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Women's League, Confident Despite Economy, Kicks Off Sunday

MLS isn't the only league operating on optimism despite the economic downturn and the downsizing of practically every other industry in America, as Women's Professional Soccer strikes out on its own with seven teams set to compete in the 2009 inaugural season that kicks off Sunday.

In addition to trying to brave a financial crisis that is leaving families less and less to spend on entertainment, officials at the WPS are trying to avoid the mistakes of the star-studded but "blinded by exuberance" Women's United Soccer Association. Alluding to the unrealistic business plan that played a part in the prior league to fold in 2003, Commissioner Tonya Antonucci states that the WPS has "recast those expectations, playing in some new, smaller soccer stadiums, and with a business plan that can be sustained with attendances of 4,000 to 6,000."

That plan also includes a weekly game on Fox Soccer Channel (Sundays at 6 pm ET), leaguewide endorsement by Puma, and marketing rights handled by the MLS-connected Soccer United Marketing. And rather than spending significant money in traditional ads, the league has smartly embraced new media to bridge the gap and connect with fans via social sites Facebook and Twitter.

Read the whole story at New York Times »

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