It is estimated a USL franchise based at Dillon Stadium would bring approximately 100,000 fans to the city per year.
Hartford Sports Group (HSG) is working to bring a United Soccer League franchise to Hartford as part of the effort to revitalize Dillon Stadium. HSG believes in soccer and believes in Hartford. This group of committed, local business leaders aims to amplify Hartford’s transformation with a redevelopment project that inspires civic pride, contributes to our city, and makes Hartford a rewarding place to live, work, and play. HSG is committed to excellence both on and off the field and looks forward to bringing many championships to Hartford.
HSG’s proposal has several key attributes. It is estimated a USL franchise based at Dillon Stadium would bring approximately 100,000 fans to the city per year. The project would also generate revenue that could be used to support the redevelopment of Coltsville, create jobs and generate millions of dollars in direct and indirect spending.
Additionally, similar-sized markets have excelled as USL franchises:
• FC Cincinnati is averaging more than 20,000 fans per game
• Sacramento Republic FC has sold out every league game since 2014, averaging more than 11,000 fans per game
• Louisville City is averaging nearly 9,000 fans per game
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HSG looks forward to taking part in the CRDA’s RFP process. If selected as the winning proposal, HSG is prepared to move forward immediately with plans to field a USL franchise in Hartford by as early as 2019.
After an extensive study of options, HSG has determined that the most suitable site to serve as a home for a Hartford franchise would be Dillon Stadium in the area of the city known as Coltsville and believes strongly that rejuvenating the stadium to meet the needs of a USL soccer franchise would be the most effective and fiscally responsible way to restore an historic community asset.
As a part of the original Colt gift, the lands of Dillon Stadium and Colt Park have long been a treasured community asset. Steeped in history, Dillon Stadium is an iconic Hartford venue. As a FERA (Federal Emergency Relief Administration) project dedicated in 1935, the stadium reached great heights before falling into disrepair – playing host over the years to everything from the annual Thanksgiving high school football game to professional soccer to concerts from the likes of the Rolling Stones, Beach Boys and the Grateful Dead.
Currently, Dillon Stadium is in a state of disrepair and unsuitable for most events, and a recent Request for Proposals from the Capital Region Development Authority for the redevelopment of Dillon Stadium provides an opportunity to rehabilitate this under performing asset. HSG will present a detailed response to the RFP outlining its commitment to the Dillon Stadium project in an effort to continue the resurgence of downtown and redevelopment of the Coltsville neighborhood and looks forward to working with the many groups already involved in this process, including the Coalition to Strengthen the Sheldon/Charter Oak Neighborhood and Colt Gateway.
ICON Venue Group, who has worked on six of the last eight Major League Soccer stadiums and is currently overseeing the Wrigley Field renovation in Chicago.
As part of HSG’s due diligence, HSG enlisted the help of ICON Venue Group — the leading Owner’s Representative and Project Management firm in the sports, entertainment and public assembly industry – to assess the stadium situation. ICON Venue Group, who has worked on six of the last eight Major League Soccer stadiums and is currently overseeing the Wrigley Field renovation in Chicago, worked closely with HSG to craft a renovation plan that would create a suitable venue for a USL team and also allow the renovated Dillon Stadium to generate additional revenue by hosting concerts and other sporting and community events.
UNITED SOCCER LEAGUE
The USL is one of the most prominent Division II professional soccer leagues in the world, with 30 markets in 20 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces for the 2017 season. In total, the USL reaches a population of 75 million people, fueling the growth of professional soccer across North America.
Dillon Stadium, 1975: Giorgio Chinaglia and Hartford Bicentennials vs. Poland national team
In 2016, more than $100 million were invested league-wide into stadium infrastructure to create venues that deliver an unforgettable fan and competitor experience. The USL has national media partnerships with ESPN and SiriusXM, and recently invested $10 million to create USL Productions – which includes a state-of-the-art facility that will produce and distribute nearly 500 league matches and more than 1,000 hours of original content to national partners, local affiliates, the USL’s Match Center and international markets.
A growing league, the USL has nearly doubled in size since 2014, with Ottawa Fury FC, Reno 1868 FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies debuting in 2017. Nashville SC is the first club set to join the league for 2018, followed by recently announced Fresno FC and Las Vegas. Alongside the return of Austin for the 2019 season, the USL announced Birmingham, Alabama, as its first expansion market for the same season. Beyond league play, the USL regularly features international exhibitions against leading clubs in the English Premier League, Liga MX and German Bundesliga, among others.
UNITED SOCCER LEAGUE
Around the Media –
LA Times – “USL’s ambitious efforts paying off with rapid growth, ‘great ownership'”
CNBC – “Slowly but surely, the U.S. is turning itself into a global soccer power, with lots of help from an emerging professional league that’s developing talent and advancing its clout in the sport.”
Sports Business Journal – “The USL says it is already seeing benefits from its newly launched USL Productions arm.”
USL Press Releases –
Reno’s Brigade Building Broader Community
USL Surpasses 2 Million in Attendance for 2017
USL Announces Regular Season Expansion
Additional information about the United Soccer League can be found on its website –https://usl2hartford.com/