All sports fans love to talk about who’s the GOAT (Greatest of All Time). Whether it’s MJ or Lebron in the NBA. Ronaldo versus Messi in international soccer. Or Chestnut battling Kobayashi in competitive eating. We make these arguments by sport, by league, by team, and most often by individuals. There’s one sport, however, where one individual towers above all comers. The GOAT conversation is limited to one name. In women’s soccer, Coach Anson Dorrance is without a peer. Coach Dorrance has a strong opinion on revenue in women’s sports. We’re happy to partner with his program to achieve some of his goals.
Just a quick look at his stats is breathtaking. 21 NCAA championships. 22 ACC titles. A winning percentage of over 90 percent. And he put that first star on the US Women’s National Team jersey. He took the team to its first ever World Cup win.
Coach Dorrance describes his ambition to be a person who wants “my life to be one of never-ending ascension.” In 2019, he looked to get marketing support from our company, Creative Allies. Coach Dorrance is continuing his efforts to change the economic balance of women’s soccer at the collegiate level.
Money In College Sports
Most schools have two revenue generating sports: football and men’s basketball. The revenue generated often “pays for” the other men’s sports as well as all women’s sports. Coach Dorrance sees an opportunity for his Carolina dynasty to change the revenue game. Last December, he made the following declaration of intent at a November 2018 press conference:
“I want to prove to my athletic director and my chancellor that we can be a revenue-neutral sport at North Carolina. In other words, give me a nice stadium and give me a marketing budget…”
Increased Marketing For Soccer
Dorrance took his shot. Banking on two new developments as he began his 40th season at the helm of the Carolina women’s team. First, a sparkling new 4,200-seat stadium. It sits on the same site as the old Fetzer Field his teams made famous. Second, a marketing partnership with Creative Allies.
Creative Allies worked with Dorrance and his team to refresh the identity of the Tar Heel Soccer Club. This is the nonprofit organization that supports everything soccer at UNC. Fans are central to the Tar Heel Soccer Club. The club has revenue drivers such as membership dues, merchandise sales, and ticketing for the men’s and women’s teams. Coach Dorrance also has what most don’t. Anson’s Army, his own student supporters group, maintains fan support throughout the season.
Coach Dorrance isn’t guaranteeing success. But in his quest for revenue neutrality for the women’s soccer program, you can tell he’s confident. “For the 1999 World Cup final, 90,000 people paid top dollar to watch the Women’s World Cup final in the Rose Bowl,” he said.
“I challenge all the athletic directors across the country to put the same marketing dollars into their men’s and women’s soccer programs [that] they put into women’s basketball programs and see the return,” he continued.
Even though the Tar Heels fell short of winning their 22nd National Championship, they are still one of the biggest dynasties in sports. So what’s the answer to the question of whether or not women’s soccer makes more money? Women’s soccer programs have shown there is an opportunity to bring in big revenue.
They key is, like Coach Dorrance says, to have the right marketing budget and focus to give the fans an experience of a lifetime. Coach Dorrance has a 91 percent winning percentage. We wouldn’t advise betting against him as he works to make his women’s soccer program revenue neutral.