By Grant Wahl
March 14, 2014

Seattle Sounders fans Seattle boasts 34,000 full season equivalent season-ticket holders, by far and away the most in MLS. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

For my third annual MLS Ambition Rankings, I decided to take a deeper dive than in the previous two and contacted all 19 clubs for information regarding their investments and returns on their teams. The idea was to learn things I didn’t necessarily already know, and in that the survey certainly succeeded.

Here's a deeper look at some of the numbers behind the rankings, provided by team and league officials:


Local TV: 26 games carried on My50; 23 to air regionally in Wisconsin.

Local Radio: All games broadcast on Spanish station La Ley (also Spanish home of Chicago Bears); Club initiated first investment in English radio in 2014, piloting a weekly radio show (with digital/podcast extensions) on ESPN 1000.

Season Tickets: 6,300 in 2013

Sponsorships: Not disclosed; Club has doubled size of corporate partnerships since 2010.

Practice Facility: Club trains at Toyota Park; In process of building $20 million Chicago Fire Soccer Center in downtown Chicago, will be used by the club for training in cold weather or to prepare for playing on turf, in addition to other purposes.

Youth Development: Seven-figure annual investment. Club has fully-scholarshipped academy; More than 75 players with academy ties drafted by MLS teams; Club has signed four Homegrown Players.

Daily Training Table Meals: Breakfast and lunch provided to team every training day. Club employs a team nutritionist.


Local TV: Club is in talks with "several interested partners" about a local deal; 10 matches are broadcast nationally on UniMas and Univision.

Local Radio: All matches will be broadcast in Spanish per the club's deal with ESPN Deportes Radio.

Season Tickets: Undisclosed.

Sponsorships: Undisclosed; no jersey sponsor.

Youth Development: The club "invests heavily" in the area, with fully funded U-13, U-14, U-15, U-16, U-18 and U-23 programs. The club has signed two Homegrown Players.

Practice Facility: The club trains at the StubHub Center's practice fields.

Daily Training Table Meals: Provided by club's own chef.

Other Details: The club was purchased by MLS from Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes for about $70 million as the league attempts to resell and rebrand the franchise while keeping it in the LA area (but with its own stadium location).


Local TV: All non-national games on Altitude (30 this season).

Local Radio: Every regular season game broadcast in English and Spanish. Details being finalized, set to be announced before season opener on Saturday.

Season Tickets: 5,000 for 2014, up from about 4,300 in 2013.

Sponsorships: Undisclosed, but revenue up more than 15% compared to 2013; no jersey sponsor.

Youth Development: Undisclosed spending has "gone way, way up"; fully-funded U-14, U-16 and U-18 development academy teams; club has signed three Homegrown Players.

Practice Facility: Club trains on field at Dick's Sporting Goods Park complex.

Daily Training Table Meals: Lunch provided after every practice.


Local TV: 33 matches to be aired on Time Warner Cable.

Local Radio: All matches broadcast in English and Spanish.

Season Tickets: Currently ahead of last year's pace; ended with just more than 7,500 in 2013.

Sponsorships: Undisclosed total, but club had an 18 percent increase in gross sponsorship revenue in 2013.

Youth Development: Undisclosed financials; club has signed eight Homegrown Players, seven of which are currently on its roster.

Practice Facility: Club trains at league's first practice venue, with renovations being wrapped up; was independently financed ahead of 1997 opening.

Daily Training Table Meals: Provided.

Other Details: Under new owner Anthony Precourt, club invested in new stadium scoreboard, improvements to training facility, home locker room, stadium concourse.


Local TV: 16 games shown on local Comcast affiliate.

Local Radio: In process of finalizing; expecting all home games to be aired in English and Spanish.

Season Tickets: Similar numbers to last year, though numbers not disclosed.

Sponsorships: Undisclosed; Replaced Volkswagen with Leidos as jersey sponsor.

Youth Development: Financials not disclosed; Club has signed seven Homegrown Players, including transferring Andy Najar to Anderlecht.

Practice Facility: Club trains at practice field near RFK Stadium.

Daily Training Table Meals: Lunch provided.


Local TV: Every game is televised locally.

Local Radio: Every game broadcast in English and Spanish; Club also part of a weekly one-hour talk show in both English and Spanish (new this season).

Season Tickets: Undisclosed, but club is anticipating fourth straight year of double-digit attendance growth, and season ticket base is up by more than 30 percent from 2013.

Sponsorships: Undisclosed financials, but projected to have the highest sponsorship revenue in its history in 2014 on heels of first jersey sponsorship in 2012 and renaming stadium in 2013.

Youth Development: Club aiming to develop players as young as 7 with a club philosophy spread across the academy to the first team; FCD has signed 11 Homegrown Players, eight of whom have played for the first team.

Practice Facility: Club trains adjacent to Toyota Stadium at the $105 million Toyota Soccer Center, which was funded in partnership with the city, county, school district and U.S. Soccer (breakdown undisclosed).

Daily Training Table Meals: Provided.


Local TV: 27 games on English TV (deal with CSH Houston is worth $1.25 million per year); seven games on Spanish TV, KTMD Telemundo Houston.

Local Radio: All regular season games on English and Spanish radio.

Season Tickets: 12,000, same amount as last season.

Sponsorships: Details not disclosed, but club states it is in top quarter of MLS teams regarding sponsorship revenue; no jersey sponsor.

Youth Development: Spent $5 million since club's program inception in 2007; Signed five Homegrown Players, three of whom have received first-team minutes in MLS play.

Practice Facility: Trains at Houston Sports Park. Club did not build the $15 million facility, but entered into public/private partnership with the City of Houston to develop it.

Daily Training Table Meals: Provided.

Other Details: Club is profitable; Organization also runs NWSL's Houston Dash; Club hosted first-ever MLS testimonial match for Brian Ching, raising $125,000 for charity.


Local TV: Club has $5 million/year deal with Time Warner Cable Sportsnet/Deportes; 21 games aired in English, 16 in Spanish.

Local Radio: All regular season games aired in English and Spanish. English either on am station or via club website.

Season Tickets: More than 7,500, up from 4,500 in 2011.

Sponsorships: League-best in sponsorship revenue per year, about $14 million with an increase expected this season.

Youth Development: First club to own and operate a second-division team (LA Galaxy II in USL PRO). Club invests "millions of dollars per year" on youth. Club has signed seven Homegrown Players.

Practice Facility: Club trains at AEG-built StubHub Center.

Daily Training Table Meals: Meals provided before and after training. Club formed Sports Science Department, which includes nutritionist brought over from Tottenham.

Other Details: Club president Chris Klein voted into Sports Business Journal's 40 Under 40 list.


Local TV: 21 games aired in French.

Local Radio: 34 regular season games aired in English. Home opener to air in French as well.

Season Tickets: 8,300 in 2013. Targeting 9,000.

Sponsorships: Undisclosed.

Youth Development: An average of $1 million per year has been spent since the club's MLS launch, and a pre-academy with five teams (from U-8 to U-12) launches in April. Club has signed five Homegrown Players.

Practice Facility: Club trains at the city-owned Claude-Robillard Sports Complex. Second-division Impact used to play there too, before Stade Saputo. Team is looking into building its own facility as its "next big project."

Daily Training Table Meals: Sometimes.


Local TV: All regular season, playoff games are broadcast on local Comcast affiliate.

Local Radio: All games broadcast on 98.5, Boston's highest-rated station, and the same station that carries Celtics, Patriots and Bruins games.

Season Tickets: Undisclosed but currently up 15 percent over 2013 numbers and anticipate being at 20 percent increase in 2014.

Sponsorships: Undisclosed financials, but club claims to be up 10 percent from its previous numbers in 2014.

Youth Development: Undisclosed financial commitment, but club does "invest heavily" in area. Fully funded U-14, U-16 and U-18 teams, and all academy players have access to all first-team facilities. Club has signed two Homegrown Players.

Practice Facility: Team trains on site at Gillette Stadium with its own team-built facilities. Includes grass field, two other fields, indoor venue if needed.

Daily Training Table Meals: Breakfast and lunch buffets every day.

Other Details: Club is eyeing an urban, downtown stadium solution after sharing Gillette Stadium with the New England Patriots, who are also owned by Robert Kraft.


Local TV: Multi-year contract with MSG networks, financials undisclosed. All games on TV (22 on MSG networks, others on national broadcasts)

Local Radio: No games in English. Working toward another Spanish radio deal.

Season Tickets: Not disclosed.

Sponsorships: Not disclosed.

Youth Development: Signed eight Homegrown Players from lauded Academy, five of which have played for first team.

Practice Facility: Club uses a team-built, multi-million dollar venue in East Hanover, N.J.

Daily Training Table Meals: Breakfast and lunch fully catered for team.


Local TV: 28 games on local TV, remainder on national broadcasts.

Local Radio: No game broadcasts; club has a weekly hour-long soccer-specific show.

Season Tickets: More than 11,000, increased from 2013.

Sponsorships: Expected to be $8 million this season, increased from 2013.

Youth Development: Club has spent $4.7 million in the area over the past five years, including $1.6 million in 2013. Anticipates spending $2 million a year going forward. Union have signed three Homegrown Players.

Practice Facility: Club trains at PPL Park and at fields owned by local youth club partners. Plans in place for own training fields, with hopes to open them by end of 2014.

Daily Training Table Meals: Provided.


Local TV: All games on English television, including weekly magazine show on Fox affiliate; 10+ games on Spanish television; with ads and sponsors factored in, deal is in low seven figures.

Local Radio: All games on local radio in English and Spanish; weekly two-hour show on flagship radio station.

Season Tickets: Capped at 15,300 with a waiting list of more than 9,000; Every MLS game in club history has been sold out.

Sponsorships: Undisclosed, but club claims it is third in annual revenue behind LA and Seattle and has grown in sponsor revenue each year it has been in MLS.

Youth Development: "Significant" undisclosed investment in area; club has signed three Homegrown Players. Timbers run State of Oregon's ODP youth program.

Practice Facility: Club built adidas Timbers Training Center, 10 minutes from Providence Park, for a little less than $10 million.

Daily Training Table Meals: Fully catered. Club employs a nutritionist.

Other Details: Club operates NWSL champion Portland Thorns; Club owner Merritt Paulson recently elected to USSF's Board of Directors.


Local TV: All 27 non-national games on TV.

Local Radio: Every MLS, Open Cup, exhibition game aired on English and Spanish radio; have been every year of club's existence.

Season Tickets: Passed 10,500 for first time in team history, and is expected to be between 11,000-12,000 in 2014. Had just 3,800 in 2008, final season before moving to Rio Tinto Stadium.

Sponsorships: Nearing $11 million in sponsor revenue.

Youth Development: Spent about $2 million in the last five years, with almost $500,000 spent on the RSL-AZ academy in the last year; signed six Homegrown Players.

Practice Facility: In third season at club-built America First Field, which cost almost $1 million.

Daily Training Table Meals: Instituted breakfast last year, added lunch this year.


Local TV: 27 games aired on local Comcast affiliate, worth $600,000 per year.

Local Radio: All games aired in English and in Spanish.

Season Tickets: 5,000 in 2014, up from 4,500 in 2013.

Sponsorships: Undisclosed; no jersey sponsor.

Youth Development: Undisclosed financials; club signed its first Homegrown Player this winter.

Practice Facility: Club built $1 million facility next to site of new stadium in 2010.

Daily Training Table Meals: Breakfast and lunch provided every day.

Other Details: Club is privately financing its new stadium, with cost between $70 and $100 million.


Local TV: 21 games (all of the club's games that are not nationally televised)

Local Radio: Every game available on English and Spanish radio

Season Tickets: 34,000 full season equivalent season-ticket holders. 33,400 last season.

Sponsorships: Undisclosed; said to be ranked second in annual revenue behind LA.

Youth Development: Club spent about $5 million in its first five years in MLS; Will spend about $1.3 million in 2014. Club has signed three Homegrown Players.

Practice Facility: Club trains at Starfire Sports Complex (did not build it).

Daily Training Table Meals: Provided.


Local TV: 23 games on local TV (12 on national -- one on UniMas overlaps); added eight regional affiliates spanning nine states in the midwest. Club has seen 34 percent increase in ratings from 2012-2013; 350 percent increase since 2010; Deal is worth $460,000 in 2014.

Local Radio: 34 games on Spanish radio, 20 on English radio -- in addition to one-hour weekly show.

Season Tickets: Capped at 14,000, which was achieved in 2013 and 2014. Waiting list of more than 3,000 people.

Sponsorships: $7.1 million in 2014, up from $4.3 million in 2013. Stadium naming rights talks ongoing for team-owned $200+ million arena.

Youth Development: Spent $4 million in the last five years, almost $1 million last year with plans to increase. Club has signed three Homegrown Players.

Practice Facility: Built own $5+ million facility in 2007 at Swope Soccer Village and added $13.44 million to current construction. When completed, it will include nine full-size fields (three different surfaces), locker room, team offices, players' lounge, treatment, meeting and workout rooms, media room.

Daily Training Table Meals: Breakfast provided every day, lunch once a week.


Local TV: All games broadcast regionally and nationally in Canada.

Local Radio: Intention for all games to be broadcast.

Season Tickets: 17,000, up from 14,600 in 2013.

Sponsorships: Undisclosed.

Youth Development: Undisclosed financials; club has six full-time academy teams, three part-time; club has signed nine Homegrown Players.

Practice Facility: Club trains at the MLSE-owned Kia Training Grounds and Academy; cost $19 million.

Daily Training Table Meals: Breakfast and lunch provided every day there is training.

Other Details: Club spent almost $100 million to land Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe during offseason. Former AEG chief Tim Leiweke now runs MLSE and spearheads club's major moves.


Local TV: All matches aired nationally on TSN.

Local Radio: All matches aired in English with two-hour pregame show and postgame show.

Season Tickets: A little more than 13,000, which is "slightly ahead" of last year.

Sponsorships: Income up "slightly" from last year; club maintains it is in top third in the league.

Youth Development: Invested a "substantial amount of money" in the department, which includes a fully funded full-time residency program. Created multiple regional academy centers with more planned; club has signed nine Homegrown Players, six of which are on the current roster.

Practice Facility: Team trains at the University of British Columbia, where it is planning on building a $29 million national soccer development center in conjunction with UBC and the BC government.

Daily Training Table Meals:

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