Crew enjoys record year on business front
COLUMBUS — The Columbus Crew has enjoyed a record year on the business front throughout 2012, with the organization seeing significant increases in season ticket sales, overall attendance and corporate partnerships, as well as increasing its digital presence and viewership.
Since launching the Goal 10K initiative to reach 10,000 season ticket holders in September of 2011, the Crew has increased its season ticket base by 30 percent, representing the largest number of new season tickets since the opening of Crew Stadium. Additionally, corporate season tickets, which were a particular focus for the club, grew by 85 percent compared to 2011.
“We have seen tremendous progress as an organization throughout 2012, but we still have a long way to go in reaching our goals,” said Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers. “We are thankful for the support we have received from the greater Columbus community, and in order to achieve Goal 10K and secure a naming rights partner for Crew Stadium additional momentum is needed. These benchmarks are critical to the long-term success of our organization locally.”
The Crew is at the forefront of rising attendance figures across Major League Soccer, which surpassed the five million mark in 2012. At Crew Stadium, attendance has increased by 18 percent, marking the second largest year-over-year increase among the 19 MLS clubs, only behind the Houston Dynamo at brand new BBVA Compass Stadium.
The club also made significant strides in strengthening ties to Columbus’ business community, as the Crew secured its largest single-season revenue total in team history. After announcing a multi-year deal with local company Perio, Inc., that put the Barbasol mark on the front of every Crew jersey, the Crew saw an increase of 44 percent in corporate partnership revenue. A number of prominent partners came into the fold in 2012, including CoughlinCars.com, Scott’s Miracle-Gro, Cardinal Health, Panasonic, Sprint / Preferred Wireless, CheckSmart and Marathon.
In February of this year, the Crew announced a television rights agreement with FOX Sports Ohio to carry 32 matches on its network. This has extended the Black & Gold’s brand reach into the entire state of Ohio, as well as parts of Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky. The FOX Sports Ohio partnership more than tripled the Crew’s household universe, giving the Black & Gold access to 5.5 million potential homes in the region.
Digitally, the Crew has increased its web presence, ranking in the top five of all MLS teams in content produced. Visits to TheCrew.com are up 26 percent year-over-year, along with a 37 percent increase in unique visitors. Additionally, the Crew consolidated all Facebook fan pages, increasing its fan base by 260 percent up to 57,000.
Crew Stadium itself has enjoyed another banner year. The venue hosted nearly 80 events in 2012 with over 425,000 attendees. The annual Rock on the Range festival attracted more than 70,000 fans from 49 states and seven Canadian provinces, generating well over $6 million in direct spending for the Columbus region. The stadium also hosted a sold-out crowd for famed country musician Jason Aldean.
On the soccer side, Crew Stadium once again became the United States soccer capital when it hosted the U.S. Men’s National Team and Jamaica in a World Cup qualifier on September 11. The atmosphere at the stadium has been described by many media outlets as the best in U.S. national team history, as nearly 24,000 fans stood for 90 minutes to witness the U.S. beat Jamaica 1-0 and preserve the 6-0-3 all-time unbeaten streak dating back to 2000.