NSC Gets Serious in Request for Minnesota Stars Business Partners
The National Sports Center, owner of the NSC Stars pro soccer team, made another plea today for business partners in order to keep the team alive in 2011. The NSC released a more gently worded statement several weeks ago which IMS published and elaborated on. This statement gives a few more details than the original press release and explains the graveness of the situation.
Pro soccer to leave Minnesota unless National Sports Center is able to recruit financial partner
BLAINE, Minn. (August 30, 2010) – Several weeks ago, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) released new higher standards for Division 2 professional soccer teams playing in a USSF-sanctioned league in 2011. The NSC Minnesota Stars, which currently play in the USSF Division 2 league, are facing a dilemma. The team, which is owned by the non-profit National Sports Center (NSC) Foundation, is unable to meet the higher financial benchmarks necessary for league membership next year.
“While we support the efforts of the USSF to upgrade the standards for pro soccer, the new standards will necessitate that we find an organization or individual willing to join us as a financial partner,” said Kris Bjerkness, Stars’ General Manager. “That’s what we need to qualify under the new higher standards.”
“When we assumed ownership of the team last January, we were very public about our desire to eventually pursue a creative public/private ownership model to bring more financial resources to team operations,” continued Bjerkness. “Now’s the time for that to happen.”
The NSC acquired this new franchise in January 2010 and has operated the team throughout the USSF Division 2 league schedule, which started in April. The NSC Stars replaced the Minnesota Thunder which had played on and off at the NSC for 20 years.
The NSC has performed several tasks at a highly successful level. Stadium presentation, public relations, coaching staff, team selection, social media, website, and game-day operations and presentation have all been very positive.
However, the NSC has not met its goals in brand awareness, ticket marketing and sales.
The NSC believes that there is a great opportunity for a private investor to help us build on the successes and improve on those areas where the team fell short of goals.
The Stars have posted an average attendance of 1,413 through 13 home games of the inaugural 2010 season. Two more home games remain in the 2010 season, September 15 vs. the Carolina RailHawks and September 18 against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
“The team needs to be selling between 2,500 and 3,000 tickets per game to be financially successful” stated Kris Bjerkness, General Manager of the NSC Minnesota Stars.
“The NSC had many motivations in starting the Stars pro team,” said Paul Erickson, Executive Director. “But one of our primary reasons was to preserve the long and proud history of professional soccer in Minnesota at the highest level possible. We were happy to step in and keep pro soccer alive for this one year, but the new USSF standards mean that we can’t go forward without additional investment.”
“Ownership of a team based at the NSC is a unique opportunity,” continued Erickson. “The National Sports Center boasts one of the best soccer-specific stadiums in the country, at the largest amateur sports campus in the world.
“We are proud of what we have accomplished in the past eight months, but the reality is that we will need a new financial partner to continue pro soccer in Minnesota.”