August 15, 2015 at 3:14 pm #20982
The Union is set to make a major announcement at Goodman Stadium on Aug 19.
Hopefully a boost to Lehigh soccer.August 16, 2015 at 1:52 am #20993
My guess (given the USL representative’s appearance): Union aligning with a new or moved http://www.uslsoccer.com/ team to play on the Goodman campus — with younger guys than the old Pennsylvania Stoners had.
Agreed — hopefully good for everyone. We’ve got great facilities and the Valley has some great soccer fans.August 16, 2015 at 1:56 am #20995
Actually, just found this:August 16, 2015 at 2:13 am #20997
Nice find! I hope they are able to get the Bethlehem Steel name; cool historical connection!August 17, 2015 at 2:14 am #21021
Could be good for the soccer program certainly, but I think the football team could stand to benefit from this as well. Upgrades to Goodman? Maybe part of the arrangement is that the Union pay for some upgrades to the facility (video board?). There are some pretty nice facilities in the USL. Even if the Union aren’t outright investing in Goodman, their lease payments should add some unbudgeted revenue to the Athletic Department.
Don’t see a downside here.August 17, 2015 at 2:19 am #21022
Good point SB!!August 17, 2015 at 4:12 am #21023
SB has a great point about Goodman. That would be a real bonus. Soccer not yet a big money sport in US. How much would Union be willing or able to spend. Corporat sponsored vidoe Board perhaps?August 17, 2015 at 4:36 am #21024
That’s what I’m thinking, Rich. Hadn’t thought about it before SBum’s post – but he’s right on. Either upgrades OR lease payments, is my guess. I’d take the upgrades!!August 17, 2015 at 4:43 am #21025
Me too. No rent,just upkepp and broker a Crp.sponsor for video board,which will show paid ads.
Can see it nowGoodman Video board brought to you by Wawa and Chpotle.August 17, 2015 at 2:41 pm #21028
USL plays a 28 game schedule (14 home games) and has averaged 3,217 folks a game this season – so not an insignificant number of eyeballs over the course of a season. The league is growing like crazy as it develops into more of an MLB style minor league with the big clubs owning and having full control over players for their affiliate. There are also independent clubs competing against the affiliated clubs.
A relationship with the Union could also mean other potential revenue generators like exhibition matches, summer camps, maybe even training camps for the Union themselves. The Union actually have a residence academy for high school aged players to focus on soccer while still doing (some) schoolwork, and the USL team is designed to be a bridge between those kids and MLS. The quality of play should be pretty strong, though no idea if the Lehigh Valley will support it.
Part of me thinks it’s possible that the announcement is at Goodman but that the team could play elsewhere on campus. Not sure 16k seats is necessary for USL, but maybe the Union think it makes sense when accounting for future growth.August 17, 2015 at 3:07 pm #21029
Thanks for all the info. For soccer fans, a day at a Union’s game gets to be quite expensive especially for families. Tickets are pricey, parking is like $20 and there was very little on the concession menu under $10. This may be a nice alternative.
You mentioned the residence academies. Recently, they have become the lifeblood of Lehigh recruiting for soccer. Virtually the entire 2015 class originates from them. I don’t know the long term implications of it and I’ll assume they play in spring but I’m excited about the announcement.August 17, 2015 at 3:22 pm #21030
TMH. Are those prices for Union games or for other minor league affiliates? Sounds pricy for a minor league soccer game.August 17, 2015 at 3:43 pm #21031
Union games. I was just trying topoint out how a minor league affiliate would be a good alternative for a family to see quality soccer. The Iron Pigs and Phantoms are both doing quite well in this area. It’s actually amazing how many families and lacrosse youth groups come to our lacrosse matches too.August 17, 2015 at 4:20 pm #21032
Thanks. Makes sense. Hope it succeeds .August 18, 2015 at 12:38 am #21034
Good research, StablerBum. You need to join the LU athletics department and help execute these strategies. Lots of potential benefits.
“Minor league” soccer will take off once the USL and NASL and any other leagues merge and there is true relegation and promotion within these leagues and the MLS.
It’s been about 40 years since my first Cosmos game at Yankee Stadium. I’m heartened by the fact soccer teams can consistently pack 20k-seat stadiums, tons of kids (even nonsoccer players) on campus play the FIFA video game and it’s all over TV and the Internet.
I can’t imagine how successful it will become in the next 20 years, but my guess is college soccer will take a back seat as the best players go pro earlier.
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