Sacramento City College and Warren Smith, founder of Sacramento Professional Soccer, LLC entered into an Exclusive Right to Negotiate relating to holding professional soccer matches at Hughes Stadium. The two organizations are actively working through the details with the intent to enter into an agreement in the early first quarter, 2013.
“We are very excited at the prospect of playing our USL Pro Soccer matches at Hughes Stadium,” Smith said.
“The College, the Los Rios Community College District and the people of Sacramento have done an incredible job in the stadium’s $13 million renovation and in bringing this community jewel back to the stature it once was for the people of Sacramento. We whole heartedly expect to announce a formal ‘use agreement’ in the coming weeks and would like to thank the Los Rios Community College District for their partnership to bring professional soccer to the Sacramento Region.”
Smith will lead the franchise with support from Mayor Kevin Johnson, Think BIG Sacramento and the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Smith, former SVP of Business Development for Clean World Partners and co-founder of the Sacramento Rivercats, is a steering committee member of Think BIG Sacramento and has been working with the organization to bring professional outdoor soccer to Sacramento.
Smith has entered into an Exclusive Right to Negotiate with Sacramento City College relating to holding professional soccer matches at Hughes Stadium. The two organizations are actively working through the details with the intent to enter into an agreement in the early first quarter, 2013.
Smith led the grassroots effort starting in 1997 to build a professional baseball stadium and attract a professional baseball team to the Sacramento area. He successfully negotiated all real estate agreements necessary for the land, acquisition and stadium development, which included the largest naming rights partnership in minor league baseball and a joint venture agreement with Savage Baseball Group that led to Raley Field’s development and the Sacramento River Cats moving to West Sacramento, California.
Sacramento’s USL PRO franchise will plan a series of exhibition matches during 2013 involving domestic and international professional soccer teams. In addition, supporter events, soccer clinics and player appearances will be scheduled leading up to the 2014 inaugural season. In early 2013, the franchise will begin the process of building a professional franchise infrastructure, including personnel and naming the team with input and engagement from soccer fans. For updates follow the team on Twitter at @SacProSoccer, “Like” them on Facebook at Facebook.com/SacProSoccer or visit SacProSoccer.com.
The Sacramento area contains one of the strongest regional soccer scenes in the United States, with some of the highest youth soccer participation rates in the country, as well as successful high school and collegiate programs. Numerous athletes from Sacramento currently play in Major League Soccer (MLS) and USL PRO. During the 2010 World Cup, Univision had higher viewership in Sacramento than ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX stations combined for the match between Mexico vs. Costa Rica. Sacramento was also consistently in the top 10 for ESPN/ABC Nielsen ratings during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
USL PRO is the strongest, best operated and most experienced North American men’s professional soccer league below MLS, both on and off the field. Focused on franchise stability and longevity, USL PRO will feature 13 teams in 2013, with over half boasting a decade or more of operational experience. Expansion teams in Phoenix, Arizona and Tampa, Florida will begin participation in the 2013 season.
The league is focused on aggressive, but deliberate, growth by adding teams fully capable of meeting USL and US Soccer Federation standards, which are located in markets that further promote regional league play. In addition to league play, USL PRO teams will continue to compete in the national Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and various domestic and international exhibitions. USL PRO is the longest standing pro league affiliate member within the US Soccer Federation.
Johnson said, “Today is an exciting day – not only for soccer fans around our region, but also for those who believe fervently in Sacramento’s potential as a vibrant and emerging market…I welcome the USL PRO to town and am thrilled to see more jobs and civic amenities heading our way.”