I got a good look at the U.S. Soccer Federation’s truncated budget documents for the next fiscal year (April 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015). The Board of Directors approved it and the membership must ratify it. I was not able to secure the itemized book — which typically runs hundreds of pages, as it did two years ago – so not as many juicy details are available this time.
Nonetheless, some highlights:
*In the overview, the USSF says:
“We are presenting a budgeted operating surplus, highlighted by continued investment in the technical development of the sport as well as our brand and fan base. … As we will soon be entering the next phase of commercial support and sponsorship contracts in 2015, we have already begun strategically planning for the next tier of expansion and technical development which the organization can provide to the sport throughout its landscape.”
The “next phase” of sponsorship includes a new deal with Nike, running through 2022. The previous pact, set to expire at the end of this year, brought $12.6 million in funding and equipment. Details of the new contract are not specified. However, overall sponsorship intake for fiscal year ’15 increases from FY ’14 and there is a notable uptick in monthly revenue from December 2014 ($1.5 million) to January 2015 ($2.5 million).
Overall, the USSF foresees almost $20 million in sponsorship revenue in fiscal year ’15, plus an additional $4.3 million earmarked by Nike for player development.
Other anticipated revenue sources:
Men’s and women’s national team home matches: $15.1 million
Player and membership registration: $5.8 million
Referee registration and other fees: $3.1 million
Coaching programs and schools: $2.3 million
*Addressing the sluggish economic landscape, the USSF says:
“While a majority of our revenue streams are fixed due to long term contracts, our greatest variable, and potential risk, is the one also affected most by the economy – Events. We originally projected a slight decline for matches not considered ‘premium’ (i.e. friendly matches for our MNT and WNT versus lower ranked opponents or played early in a team’s cycle). However, we continue to experience strong fan support, attendance levels and revenues trending higher than in previous years. Also, we anticipate consistent numbers for player and referee registration, while coaching school demand has remained strong and the number of classes offered is growing.”
Along those lines, the USSF is projecting a $3.17 million surplus for fiscal year ’14 ending this March 31 — “driven by strong MNT & WNT event revenues, hosting a Men’s World Cup Qualifier in a larger than planned stadium (Seattle) and winning the Gold Cup. Other favorable activities projected for the year include stronger than planned Licensing apparel sales, Supporters Club memberships and added Coaching schools to meet the strong demand.”
The qualifier at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field last summer drew 40,847 at higher-than-usual ticket prices; the other four qualifiers, played in mid-sized MLS venues, averaged about 20,000.
*The federation posted a $3.8 million deficit in fiscal year ’12 and a $3.7 million surplus in ’13. It is looking at a $5 million surplus in FY ’15.
*The USSF is proposing 10 men’s friendlies between April and November:
1 in April (home)
1 in May (home)
2 in June (home)
2 in September (away)
2 in October (away)
2 in November (home)
The April match would not fall on a FIFA fixture date and likely involve MLS and Mexican-based players. The May-June games will serve as the World Cup send-off series — the tentative dates are May 26-June 7. Venues and opponents have not been finalized. The September-November games fall on FIFA dates, but coming at the end of the World Cup cycle, it’s unclear whether the USSF will arrange high-end matches. (Of course, after winning the World Cup, those could serve as a Victory Tour. Heh.)
According to the budget, a typical home friendly generates $639,000 in revenue. The number fluctuates based on tickets sales, stadium expenses and other costs. An away match brings in between $25,000 and $75,000 but costs almost $400,000 in team expenses.
*In the build-up to CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifying in October, the USSF is proposing nine friendlies: eight home and one away (all likely to coincide with FIFA fixture dates). The home matches would be in April (2), June (2), August (2) and September (2), and the away game in May. A typical women’s friendly at home generates between $210,000 and $322,000 in revenue. An away game leaves a $100,000 deficit. CONCACAF has yet to announce which country will host the WWC qualifying tournament.
*USSF operating costs for fiscal year ’15 are estimated at $53.4 million. The largest expense is national team operations ($23.1 million, which is $8.6 million less than the previous year). This includes “administrative support, coaching staffs, events and tournaments along with player payments, bonuses and travel costs. It also includes the cost of running the U.S. Open Cup as well as the Futsal, Paralympic and Beach Nation Team programming.”
(The Open Cup is a national event, so USSF staffing is required.)
*The federation plans to spend $5.9 million on the U-14 through U-23 men’s and women’s teams — a 2.7 percent decrease from FY ’14. The amount fluctuates because of individual team schedules (World Cup qualifying and other international events). Overall, the USSF plans to pour $13.8 million into player development and $3 million into the Development Academy.
*The amount dedicated to officiating will “remain relatively flat to FY’14 levels, with continued focus on referee ID, training, education and development at all levels, supplemented by the work that the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) is doing at the highest level of officiating.”
*Administrative expenses will increase by $1.3 million, “mainly driven by spending in the Technology area for web site development and re-design and a new cross-functional database implementation. We have also created a new Development department focused on building donor relationships and unique VIP events.”
*Expenses for meetings and committees will decline by almost $1 million following centennial celebration events in 2013.
*The USSF will spend $807,000 on the National Women’s Soccer League this year, up from $526,000 in 2013. (The USSF is subsidizing the NWSL in the wake of the WUSA and WPS failures.)
*The USSF earmarks about $1 million for the U.S. Open Cup and realizes an annual surplus (projected at $261,000 last year, $47,000 this year).
*Coaching salaries, for the men’s and women’s teams at all age levels, total $4 million. More than half goes to Juergen Klinsmann ($2.5 million). The USSF recently extended his contract through the 2018 World Cup. Terms were not disclosed but he will probably collect up to $3 million in base salary. World Cup bonuses will reward him between $500,000 and $10.5 million, a story that broke on the Insider in September.
*The USSF’s World Cup budget for Brazil is listed at $2 million, but that might increase.
*What is the economic impact of playing in the futebol festival?
“The financial impact of the World Cup tournament, both revenue and expenses, is not included in the standard operating Budget and will be reviewed and treated as a stand-alone event, similar to prior years.”
In summary, the USSF says:
“We have proven to continuously out-perform current economic and market conditions, as well as conservatively manage an investment base for future needs. We believe that our commitment today to both technical programming and personnel will increase the overall value of our core property, and in turn increase future revenue opportunities.”