April 7, 2010

Commissioner Antonucci Gives Positive Outlook in Kick-Off Conference

In a Kick-Off Week conference call, WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci gave a very positive outlook for the league's present and future, while acknowledging the challenge of overcoming a weak economy. Among the key points in her address:

1) Season ticket sales are up nearly 20% for returning teams.
2) Local sponsors are up about 150% on average.
3) Four teams have announced jersey sponsors already this year.
4) WPS hopes to improve attendance numbers by 5-10% over last year's 4600 average.
5) WPS is launching a new ad campaign, "Defend Your Turf" this kick-off weekend.

The commissioner cited other key developments including the partnership with Citi as the WPS's first league-wide jersey sponsor, expanding to a 24-game schedule into September, the launch of two expansion franchises in Philadelphia and Atlanta, the opening of a new soccer-specific stadium in Atlanta, and the growth of an international presence in the league with 19 countries now being represented.

The 2010 WPS season kicks off Saturday, April 10 in Washington with the Breakers taking on the Freedom. This is followed by 3 games on Sunday, April 11. The two expansion teams, the Atlanta Beat and the Philadelphia Independence face off in West Chester. Marta and FC Gold Pride travel to Saint Louis to face Athletica. Finally, the Chicago Red Stars travel to New Jersey to face defending champions Sky Blue FC in a nationally televised game on Fox Soccer Channel.