January 30, 2012
AN OPEN LETTER
From Sky Blue FC owner Hofstetter
Sky Blue FC owner Thomas Hofstetter wrote an open to the team's fans after it was announced on Monday that Women's Professional Soccer would shut down on Tuesday.
Players, Staff, Fans and Friends
In case you haven't heard by now, I wanted to inform you that the Board of Women's Professional Soccer has suspended the 2012 season. Despite the fact that it is with great regret that we have been forced to suspend WPS operations for 2012, it is also with a great deal of relief. It was a unanimous decision that has come after much agonizing thought and methodical contemplation by The Board of Governors. I also wanted to provide you with some information that will show you that this decision was necessary in order to insure the long-term viability of the league. In other words, unlike those who speculate to the contrary--and I am sure there are plenty--this is not the end.
I can confidently say that this decision, made by The Board of Governors of WPS, of which I am a member, was the only viable choice. If we had maintained operations status quo, the various issues with which we are currently battling would have caught up with us within the 2012 season. Consequently, we could have been forced to cease operation entirely by the end of the season.
Several factors contributed to this decision, all of which had an impact in one way or another. One is the continuing litigation with Dan Borislaw (magicJack). The other was the difficulty in acquiring sanctioning this year from USSF. Both issues had a significant financial impact and have drained a substantial amount of time and resources from our efforts in building the 2012 season. This was compounded by other operational issues which could not have been resolved prior to the season. One of the most important advances we have made over the past three years was the ability of a profit distribution from the League office to the teams. This is an essential component in building a sustainable business model. Due to the various issues mentioned above, these funds have now been redirected to other needs, primarily legal costs.
Believe me, the Board of Governors tried extensively to avoid the cessation of operation. Personally, I have faced many hurdles in my six years of involvement with our club. In the past, I would report to my partners at Sky Blue FC that despite losses, which we have incurred each year, the league and Sky Blue FC were improving. Perhaps nothing better illustrates the need to suspend operations than the fact that for the very first time, I would not be able to tell my partners that things were on the upswing for this upcoming year.
The amount of money that caring, committed people have invested (and yes, lost) in WPS is in the tens of millions of dollars. That does not even take into consideration the hours, weeks, months and years that many of us have devoted to every aspect of WPS. That is why I can assure you that we have five committed ownership groups, as well as a plan to continue working to address issues and move forward. Speaking for Sky Blue FC, my two partners and I are very much committed to providing a professional sports league to women in the US. This is important for millions of dedicated girls, now and in the future.
I feel deep regret for every single person who has shared the same emotional commitment: from the players, to the coaching and front office staff, and especially the fans. I sincerely hope that for those players who desire, they can be sustained and ready to resume their careers in 2013.
Finally, I want to emphasize the point that suspending operations is NOT ceasing operations. We will remain in operations and will work on the 2013 season.
I want to wish the very best of luck to the United States Women's National Team in the Summer Olympics. In addition to success, I hope that these Games will generate the same sponsor and fan interest for the 2013 WPS season and beyond.