Second-year league sees progress

[WPS] On the eve of Women's Professional Soccer's second season, Commissioner Tonya Antonucci says the league is moving in a positive direction. Despite a poor economic climate and the loss of the 2009 regular-season champion Los Angeles Sol, which folded, she says all the trends look good ...

-- Season ticket sales are up 20 percent for returning teams.
-- Local sponsorship sales are up 150 percent for returning teams.
-- Four of the eight teams have front-of-jersey sponsorship agreements (up from two in 2009).
-- Citi was added as a second founding sponsor.

Antonucci said WPS has set as a goal to boost attendance by 5-10 percent from last year's average of 4,600.

Such modest increases in ticket revenues, though, won't put much of a dent in the losses estimated to be the range of $1 million-$2 million for some teams.

Antonucci says the target for teams to break even or achieve profitability has been five years but last year's downturn in the economy hasn't helped matters.

She says the expansion target is 12 teams in 2012. The league is in the early stages of talks with two potential ownership groups in Los Angeles.

WPS's priority for 2011 expansion is the West Coast and Rockies, and it also looking at Denver, San Diego and Seattle, among other markets.

Right now, FC Gold Pride (based in Hayward, Calif.) is the only West Coast club.

"The metrics are trending in the right direction," said Antonucci, "despite the loss of the [Sol]."

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