(WFI) The homes of seven Major League Soccer franchises are joining forces in an effort to bring more business to what are otherwise soccer-specific stadia.
Crew Stadium opened in 1999 as the first soccer-specific MLS venue. (Getty Images)
In conjunction with industry veteran Donnie Frizzell of Modern Music Services, Soccer Stadium Alliance is concentrating first and foremost on attracting concerts to fill seats on non-match nights.
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Denver, Pizza Hut Park in Dallas, LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, PPL Park in Philadelphia, JELD-WEN Field in Portland, BC Place in Vancouver and Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio are the seven members so far.

But the group is hoping some of the league’s six other soccer-specific venues will join in too. 

“It is our enterprise’s goal to be a leader, both within soccer and across the global entertainment industry,” Crew president Mark McCullers said in a statement. 
“With Crew Stadium spearheading this Alliance, we continue to take a leading role within our industry. The creation of this Alliance will give us greater opportunities and exposure within the concert industry and will allow agents and managers to bring their world-class artists to our world-class venues.”
Hunt Sports Group president John Wagner opened the 20,145-seat Crew Stadium in 1999 as the first soccer-specific MLS venue and then built the slightly bigger Pizza Hut Park in Dallas six years later.
“Hunt Sports Group is very excited to have two venues involved in the Alliance,” said Wagner. 
“Soccer Specific Stadiums provide a terrific alternative to the outdoor amphitheaters, which provide a limited number of seats in the pavilion and lawn seats in the back. This alliance will allow artists to entertain more of their fans in a stadium setting.”
The group’s venues plan to submit joint offers to targeted artists, though each individual stadium will promote its own shows as well as carry all the associated risks and rewards.

Women’s Professional Soccer CEO steps down
The head of Women’s Professional Soccer is stepping down less than a week after the league wrapped up its third season.

Anne-Marie Eileraas. (WPS)
“I couldn’t be more proud of what the talented WPS team has accomplished this year: growing sponsorships, reaching new audiences, righting the financial footing of the League, and putting on the most competitive and exciting season of women’s soccer to date,”
outgoing CEO Anne-Marie Eileraas said Thursday in a statement.
“I will deeply miss working with this great team, but I also look forward to the opportunity to devote more time and energy to family and to other interests that my new role will afford.

“With the progress made by the League this season, now is the right time for me to make this move.”

Brazilian phenom Marta, a four-time FIFA World Player of the Year, led the Western New York Flash to the WPS title Saturday in the franchise’s debut season.
According to WPS, its Board of Governors is close to selecting “a highly qualified candidate” to follow in the footsteps of Eileraas, who leaves the league after a year to join the law department of a longtime technology client.
By INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson

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