Peter Siemsen, president of Brazil’s Fluminense football club, spoke at an event organized by the Latin American Business Association (LABA) at Columbia Business School in New York. He revealed Fluminense’s plans to buy a football team in the USA.
“Our goal is to find a soccer team in the US and bring Fluminense’s name, jersey, brand, and excellence in soccer management.
It can be very positive since here in the US there is a sense of community around local soccer clubs. We are aiming to acquire an American soccer team playing not in the Major League Soccer (MLS) but in one of the two secondary leagues [NASL or USL].
It is part of our international expansion master plan. We will strengthen not only Fluminense’s brand but also our image of excellence in soccer management at the same time that we develop new consumer markets.
At first, our main goal is definitively not related to buying and selling soccer players. We already have partnerships with other clubs to do that around the world.”
The MLS is doing a tremendous work. We can even watch MLS soccer matches in Brazilian TV on Sunday evenings.
It is impressive the smart way the league has been growing by building cheap and small but yet extremely comfortable stadiums. As a consequence, areas that do not have a huge Latin America population like Portland and Seattle, see their teams playing at sold-out stadiums almost every single match.
This has a huge importance in terms of the growing marketing potential of the league.”
Indeed, the MLS has been growing exponentially. Ten years ago only one MLS team played in a soccer stadium. Today, 14 have their own.
The MLS has the third-highest average attendance in sports in the US, only behind the National Football League and Major League Baseball. Naturally, NBA arenas are way smaller and hold fewer fans.
Asked about partnerships with Brazilian companies to support this project, Siemsen replied, “It is premature to talk to any company. Considering the cost of the project, what makes more sense for us is to get in alone and see if we need a company as a partner later on. Fluminense’s main partner in the U.S. currently is 2SV Sports, managed by Ricardo Villar, a Brazilian who played professional soccer in the USA, and is helping us on this front as well.”
Asked about the location of the football team, Villar mentioned that “it will most likely be in the East Coast but we should define soon.”
In June, Fluminense’s professional team will spend seven days in Orlando, practice two days in Disney and play a friendly match against Orlando city.
Fluminense also participates in a project that helps Brazilian high school graduates fluent in English to get soccer scholarships to go to college in the US. [Source: Forbes.com]
It’s important to add that the New York Cosmos is also part of the New York City football landscape. The franchise’s first step revival will be the NASL.
The New York Cosmos owned by Seamus O’Brian announced plans for a $400 million, privately financed stadium project, including retail, restaurants and a hotel in the Long Island area which is a mistake in my opinion.
It seems that the New York football market is tremendously buzzing!
With New York Red Bulls (located in New Jersey) not established so far as THE New York football club, the Cosmos revival starting in the NASL, and the speculations as to Manchester City are close to being awarded the MLS 20th franchise in Queens NY, now Fluminense is in the race.
Football in New York is becoming more and more exciting!