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Numbers Behind 2019 MLS Ambition Rankings: Western Conference Clubs

Go inside the numbers of the 2019 MLS Ambition Rankings with the detailed answers provided by the Western Conference clubs to our team surveys.

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 Western Conference club, Real Salt Lake, 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:

Colorado Rapids | FC Dallas | Houston Dynamo | LAFC | LA Galaxy | Minnesota United | Portland Timbers | Real Salt Lake | San Jose Earthquakes | Seattle Sounders | Sporting Kansas City | Vancouver Whitecaps

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COLORADO RAPIDS

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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 have continued to invest significant funds on player acquisitions and player costs both at the DP and TAM level in addition to our increased investment in coaching, sports science and performance staff.

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

One of the key strengths of our organization is the fact that we are not in a position where we need to sell players. We have rejected offers for multiple players between $500,000 and $3.5 million over the past 12 months as we continue to invest in our product on the field.

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

Our investment in youth development continues to grow and we have seen the positive results of this investment in recent years. We currently have seven homegrown players signed to MLS contracts, a new local USL affiliate and a strong development academy from U12 to 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?

We have an in-house scouting department of two and an extensive network of scouts across the globe.

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?

Over 6,000 [season-ticket holders].

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[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?

Renovations to the team locker room, training room and weight room have occurred during the past 12 months.

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 has an exclusive-use training facility on location at our stadium.

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

We are affiliated with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks of the USL Championship.

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FC DALLAS

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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 will spend about $6 million this year on DPs and are spending about $13 million for all players.

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

We’ve received roughly $12.675 million in transfer fees the past three seasons, excluding bonuses and fees tied to player performance or transfers. 

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

We currently have seven boys’ academy teams and three girls’ academy teams, while also providing need-based scholarships to athletes within our select 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?

We’re proud to have grown our scouting department over the past few years to five staff members who are fully dedicated to scouting players for us. Of course, that doesn’t include regional scouts contracted to work with us, as well as coaches throughout our youth affiliates who have helped us find first-team players like Moises Hernandez. Our new technical director, Andre Zanotta, brings a wealth of international experience to our organization that will serve us well.

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?

[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?

We recently built and opened the National Soccer Hall of Fame, which included a number of upgrades to Toyota Stadium: new video boards, an upgraded sound system, and new suites. Combined, it was roughly a $58 million investment. We’re constantly working to enhance our facility.

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

Our first team trains at Toyota Soccer Center, the property that houses Toyota Stadium in Frisco. Specific to our athletic training space, we are building an outdoor fitness training center and shade structure that is around a $100,000 investment.

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

We have a USL League One team that debuted in 2019, North Texas Soccer Club. It’s tough to quantify our salary budget, because those players are comingled with our first-team roster as North Texas Soccer Club serves to bridge our academy and first team while also providing minutes for our first-team players. Our operating budget for North Texas Soccer Club is approximately $1.5 million.

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HOUSTON DYNAMO

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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’ve invested significant resources into player recruitment over the past several years, including Designated Players. Our target has been to identify young up-and-coming players who can grow within our club, rather than pay a premium for an established name whose value on the world market will only go down. A large portion of our expenditure has gone toward transfer fees, which often don’t show up in publicly-reported salary info. Over the past three years, our ownership group has invested more than $10 million in transfer fees over 10 different players—not only on DPs, but on TAM players as well.

Our overall salary investment has increased with ownership’s support with significantly increased discretionary TAM spend from last season to this season, resulting in bringing additional quality players such as Kiki Struna and Matías Vera, among others.

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

We accrued a seven-figure transfer fee for Erick Torres in 2017, and we’ve received interest from outside the league for multiple players on the current roster over the past 12 months. But we’ve prioritized keeping our core group intact up to this point.

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

Our ownership group has made significant investments in our academy and youth development setup over the past 12 months, hiring a new academy director in Paul Holocher and having full-time head coaches for each age group. We’ve completely reshaped the academy staff and have expanded our developmental pipeline by building more strategic partnerships in the greater Houston area. 

Our academy is fully funded from the U14s through the U19s. Our U23 USL League 2 team [Brazos Valley Cavalry] is also fully funded. We have several affiliate programs in surrounding states that are important strategic partnerships.  

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 designated scouts in key markets that we’ve identified and a key contact in each market as a part of our worldwide scouting network. Within Houston, we work with nearly all local clubs to identify elite talents, and have worked hard with our new academy director to strengthen, rebuild and improve our local relationships.

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 season-ticket base is around 8,000, which is down slightly from 2018. More importantly, we are taking several steps to address that decline. Our new president [John Walker] has an extensive background in ticket sales and operations, and he’s brought in a new chief revenue officer who also has a very strong resume grounded in ticketing. We’ve invested in upgrades to the stadium (more detail below) and have put an increased focus on re-establishing the club’s brand identity and building relationships, rather than focusing on transactions. This is a long-term strategy, but one that we are confident will have the club pointed in the right direction soon.

The 2019 season marks the first time in club history that we are receiving a local broadcast rights fee, not only for English TV but also for Spanish TV and Spanish radio.

Our local sponsorship revenue is at an all-time high, which is a testament to the strength of the Houston economy and an indicator of the opportunity available to us going forward. A big reason for that sponsorship success is our new jersey partnership with Houston-based MD Anderson Cancer Center, which is the first mission- or cause-based jersey sponsorship in MLS history. While it’s a good deal financially, it will have an even bigger impact on our brand and affinity within the market. We’ve received a lot of feedback from our fans as well people around the city and around the sports world about how much that partnership—and us helping to support the mission of ending cancer—means to them, which has been really neat to see.

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 invested more than $1 million in stadium upgrades this offseason—the third consecutive year in which we’ve invested in stadium upgrades. It includes:

—Installing large industrial-size fans under the canopies above the east and west grandstands to help provide better air circulation inside the seating bowl.

—Upgrading the sound system throughout the stadium.

—Creating the TCHP Family Suite, which includes the first permanently-installed sensory room at any MLS venue along with a dedicated mothers’ room for nursing moms.

—Upgrading our concessions menu in partnership with MD Anderson. We’re also working on some additional upgrades to the fan experience that aren’t quite ready to be announced, but should be in the next few months.

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 first team trains on the Champions Field at Houston Sports Park, which is dedicated solely for their use. Houston Sports Park features six additional fields that are available for the Dynamo Academy and the Dash, along with local colleges and professional rugby teams. It’s also available to be rented for use by public leagues.

We are in the planning stages of expanding by adding a second field for the first team, and are exploring options for ways to expand our footprint in terms of locker rooms, training and treatment space, meeting areas, etc. There’s no firm timetable on that, but we are hoping to have that ball rolling soon.

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

We operate and fund a NWSL team, a USL Championship team and a USL League 2 side. Our NWSL team (the Dash) is fully funded by the club. We have a hybrid relationship in place for the USL Championship (Rio Grande Valley Toros) and League 2 (Brazos Valley Cavalry) teams, in which our club funds all aspects of soccer operations—including coaching and technical staff salaries, player recruitment and player salaries—while business entities in those markets manage business operations. Our NWSL player budget is very competitive with the rest of the league, particularly considering that we have no allocated American players. We’ve expanded the Dash technical staff by adding three full-time positions to the coaching staff, giving the Dash the largest technical and support staff they’ve ever had.

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LOS ANGELES FC

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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)?

For Designated Players, we have spent approximately $15 million in transfer fees and $8 million per year in salaries. For the whole roster, total salaries come to around $15 million.

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

Approximately $2.5 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?

LAFC has five teams spanning pre-academy to U15. We have spent roughly $2 million.

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?

Including the academy, we have seven scouts. The budget is approximately $250,000.

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?

17,500 season ticket holders in 2018 and 2019.

Average home attendance was 22,042. We have sold out every MLS regular season and playoff game at Banc of California Stadium.

LAFC's corporate partnerships department was recognized as the MLS Corporate Partnerships Team of the Year. To date, LAFC has a total of 36 partners. LAFC was named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019. LAFC tops the list’s Live Events category. 

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. We added a dynamic, state-of-the-art staging area allowing Banc of California Stadium to be utilized as an outdoor arena for concerts and other special events. 

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

LAFC trains at the $30 million Performance Center on the campus of Cal State Los Angeles. The Performance Center opened in April 2018 and is a completely privately-funded facility. 

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

Not at this time.

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LA GALAXY

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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 - $13.7 million.
2017 - $12 million.
2018 - $17.3 million.
2019 - $22.6 million.

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

$5 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?

$18.5 million.

LA Galaxy have continually invested in youth development through various components: the LA Galaxy Boys’ Academy, the LA Galaxy Girls’ Academy, the LA Galaxy Academy Blended Learning Program, LA Galaxy Alliance Clubs, the second-annual LA Galaxy Cup (a world-class youth tournament featuring teams from across the world), and the 18th-annual Copa LA, which featured more than 230 teams last year.

The LA Galaxy Blended Learning Program provides a full high-school education at Dignity Health Sports Park for student-athletes immersed in the same professional environment as LA Galaxy and LA Galaxy II. Last year, the Blended Learning Program graduated its second class. It is the only program in North America that allows academy players to train and develop using the same facilities, schedule, and resources as an MLS and USL team. 

The LA Galaxy launched LA Galaxy Girls’ U14, U15, U16/17 and U18/19 academy teams that will compete in the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy. The LA Galaxy Girls’ Academy is the first and only girls’ academy program to be fully funded by a MLS side, allowing talented local athletes to join free of charge. It is one of the only free girls’ academy programs in the US.

This year, the LA Galaxy will host the second LA Galaxy Cup, featuring boys’ and girls’ Development Academy and club teams from U12 through 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?

Five talent scouts. Scouting budget is $500,000.

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?

2018 - 9,500 season ticket members.
2019 - 10,500 season ticket members.
2018 average home attendance - 24,444.
2019 local TV rights - $5 million.
2019 local sponsorship - $24.5 million.

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?

Upgrades of more than $20 million in the past year to Dignity Health Sports Park facilities include:

—The Status Royal Champions Lounge, an exclusive area near the player tunnel that gives fans unparalleled access on game days. Fans can watch the LA Galaxy and visiting team walk to and from the field before and after each match. Food and a full-service bar is available. Additionally, fans can receive preferred parking and VIP access into the stadium.

—A new sound system that will direct sound toward the seats and away from the field and surrounding areas. A comprehensive concourse sound system has been added to improve fan experience when walking around the stadium.

—LA Galaxy fans can watch games just feet away from the action courtesy of the new Fieldside West Seats. The premium seats are located near the touchline on the west side of the field, adjacent to the LA Galaxy’s team bench.

—Mezcal El Silencio is the first mezcal partner for a professional sports team. The stadium now features the Mezcaleria El Silencio cocktail bar and the hidden El Silencio Speakeasy.

—LA Galaxy HQ, located on the south concourse of Dignity Health Sports Park, features a 360-degree trophy case, a turf field, replica lockers, touch-screen monitors, a penny press machine, uniform display case, life-size player images, and a monitor featuring supporter video content.

—Legends Plaza at Dignity Health Sports Park was unveiled before the season opener. The stadium’s main entrance is now a hub for fans on LA Galaxy game days. Located at the top of the picturesque Driveway A, Legends Plaza features open areas for seating as well as an outdoor LED screen for live events and watch parties. Statues of LA Galaxy legends will be added in the coming years. The first, of midfielder David Beckham, was unveiled in March.

—Dignity Health Sports Park recently became the first soccer-specific stadium in MLS to illuminate its field using high-efficiency LED sports lights. The new, upgraded lights use over 60 percent less energy than the lighting array they replaced while still offering athletes enhanced vision of the field.

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 first team trains at Dignity Health Sports Park. The Galaxy use the stadium and its facilities for all team-related activities: on-field training, strength and fitness training, sports science and player rehabilitation or recovery.

The LA Galaxy have invested heavily to upgrade all player facilities, including a state-of-the-art workout room, weight room, spa room, equipment room, additional space and offices for team technical and coaching staffs, and the newly-renovated Herbalife Nutrition player lounge area for the LA Galaxy, LA Galaxy II and all LA Galaxy Academy teams. The club invested $1 million last year to renovate Field 7, which is used as the official training field for the LA Galaxy Girls’ Academy. The renovation featured enhanced field lighting and the installation of AstroTurf’s cutting-edge DT32 System, replacing the previous crumb-rubber synthetic field.

The LA Galaxy are the only club in the US that offers use of the same location and facilities for players from the youth level to the professional first team.

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

LA Galaxy II play in the USL Championship. Operating/salary budget is $2.4 million.

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MINNESOTA UNITED

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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)?

[Questions unanswered.]

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

[Question unanswered.]

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

We are investing more than $1 million per year in our academy programs. We have U13, U14 and U15 academy age groups. It is only the third year for the academy program and it is growing year over year.

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 total domestic and international scouts. On top of our scouting department, we have three firmly established scouting networks via [head coach] Adrian Heath, [Sporting Director] Manny Lagos and [Director of Player Personnel] Amos Magee. 

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?

There are 14,500 season ticket members in 2019 (capped). We have more than 5,000 people in The Preserve, which is our season ticket member wait list. There were 14,500 season ticket members in 2018 (capped).

Average attendance in 2018 was 23,902 (included a Minnesota pro soccer record crowd of 52,242 on Oct. 21).

We are in the second year of a three-year TV rights agreement. We are responsible for all the production costs, but we maintain all the rights inside the broadcast and have sold out all our ad inventory.

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?

This is the inaugural season for Allianz Field, the $250 million, privately-financed stadium in Midway, Saint Paul.

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 National Sports Center in Blaine, MN. We signed a 15-year agreement with two 10-year options. 

We have upgraded two private natural-grass fields with fencing/Skrim. We are unique in the fact that we have an indoor turf field and an outdoor turf field in order to cope with Minnesota winters. We have completely remodeled the team areas including locker rooms, team lounges, trainers areas and boot rooms.

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

We have a 2019 affiliation with Forward Madison of USL League One. The long-range plan for the club is to have our own USL team. We are targeting 2020. 

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PORTLAND TIMBERS

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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)?

As one of the higher spending teams in the Western Conference in transfer markets, the Timbers consistently have featured their full complement of three Designated Players and have made significant investments in these players in the form of transfer fees and salary over the last three years, including the club-record signing of forward Brian Fernandez in May 2019. Moreover, the Timbers, who have advanced to MLS Cup in two of the last four seasons, have made significant investments in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) players in that span, notably with the additions of six new TAM players over the last two seasons.

The club will spend its full allotment of mandatory and discretionary TAM equaling approximately $4 million over the course of the 2019 season. For the 2019 season, the Timbers roster features three DPs and nine TAM players.

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

Including trades within MLS, the club has accrued over $2.5 million in transfer fees over the past two years. Additionally, the club has turned down transfer offers for more than six players over the past two years—including a substantial, multimillion-dollar offer this January—as the fees did not represent a significant gain to the Timbers.   

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 Timbers have increased their spending significantly in player development over the past three years. The club features a wholly-owned USL affiliate, Portland Timbers 2, and loses a net $4 million per year between its youth development programs and T2 ($3 million on youth development, $1 million on T2).

The club continues to increase investment in its academy and player development each year, with the goal of consistently producing players who contribute to the first team (despite inherent challenges related to the club’s limited homegrown territory.) This offseason, the Timbers continued to realize increasing benefits from the USL program with the first-team signings of Marvin Loria and Renzo Zambrano from T2. 

Additionally, the club has invested in a significant expansion to its facilities to accommodate considerable growth, and has steadily increased spending on its development staff and the number of robust partnerships across its territory. The Timbers operate five fully-funded youth teams within the academy system. 

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?

In December 2018, the club invested in the promotion of Ned Grabavoy to technical director. He will oversee all the club’s scouting and recruitment. Under Grabavoy’s direction in the scouting department, the club currently has six individuals involved in scouting domestic and international players. The club is currently spending over $600,000 on its scouting staff and various scouting platforms. 

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 Timbers have sold out every home regular-season and playoff game (140+ games and counting) since joining MLS in 2011. We averaged a capacity 21,144 fans per game once again in 2018 and capped annual memberships at 15,500. The club has led the league in renewals each year since the inaugural 2011 season. With the completion of an $85 million transformation to Providence Park—including the addition of approximately 4,000 new seats—the Timbers have increased the number of annual memberships by approximately 3,000 for 2019, capping the total at 18,500. The club continues to have more than 13,000 fans on its annual member wait list.  

The club does not disclose sponsorship revenue but consistently has been among the top five in MLS in total sponsorship revenue. Similarly, the Timbers have one of the most favorable local TV deals in the league, featuring a five-state footprint and production quality among the best in MLS. The club controls all inventory as part of its broadcast deal, and all local broadcast media is sold in-house.

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 is investing more than $85 million in private funding to transform Providence Park, further enhancing one of the best fan experiences in the league and allowing the Timbers and Thorns to remain among the most competitive and commercially successful teams in their respective leagues.

The stadium relaunch raises the capacity to more than 25,000 and allowing the club to accommodate a sizable number of fans on the team’s annual member wait list. The project includes extensive enhancements to the entire venue, including a massive, state-of-the-art video board/scoreboard more than twice the size of the previous board, new LED field lighting, new locker rooms for both the Timbers and Thorns, a new team store, new and refreshed concession stands and concourse amenities on the west side of the stadium, and additional ingress/egress gates. 

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 Timbers Training Center underwent a complete transformation in 2018, tripling the space at the team’s training headquarters to 24,000 square feet. As part of the more than $5 million in improvements, the project included a new weight room, a film theater room for game study and match prep, a new gourmet kitchen with two full-time team chefs, and a customized workspace for the team barber.

The transformation also included new dining facilities, a players’ lounge, new and expanded locker rooms, staff offices for T2 and the Timbers Academy, four new training tubs with expanded treatment areas, an enlarged coaches’ area, and new media studio space and press facilities. Additional plans are underway to add fields for use by both the first team and academy. 

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

The club owns and operates a USL team (Portland Timbers 2) and an NWSL team (Portland Thorns FC). Thorns FC consistently has featured a roster of some of the top national and international women’s players and have won two NWSL championships and one NWSL Shield in their six seasons. It ranks as the top-attended women’s professional sports team in the world and averaged more than 16,000 fans per game once again in 2019. Thorns FC advanced to a second consecutive NWSL championship game in 2019, their third in six NWSL seasons. Portland played host to the league’s title game for a second time in 2019, drawing a record crowd (21,144) for a U.S. women’s professional soccer championship match.

The club’s USL team, T2, is entering its fifth season in 2019 after earning its first playoff berth during a successful 2018 USL campaign. The club invests heavily in both programs, with the investment in the women’s game and the Thorns’ position as the gold standard for women’s soccer serving as a reflection of its overall ambition as a soccer club—not just a men’s soccer club.

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REAL SALT LAKE

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[Declined to respond.]

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SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

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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)?

In both 2015 and 2016, we had three Designated Players for the first time in team history. In 2017, we had three DPs and signed our most expensive player in club history, Vako Qazaishvili, in the summer transfer window. For 2018, we purchased Magnus Eriksson for a significant transfer fee and also had Vako and Chris Wondolowski as DPs on our roster. 

This season, we currently have two DPs—Vako and Wondolowski—and have plans to add another in the summer window. We spent TAM in the offseason to bring in Judson and Cristian Espinoza on loan from Brazil’s Tombense and Spain’s Villarreal, respectively, while paying a transfer fee for fast-rising, 19-year-old fullback Marcos López from Peru. López was highly sought after in South America and has a high upside with good future transfer value. He has already made an appearance for Peru.

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 Quakes fully fund all their boys’ academy teams, ranging from U12 to U19. Additionally, we have a youth club with 30 boys’ teams and 15 girls’ teams based in San Jose. We fund numerous scholarships for players in the youth club across all age levels. In 2017, we also started a girls’ Development Academy program and hired Andres Deza, one of the best-known girls’ youth coaches, to run it. We have numerous scholarships for that program as well. We also spend a significant sum out of pocket to support the girls’ academy.

We have continued with two new fully-funded programs to help identify youth talent in the area, Partners in Development and U8 training. The Partners in Development program brings together top local players 8-11 years old for training with our academy coaches. We have partnered with a number of youth clubs on this initiative. The players stay with their own youth club, but they get the experience of practicing at our stadium with our coaches a few times a month. 

The U8 program was a new initiative in 2018 to set up training for young players with our academy coaches. We continue to have Regional Development Schools that serve as ID camps. The RDSs are located all over the Bay Area so that we can identify the best young talent in the region.

We are continuing to work toward a youth complex in San Jose. Finding the right location is still difficult due to the scarcity of land in San Jose. Ownership has committed to building the complex once the land is identified.

We continued to make big strides with our academy the past 12 months. We recently signed the youngest player in team history, Cade Cowell, at 15 years and 102 days. He is already impressing in first-team training and could be in the mix for playing time soon. We had four Homegrown Players on the field at the same time in a game at the end of 2018: Tommy Thompson, JT Marcinkowski, Gilbert Fuentes (age 16) and Nick Lima. Fuentes and Cowell represented the U.S. U17 team in 2018. Marcinkowski started five games to end the season as a rookie in 2018.

Lima started and played his first two games for the U.S. national team this winter after completing his second season. He probably made biggest splash in January camp of any player, including being named the man of the match in his debut against Panama.