2015.

- Set stadium records for turnstile attendance (actual bodies in the building) for both regular season and playoffs during 2015 season.

- Established new club (and stadium) single-season and combined regular + postseason sellout records (7).

- MAPFRE Stadium won Sports Turf Managers Association Field of the Year in 2015.

- Sponsorship Revenues grew by 35% year-over-year from ’14 to ‘15.