Archive for the ‘#es480’ Category

Can the NWSL survive?

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Noah Dillon

Matt Clark


The ABL and USFL both failed to compete against larger organizations but experienced their demise in completely different ways for completely different reasons.


The American Basketball League (ABL) was founded in 1996 just a few months before the WNBA opened its doors. It promised “real basketball” and grabbed the best female players the USA had to offer at the time. After researching about both the ABL and WNBA the answers for failure became clear. The ABL, although having arguably better talent, was flat out boring and lagged in both ratings and fan views compared to the WNBA. Soon ESPN featured the WNBA game of the week but didn’t even mention the ABL scores in daily highlights. ABL advertising and games were run on channels that  no one watched. Nike got in on the action and backed the WNBA fueling the downfall of the ABL even further. Gary Cavalli the president of the ABL challenged the WNBA to something like a superbowl challenge but the WNBA turned the proposal down. Not long after the ABL continued on its downward spiral and became no more.

The USFL on the other hand tried to compete against the NFL by offering a different style of play. They had fewer regulations and made a game more into an entertainment spectacle with world class play. The USFL snatched Heisman trophy winners and NFL veterans to form their league. The downfall came when Donald Trump became somewhat of an unofficial spokesman for the league and tried to take the NFL head on by changing their spring games to fall. Quickly after this choice the league became somewhat of a laughing stock and fizzled down to nothing.

The only similarity between these situations is the problem of trying to take on another larger competitor head on. The ABL had to compete in an already small womens basketball market against the WNBA while the USFL had to compete against the Giant NFL. The ABL was run poorly and marketed in an ineffective way which led to its eventual demise. The USFL was seen as a joke by many and tried to challenge the NFL too soon which is why they were crushed in the end.

The NWSL, or National Women’s Soccer league, was established in 2013.  The season ran from April to August and was made up of 9 teams.  Each team played 22 games, 11 home and 11 away.  The league does have some super stars of women’s soccer, such as Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach, but it fails to appeal to soccer fans everywhere.  Last season, the inaugural season, the only way you could watch games was on YouTube or the teams’ own personal channel, this year games are going to broadcast on Fox Sports and Fox Sports 2.  It sounds great, they are getting on television, but those channels are not even close to being the most watched sports channels.

The biggest problem the NWSL is facing is marketing.  I think their big problem can easily become a speed bumps and not roadblock.  Marketing can be promoted by not over producing.  By this I mean they shouldn’t put out too much all at once.  You promote in a few select markets and let it grow each year.  They could also ask for assistance from the MLS, but I don’t know how much that would help because no one watches MLS soccer either.  Using the celebrity of Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach could also help the sport grow.  Those players, and others, have international success and can help promote their game in almost any market.  It will be interesting to see if they are able to maintain a steady presence in the soccer community


ABL vs. USFL: Keeping the Game Alive

Monday, April 21st, 2014

File-UnitedStatesFootballLeague.png                                                                           File-American_Basketball_League_(1996–1998)_(logo).png


In America, today, the people want to see sports on tv. The growing love of watching professional started long ago. But in the early 80’s it began to grow even more with the development of television. People could watch teams from across the nation. With ESPN growing as America’s flagship for sports entertainment, people wanted more. An antiques dealer from New Orleans by the name of David Dixon wanted to start an off season football league to be played in the spring and summer. He developed the United States Football League (USFL). In 1960 Dixon envisioned a spring and summer football league. FOr the next 15 years he prepared to make this happen. He studied the likes of leagues like the NFL, AFL, and World Football League. Dixon also formed a blueprint for the prospective league’s operations, which included early television exposure, heavy promotion in home markets, and owners willing to absorb years of losses,which he felt would be inevitable until the league found its feet in the market. Dixon then signed up 12 cities that would be host to the teams. 9 of those cities already had an NFL team in their respected city. Dixon set up million dollar television contracts with ABC and ESPN. USFL also had their own version of Monday Night Football. The USFL experienced problems in early years like most pro startup leagues. The league dealt with franchise instability, relocation, and closures. Another problem was trying to grow too quickly the league increased from 12 to 18 teams in the first two years. After financial problems the league declared CHapter 11 bankruptcy. When the league folded it lost over $163 million dollars.

The American Basketball League was a women’s basketball league that developed in 1996. It was formed after the growing interest of women’s basketball after the USA’s undefeated gold medal run in the ’96 summer games. The WNBA was being introduced to the public at the same time as the ABL. This led to conflicts with exposure and showed the lack of funds from the ABL. The ABL’s biggest problem was operating as a single entity structure. This made it so all major decisions and and operations were made out of the headquarters in Palo Alto, California. This didn’t help local markets who were trying to gorw and expand. The ABL could not keep up with the financial resources that the WNBA had and the league folded after 2 and 1/4 seasons.

The National Women’s Soccer League or the NWSL can learn some key points in trying to stay afloat from the USFL and ABL. One of the main things they can learn is trying not to expand too quickly until the nation has grasped the league and can hold attention. They should not try to compete with similar markets such as MLS. The biggest thing they need to overcome is how they’ll market the league. Their main target market should be girls between the ages of 7-19. This way they can get their attention early on and keep their attention for the rest of their life. You gotta start at the bottom.

Learning from ABL and the USFL to create a sustainable women’s soccer league

Monday, April 21st, 2014

To American society, it might seem it is easy for leagues to sustain themselves and flourish in a glamorous manner given the success of the big four professional leagues. However, to start off a professional league requires much luck, and financial planning and its common for leagues to fail. Two examples of failed professional sport leagues is the American Basketball League and the United States Football league which both folded after three seasons.

The USFL and the ABL were very different sport leagues, however they are similar in how they folded. The USFL had an issue of playing the quality of football that fans were used to watching the NFL. USFL couldn’t pull the top flight talent that the NFL did because most talented athletes from college went into the NFl. Also, even though the USFL played in the Spring, it had trouble generating interest. It was going to have to take away viewership from basketball, baseball, and hockey. The USFL finally folded because of no TV contract, a very ugly lawsuit(s) with the NFL, and a loss of $163 million between 1983 to 1985.

The ABL folded for many of the same reasons. The ABL was created right around the same time the WNBA was being formed. This meant the ABL was going to have to compete for top-level talent. They were also going to have to fight of TV time and media coverage in general. Interest for the league was going to have to be generated somehow and the ABL had to fight for little bit. In the end, the WNBA prevailed over the ABL because WNBA’s financial backing from the NBA compared to the owner’s limited budget of money. The league ultimately folded because of a $25 million dollar debt.

The National Women’s Soccer League can learn some things from these leagues in order to stay afloat. NWSL needs to generate interest for the league. Interest for soccer in the United States can be a struggle. It’s going to have to sign a TV deal so sponsorships start to flow in. Also, it’s going to have to market through promotions. The most important thing the NWSL can learn the USFL and the ABL is to have their finances in order. Players won’t play for free and sponsors won’t sponsor unless there is interest. One thing that they did learn from the past was letting their soccer players play for other leagues for more exposure and appeal. A key difference between the WNBA and ABA is that the WNBA let their players participate in other leagues. One benefit that has occurred from this action are national teams have pitching in for their players salaries to help relieve some of the financial burden on the teams itself. The teams also play in stadia appropriate for the size of their fan bases instead of playing in the nfl sized stadiums in order to pay less rental fees for games. With these adjustments from the past and smart budgeting, the National Women’s League has a real shot of developing into a economically sustainable league.

Kalen Dear

Opie Wilson

Video clips about the ABL and the USFL



Pedersen, P., Parks, J., Quarterman, J., & Thirbault, L. (2011). Contemporary sport management (4th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Chapter 12




Monday, April 21st, 2014

The ABL or American Basketball League was an independent professional basketball league in the United States. It consisted of nine teams and was competing with the growing WNBA. The ABL was created after the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, following the U.S Olympic team gold medal. The ABL become known for their deep talent pool and great paying salaries for female athletes. However, with players making all this money, how can the league pay for it with limited sponsors and TV exposure? The WNBA, though not having the better players or high paying salaries, still had TV time for their games thanks to the NBA and also having their season during the summer only competing with Baseball. Where as the ABL played during the winter with competing sports like NBA, College Football, NHL and College Basketball. With all this competition, the ABL couldn’t make enough money and had to file for bankruptcy in 1998, and the ABL became no more.

The USFL was a football league of its own in the late 80’s. Started by a business man David Dixon, he sought out an opportunity with the NFL during their off-season and created the USFL to play during that time. A league with 18 teams, and four Heisman Trophy Winners, they became more popular than the NFL and even began to sign players from the NFL. During their first 2 season, the USFL had TV contracts with ABC and ESPN as well as a huge fan base, and with that decided to file a lawsuit against the NFL, calming that the NFL was pressuring TV networks to not televise the games of the USFL. The Antitrust law was filed and sought out to claim $567 million, when trebled, would equal $1.7 Billion. After 48 days in court the jury decided that the NFL was monopolizing professional football but awarded the USFL just $1 and trebled to $3. The USFL later could not compete and fell into $160 million into debt and had to fold under.

Our advice for the NWSL, is to find and stay with as many sponsors as possible, they already have a deal with Nike so no need to do anything with that, and grow off of those to help grow the league. Though they play the season with the ending of NBA and beginning of MLB, TV time will be hard to get, so our advice for that is start small with say ESPN 3 and maybe NBCSports just to get face time and help get the name out there. Don’t try to compete with other big names sports during their seasons, which is what the ABL and USFL tried to do and look what happened to them!!!


Monday, April 21st, 2014


The American Basketball league was founded in 1996 for women and that was during the time the NBA founded the WNBA. Basketball was booming in the 90’s where U.S Olympic teams both men’s and women’s teams winning gold medals and the NCAA bringing up new talents. The ABL is an independent professional league where women can play the game they love, but the beginning of the season some teams in the league could not maintain their budgets and got cut from the league. The ABL then had to find new basketball teams that could be apart of the league and play other professional teams. The league was struggling to keep teams and declared bankruptcy.

Another league that attempted to go pro was the United States Football League for men who wanted to go professional as well. The owner of the USFL attempted to work and compete with the NFL. Play teams that were in the NFL and find TV deals like the NFL. The owner tried to have a bigger fan base by having the season start when the NFL was off-season. The USFL got into to some legal issues with the NFL and attempted to sue them for anti-trust. The USFL won the case of anti-trust and anti-monopoly of the NFL, but only won $3.00 The USFL lost over $130 million dollars.

I think both of these leagues tried to go big too fast, they did not have enough money to support the teams that were in their league. The owners do not know how to run a business and take care of teams, fields, stadium seating, selling tickets and making a profit.

Now the National Women’s Soccer League is a club league that has gone professional. I think they will have good business by learning from these previous league’s mistakes. the NWSL has corporate sponsors like Nike and sponsor the men’s league. The league both have men’s and women’s teams for every club, so that would bring more business to the league and become a business that will grow.




Monday, April 21st, 2014


The United States Football League (USFL) opened in 82’ and closed in 85’ after only 3 short seasons. Founded by David Dixon, from New Orleans, Louisiana, the USFL announced its formation on May 11, 1982, at the 21 Club in New York City. During 1982-1985, the USFL fought a bitter war with the established National Football League (the NFL) for players, fans, and media attention. In July of 1986, with a month before the league was to begin its first fall campaign, the USFL won its suit against the NFL, but was awarded $3.76. It’s time couldn’t have been better. The USFL was formed in 1982, right when the NFL was headed towards a strike. The first kickoff of the USFL in 1983 came just weeks after the Redskins were crowned Super Bowl champions after a strike-shortened nine-game season and playoff tournament. The USFL started to get into bidding wars for players. Some teams went bankrupt, in Los Angeles, the team was well known for the $40 million contract given to Steve Young. The USFL wanted to extend their success after their first successful season and tried to play games in professional stadiums but were unable to do so because of overlapping schedules with the NFL. Which along with the high salaries were reasons why it failed to exist after three seasons.

ABL or American basketball league was an independent professional basketball league for women in the United States. It only lasted from 96’ to 98’ for only 2 full seasons. On December 22nd, 1998, with almost no warning the ABL declared bankruptcy and suspended all operations. It had a higher quality of play than the WNBA did because it signed majority of its players from the 96’ national team, a possible reason it failed was due to the higher salaries offered compared to that of the WNBA. Financially they could not compete with the WNBA and had to shut down all operations.

What can the new National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) learn from those leagues in order to stay afloat?

Since there is not a larger women’s soccer league they’re not competing like the USFL had to compete against the NFL, or the ABL trying to compete against the WNBA. If they don’t make the same mistake of spending too much money on salaries like the USFL or the ABL did, and correctly market their league, they should be able to sustain a successful sporting organization.
For a short term marketing strategy:
I would market the individual players. All ten of the highest paid women athletes are from individual sports. However, I think marketing a single player like “Hope Solo” brought a lot of attention to women’ soccer, in my opinion. Probably not the right message, since I think she is a bit of a mess, but she brought awareness to women’s sport.

Long term success:
I would continue working with NIKE and other large corporations for potential sponsors to increase awareness. Possible Women only companies like Lululemon, Athleta, might see more value and give the sport more attention than possibly NIKE, a mega-corporation. Nike is too huge of a corporation to “worry” or spend extra time on such a small market. Women specific entities are more likely to spend more or extra time and effort specific to women’s sporting events.



DI coaching contract

Monday, April 7th, 2014



As an Athletic Director for a Division I school, I am here to set up games and tournaments for sports teams. I havefull responsibility for every sports team both men and women. Another part of my job is to help write coaching contracts which are made to define the coaches’ job and what they will be doing at the university. The coach is agreeing with the terms of the contract and will be making a commitment. The coach will follow the university’s policies about athletics and academics, they will know that athletes are students first.I take these contracts serious where  student athletes are in a safe environment and coaches are not abusing their power.


The news and media has shown coaches who were trusted and paid bya school, then abuses student athletes verbally, physically, and sexually. I am making sure that does not happen to anyone in my school. I will be setting up a contract for a head coach position for the women’s basketball team. Many coaches will be applying, the school will be looking for experience and back round checks. The salary of the job will be on the contract and may vary due to the basketball season. if our team gets into the national tournament and wins a championship, they might get a raise. All I want is the coach and their staff is to respect the contract and the school that hired them. If they do not, their contract will be terminated and would be removed from the university.

D1 Coaching Contact: Academic Success

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Coaches all too often receive large bonuses when their team is winning, but why not for their team’s academic success?

Education Secretary Arne Duncan believes:

Universities need to tie bonus pay of their coaches and athletics directors more prominently to their college athletes’ academic performance

And so do we!

Key elements to a coach’s contact located in the academic incentive clause include:

  • Implement policies and demonstrate behavior that advances academic success
  • A flat bonus for meeting graduation rates or academic progress rate (APR) scores
  • A team cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher

Meeting each element would earn the coach a bonus money signmoney signmoney sign

Penalties should also be in place to regulate a decrease in a team’s academic performance.



Let’s not forget UConn’s recent NCAA Tournament suspension for low Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores




Grambling was also hit hard with binding force for low APR scores.

Sanctions should also be in place for a decrease in APR score, which include:

  • Limited practice
  • Shortened season
  • Game forfeiture
  • Scholarship reduction

After a scholarship reduction sanction, the next step is to implement an Academic Enhancement Team to aid student-athletes.

The following link by the Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics sheds light on the athletic and academic discrepancies in a coach’s contract.

Do you ever wonder which school would win in an NCAA Academic Performance Tournament?

You’re not the first. In fact, Inside Higher Ed has an academic tournament giving the student-athletes and fans bragging rights in the classroom.

ncaa academic winnerThe 2014 winner is Kansas.






Coaching Student Athletes

Monday, April 7th, 2014

With the steadily increasing interest in college athletics, the importance of academics has decreased. Why is this? The student athlete is supposed to be student first, athlete second. But these days it seems they are athletes first and students eighth or ninth. Is this coach’s fault? Is there too much emphasis on the sport and little to none on academics? Nowadays, the elite athletes are only worried about if they’re going to make it to the league. The NCAA needs to get back to the original student athlete and get these players grades up; especially men’s basketball and football programs.

Adding incentives to coaches contracts could decrease the problem. The athlete has to want to work in the classroom also so the incentives should include them as much as possible. Also, I would suggest all teams be in some kind of study table with tutors.

  • If team gets a cumulative 2.5 GPA coach gets $5,000 bonus and players get new game shoes
  • If team has 2.75 GPA coach gets $10,000 bonus
  • If team has 3.0 GPA team gets off of study table

Obviously, it would be a very difficult task for a full football team to have a 3.0 but the schools could rearrange the contracts however they wanted to. It’s just my personal opinion that these athletes need to think realistically and that they are not going to be able to play their sport forever and need to think about real life. Their education needs to come before their sport and the person who can start that tradition HAS to be the coach and backed up by the institution.

Integrity of coaches and college athletics is at stake!

Monday, April 7th, 2014

With Division I sports falling under more scrutiny and being exposed to the public eye, controversy about multiple subjects has ensued rapidly. Many student athletes who colleges recruit reportedly are not equipped with the skills to effectively obtain a four-year college degree; UNC being the most notable college for claims such as these. Colleges are supposed to be about learning first correct? Therefore, a convincing plan needs to be erected to cover the best interests of both students and athletes.

If I were to add language to a D1 program coaching contract to address this issue I would break it into three distinct parts.

First, I would implement a rule that colleges can only recruit athletes who score one standard deviation below the mean on SAT ACT testing and no lower. Individuals who do score a deviation below the population must sit out as a freshman and obtain a college GPA equal to that equivalent of the average student at that specific institution. If they do not succeed their contract will either be dropped or they must complete another academic year with the required GPA and no sports play.

Second, stipulations for current athletes need to be implemented as well. Student-athletes who have met the criteria above and are eligible for play must maintain a GPA within .4 of the school average their freshman year, within .5 in their sophomore year, and within .6 for both their junior and senior year.

Third, I would make coach/staff incentives for upholding these stipulations as well as rewards for exceeding expectations. If coaches uphold the standards for a consecutive three seasons they will receive a bonus of between 100 and 200 thousand dollars. If they exceed the standards for any season they will be given a bonus between 200 and 500 thousand dollars.

The final area is graduation. Student-athletes must graduate at a rate within 5% of the school’s graduation rate. The coaches must obtain this within 3 seasons or risk being terminated.

If coaches do not meet the specified requirements of the last three articles they WILL be subjected to board review and possible termination.

The integrity of the college is at stake.  The love of succeeding on the playing field has become more important than the love of succeeding in the classroom.  There is so much temptation for these student-athletes, or athlete-student depending on whom you speak with, that it is hard to blame them for accepting “inappropriate” gifts.  The coaches are hired for one specific reason, to win.  If they don’t win, they don’t have a job.  Simply put, coaches are relying heavily on the student-athletes to ensure they have a job.  That last statement is one of the more obvious ones, but it needs to be said.  Not only is the integrity of the college at stake but the integrity of the head coaching position is as well.  Coaches are accepting students that barely make it into college.

This whole, “one and done” year that the NCAA allows is part of the problem.  You have athletes coming to the university solely to play basketball.  Yes, these athletics take classes and have to live on campus, but what isn’t required is they begin a legitimate path towards graduating with a degree.  I believe there needs to be a stipulation in the NCAA that requires student athletes to play a minimum of three seasons, if they choose to attend the school.  Currently coaches are putting more importance on performing on the field and not in the classroom.  Coaches have in the past, and assuredly will in the future, choose to ignore blatant rule violations if they athlete is performing well on the field.

To quote an article posted on, “If Emmert’s words are to mean anything, the NCAA is going to have to drop the hammer again — and probably again and again — or the idea of integrity in college athletics will remain the same sad joke it is now.”