It's been a very good year for FCD President Doug Quinn and his executive team. They've signed the long-awaited jersey sponsor and attendance is majorly up. I was lucky enough to have the chance to grab 10 minutes of his time on Wednesday for my FCDallas.com article.
Check out the article which touches on a bunch of different things including the beer garden, ticket sales numbers and, yes, a potential stadium expansion years down the road.
Given the constraints of word lengths for the articles, there was a ton of extra stuff from the interview that didn't make it into the piece so here's some of the most interesting excerpts from the chat. I'll include some thoughts in the comments below.
What do you attribute the consistent raise in attendance to?
One of the things I’ve had in my mantra since walking through the door is every year you’re going to see visible change. That includes, new players joining seasoned veterans and young hopefuls rising up into the opportunity performing like Matt Hedges, Zach Loyd and Fabian Castillo and even Brek Shea back in the day.
On the field the introduction of the beer garden and Lamar’s Tailgate, there’s a whole new crop of things that are coming for 2013 that I’ve already seen the designs and gotten the budgets approved both out in the complex of the stadium and things that we’re working with North End United and our supporters groups to do as well as our season ticket holders.
Another thing is we did some research on who our fans are, where they are and what message do we want to send. There’s really two groups. One group that watches on tv, we know where they live and how many times they’re actually going to come up here because they’ll come one two or three times.
Then there’s a group within a 20 mile radius that’s going to be season ticket holders. After really getting a handle on who they are and what they like, we crafted our message and crafted our marketing plans and initiatives to do what we call cornering the soccer corners going to where the soccer fans are and focusing on that 18 to 35 year old core soccer fan and making sure that’s who we’re going after.
Not that we’re not going after soccer moms and dads or kids but being a soccer parent myself, the reality is that group of people is going to come out once twice three times a year. And we’re still going to do all the things we do for them so they’ll continue to come out because they’re an important base for us to have.
The day in day out people who are going to be in the beer garden and filling our club seats on a regular basis are 18-35 or 45 core soccer fans with disposable income and time. We’ve got to make sure we pride, value and respect them and we’ve been able to do that.
Can you touch on what the plans are for the future going forward?
We’ve got a plan all the way through 2017 and obviously profitability is an important part of that plan. Getting a stadium naming rights partner is important and getting additional commercial partners that can help us do things because obviously the revenue helps us to have the resources to do what we want to do on and off the field...We’ve already sold close to 1,000 new season tickets from August, we’re already over 80% renewals from last year.
Most teams if they had 80% at the end of the year they’d be thrilled, our goal is 90%. It gets harder and harder every year as your base gets bigger and bigger. At the same time were doing everything we can.
…next year we’ve got some really great matches that will automatically improve our numbers. We’ll have Houston, LA twice, our fourth of july and our first kick. We think that those five will for sure sell out then add into that an x factor of some game that happens to light up and you could have 6 sellouts which would be the most we’ve ever had. I think what you saw for this last game [vs Chivas USA] is going to be more of the norm.
We’re going to introduce next year for the first time, alumni nights for FC Dallas graduating classes of academy and FC Dallas Youth. We’ve got 5,000 kids in our program right now, just imagine what it can be 10 years from now.
We’re building out another club that’s basically a beer garden for 25-35 year olds that want to have a little more PG experience. They still want to be next to it and part of it, they want higher level amenities but they still want to be right there. Just like the Cauldron in Kansas City, you’ve got the core base in the end zone and then you build out into the corners. Your corners are more family focused. You can’t ignore that someone is bringing their kid and want to be in the action but something that’s not R rated.