MISL franchises finally reach a split decision

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MISL franchises finally reach a split decision

Post by Fran » Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:32 pm

From the Sports Business Journal

The indoor soccer divorce is final.

Nearly four months after owners pulled the plug on the Major Indoor Soccer League, the seven remaining teams have formed two indoor leagues. The National Indoor Soccer League announced its formation last week with three former MISL teams, and the Xtreme Soccer League will announce its formation with four ex-MISL teams Tuesday.

The split was the result of differences in how a future indoor league should be structured. The NISL group favored a franchise structure, while the XSL faction favored a single-entity organization.

The NISL will use a traditional franchise structure, with no league office or commissioner. The front office of its five respective teams will administer the league business, and referees will be negotiated through the U.S. Soccer Federation. As for national sponsorship, owners said that wasn’t relevant with just five teams.

Indoor soccer league split
Xtreme Soccer League
Chicago Storm
Detroit Ignition
Milwaukee Wave
New Jersey Ironmen

National Indoor Soccer League
Baltimore Blast
La Raza de Monterrey (Mexico)
Orlando Sharks
Philadelphia KiXX
Rockford (Ill.) Rampage

“Once other cities come into the league, we’ll decide how to handle that,” said Philadelphia KiXX owner Jeff Rotwitt. “It may be we have some of our most experienced and savvy general managers deal with it.”

The XSL will have a central office in Chicago with four employees and a commissioner, who is expected to be named this week. The league office will perform all business functions for the teams, including marketing, accounting, team travel and player contracts. The teams will manage game operations and local ticket and sponsorship sales.

The league office will be underwritten by team operators, who all invested equity to support the league for five years, said Chicago Storm COO Brian Loftin.

While dueling leagues historically face challenges (see the Champ Car-Indy Racing League split), owners of both indoor leagues are optimistic. Both expect to announce the addition of new teams before the 2009-10 season.

Rotwitt said that representatives from Charlotte, Cincinnati and Houston attended the NISL’s press conference last week. Jeff Vanderbeek, owner of the New Jersey Devils and the XSL’s New Jersey Ironmen, said the XSL is in talks with owners and arenas and that some NHL owners “eventually will be in the cards.”

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