I spent part of my weekend leafing through the 604-page U.S. Soccer Federation budget for fiscal year 2013, which covers April 2012 through the following March. (I don’t recommend it.)
Want to know how much is spent on shipping costs for a board of directors meeting, cell phone stipends, auto maintenance, the value of office furniture or the number of players registered in Vermont? How about President Sunil Gulati’s travel expenses? It’s all in there. (Gulati is afforded $120,770 for 35 domestic trips and seven international visits.)
The budget, which was obtained by the Insider last week, must be ratified at the USSF’s annual general meeting in March in Miami.
Beyond the minutia that would numb even the most enthusiastic accountant, the book reveals a number of interesting figures and statements:
*The USSF is projecting a $6.6 million deficit in FY ’13 ($8.8 million operating deficit, offset some by $2.2 million investment income). “We believe our commitment today to both programming and personnel will increase the overall value of our core property and in turn increase future revenue opportunities,” the federation says in the budget report.
That “personnel” includes new U.S. men’s national team coach Juergen Klinsmann, whose base salary is $2.5 million – four times more than predecessor Bob Bradley earned. The USSF is also expanding the officiating program and continuing to invest in the Development Academy, which is designed to bolster the youth system.
The USSF is projecting a deficit of $4.5 million for fiscal year 2012, which ends this March ($6.1 million overall, offset some by $1.6 million investment income). The economy is partly to blame: “We anticipate continued negative impact on matches that are not considered ‘premium’ by our fans,” which refers to friendlies against low- or mid-tier opponents or matches played early in the year and World Cup cycle, the federation says.
From a marketing and sponsorship perspective, “we have long-term agreements in place [through 2014] with sustained revenue. We are also in the process of pursuing additional long-term sponsorship agreements that will help protect against any short-term economic downturns.”
In 2010 and ’11, the USSF banked surpluses totaling more than $8 million, most of it coming from investment income.
According to the budget, revenue in FY ’13 will come from sponsors ($12.5 million); men’s and women’s national team events ($11.6 million); player and membership registration ($5.7 million); referee registration ($3 million); and coaching programs ($1.5 million). Nike, a major sponsor, earmarked an additional $5.9 million for player development programs.
*The two Victory Tour matches for the U.S. women’s national team this fall grossed $1.1 million in ticket sales (35,000 total). The U.S. men’s national team friendly against world champion Spain in June netted $4.7 million in ticket sales (64,000) and revenue.
The women’s team is slated to play two away friendlies in April and one at home in May. It will also play three away friendlies in June and one at home in July before the Olympics (assuming the Americans qualify next month).
The women’s participation in the Olympics brings in an additional $250,000 from sponsors. Team expenses are projected at $1.8 million and winning the gold medal would trigger more than $1 million in bonuses for the player pool and a Victory Tour of up to 10 games.
If the women fail to win the gold and settle for silver or bronze, the bonus pool is very small (no specifics available) and the Victory Tour “would be adjusted accordingly,” just as the post-World Cup schedule was trimmed to two matches after the team finished second in Germany.
In stark contrast, the U.S. Olympic men’s squad wouldn’t receive any additional rewards for earning a medal in London. Why would the women receive enormous bonuses and the men collect slaps on the back?
The women’s riches are driven by the collective bargaining agreement between the women’s senior national team and the USSF. The women’s senior squad represents the United States at the Olympics, which, along with the World Cup, are the pinnacle of the players’ career.
The Olympic men’s squad is primarily for under-23 players striving for a place on the senior national team, where financial prizes are substantial in later years. (The U.S. men’s senior national team has a separate CBA with the USSF and doesn’t include the U-23s.)
The women’s CBA also calls for annual salaries for the primary players: $62,500, $43,750 or $31,250, which supplements their modest WPS contracts. The men have no such agreement. They do, however, receive appearance fees and bonuses for national team work; the women don’t.
*The men’s senior team is slated to play away friendlies in June and August 2012. The USSF will receive $25,000 for those appearances; team expenses are projected at more than $300,000 for each trip. A major home friendly (known as a “premium” match) is planned for June with 55,000 spectators at an average ticket price of $67 for gate revenue of $3.7 million. The event expenses plus U.S. team expenses would total $1.8 million, for an anticipated surplus of $1.9 million. (And you wonder why the USA plays Mexico at home regularly.)
The team is also pegged to play an away match next fall that would bring in $100,000 (offset by $400,000 in expenses). The World Cup qualifying schedule includes two matches in June, two in September and two in October, plus three in early 2013, assuming the Americans advance to the final round. The semifinal-round home games are money-losers because of typically modest turnouts for lower-ranked opponents. The away matches garner no revenue and cost nearly $600,000 apiece in expenses.
*The men’s youth program was $442,000 under budget this year, most of that due to the failure to qualify for the U-20 World Cup.
*For Division I sanctioning, MLS (19 clubs) paid the USSF $620,000 — $350,000 for the first 10 clubs and $30,000 for each additional team. WPS, with just five clubs, paid $350,000.
*In FY ’12, the USSF expects to collect $2.8 million in fees for sanctioning international matches at U.S. venues involving non-U.S. friendlies and exhibitions featuring visiting clubs – about $600,000 above initial expectations. FIFA and CONCACAF receive a percentage of those fees, and another share is earmarked for the state association where the match is held. Promoters have challenged the USSF’s right to collect the fee and filed suit. The case is pending.
*The USSF is making a substantial commitment to improving officiating by spending $3.8 million in FY ’13 – a $1.1 million increase over FY ’12. However, it’s not entirely a knee-jerk reaction to criticism leveled by MLS players, coaches and supporters about the quality of officiating; the USSF has said over the years it’s been looking to improve the program. However, the intensity of the criticism has undoubtedly sped up the process. Details of the revamped program are expected to be unveiled soon.
The FY ’13 budget includes $1.8 million earmarked for “referee performance,” which includes the pro referee department, full-time referee program, training camps, referee coach and match evaluation.
In FY ’12, the USSF budgeted $90,000 for such initiatives but expects to end up spending $1.15 million. It has also budgeted $639,000 for referee ID and training; in FY ’12, it budgeted $75,000 and anticipates spending $346,000.
Also in FY ’12, the USSF didn’t budget any money for referee education but will end up spending $532,000. For FY ’13, the budget calls for $631,000 in that area. It’s unclear how much MLS will help to offset the costs.
Not included in the budget details but confirmed by the Insider: Terry Vaughn, one of three full-time USSF referees and an MLS regular, will not return to the program next year because of subpar evaluations.