FourFourTwo USA today reports that the Boston Breakers are seeking new ownership for the 2018 season. Boston has apparently been in the market at least long enough to have been under consideration as the team Real Salt Lake would originally replace, but with FC Kansas City dissolving this year, RSL picked up their roster instead. Now the Breakers have apparently found a new owner with “significant financial backing” to take over, but this owner is unsure if they could assume control of the team for the 2018 season.
That leaves the team in a bit of limbo as of the writing of this article. There is no information yet on how the team would be able to operate in 2018 in order to carry over to 2019, when a new owner would definitely be able to pick up the reins.
As per FFT, currently the Breakers are set to remain in Boston and keep the Breakers name. The Breakers are one of the oldest women’s soccer teams in the United States, having been a part of all three pro leagues so far, lending some historical brand value to the name. If they stay in Boston, it would probably be smarter to build in some fashion off what they have instead of trying to start with a completely new name/look.
But Boston looking for new investors is now a reflection of their inability to keep up with the pace of development in NWSL. President of business operations Mark Thomas hinted at this in a mid-season interview this year with TBM when he discussed whether the Breakers were approaching breakeven. “The cost of running the club has gone up more than we envisaged because of the standards that have been put in place, which isn’t a bad thing in terms of the quality of the soccer, but it is bad for us in terms of the economic aspects,” he said at the time. For the purposes of today’s FFT article, they reported a Breakers team representative did not give comment, while NWSL had not returned a request for comment at that time.
The Breakers also saw declining attendance this season, dropping from an average of 3,570 in 2016 to 2,896, an almost -19% drop. Crowds began picking up later in the season for Boston, peaking at 4,321 in their 10th home game, but their slow start dragged down their overall numbers. This despite Thomas stating that the team had upped their marketing spend over 2016. Under new ownership, perhaps the team would have a better time figuring out how to leverage their position in a sports-saturated market that nevertheless managed to get well above 4k average attendance in the WPS days. The Breakers added sponsors like JetBlue and Dunkin Donuts in 2017, but clearly whatever deals they struck weren’t enough to help make up for extra operating costs.
So now we wait for more information, either from the team, the league, or both. The 2018 college draft is fast approaching in January, making it important to have something more solid in place before then. We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.