scoring goals and entertaining people. Knowing Clint well, I am sure he will be looking to light us up on opening day. That is a great reason to buy a ticket and be there. To see if he lights us up or if we are able to close him down. That is why we play the games."
Will there be an attempt made to sign players during the winter transfer period so that the players can arrive in time for pre-season training. In the past this has not been the case.
"Yes, but it is hard to do with the way our schedules are set up. But, we always try to sign players as early as possible in order for them to join the team sooner than later."
What is the future of the relationship with MetroStars and Boca Juniors? Will we be seeing any loan deals again like we did two years ago?
"We are developing an international strategy which includes a relationship with Boca Juniors, as well as some other clubs around the world."
It's been quite a few weeks on the stadium front. Metro fans are concerned that the NJSEA involvement in the Harrison project will mean that the Metros will get a back seat in terms of scheduling matches and revenue from concession sales, basically limiting profit for the team moving forward. Can you comment on how things are going?
"Things are going very well and we have found the NJSEA very good to work with on the stadium negotiations. Despite what some people think, we have an excellent relationship with everyone there. Rest assured whatever deal we make will take into consideration the extremely important points you listed in your question."
If the MetroStars and the NJSEA cooperate on funding and operating a Harrison stadium, is there any potential for special deals for season ticket holders like discounts or first crack at tickets for big concerts? I'd knock someone out for a ticket to see Springsteen in Harrison in 2006! Thanks Nick and keep up the good work.
"If you are a current MetroStars season ticket holder you get priority seating choices as well as many other benefits."
If the new stadium is built in Harrison, will an attempt be made to pay homage to the rich soccer history that has existed in the town for the past 100 years?
- Jason in New Jersey
"You mean when the stadium is built in Harrison. And yes, we have spent a lot of time designing the building around that rich soccer tradition. I think you will be very pleased to know the building is dedicated to that tradition and will be a monument to the great soccer of that entire area, which includes Kearny and Newark."
You've made comments in the past about sold but unused tickets. Why do you think 30% or more of sold tickets go unused? Do you believe that a better "in-game experience" could get more people who've bought tickets to attend?
- Mark, NYC
"There's no doubt that it's difficult to generate an electric in-game experience at Giants Stadium with 17,000 people in an 80,000-seat stadium. That's part of the reason why there's a no-show rate, but not the main reason. Every sport and every team, maybe with the exception of some NFL teams, has a no-show factor to deal with. Our situation isn't much different than many other pro teams. Our biggest factor is related to the fact that we happen to sell a lot of groups, and very rarely do you get 100% attendance from a group."
I still often see "NY/NJ" mentioned when people refer to the MetroStars. As a non New York City/New Jersey resident, I wish you'd make up your mind and choose either New York City or New Jersey. Will you ever choose one over the other?
- Craig in State College, PA
"We officially dropped NY/NJ from our name in 2001. Some people still refer to us as the NY/NJ MetroStars, but it's no longer used by our organization. Despite dropping the NY/NJ, and despite the fact that our stadium is in New Jersey, we are the professional first division soccer team for the entire New York Metropolitan area. I don't see us selecting a name that chooses New York or New Jersey. We are simply the MetroStars, and we are the team for fans from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut."
I noticed the new deal that FC Dallas got for a very in-depth radio deal. I wonder if the MetroStars would be able to get a deal, either just through the website (including archived games) or including an on-air broadcast.
"At some point, we will be on English-language radio. Right now, there simply aren't enough options in the New York market. We've explored the idea on several occasions, and the radio executives aren't willing to clear their programming for soccer. If we do a webcast, which is more realistic, we want to make sure it's done with the same professionalism as our MSG broadcast, but the resources to do so aren't available at this time. A webcast could be a year or two away."
A year or two ago, the MetroStars had open local tryouts to spot promising talents. Is that going to happen again in January 2005? If so, when? I think it's a smart move. Thanks.
"We may hold open tryouts again at some point. In 2003, the players were trying out for the MetroStars reserve team. The reserve team did not exist in 2004 as we focused on our U-19 and U-17 youth developmental teams. Our reserve team will, however, return in 2005 as part of the new MLS reserve system. Look for potential open tryouts at that time."
Why did MLS bring all the websites under the same umbrella? All the sites look the same now. I enjoyed the unique features that the MetroStars site had, such as Coach Bradley's post game comments.
- Mike from Ocean City
"MLS believes that its websites are some of it most vital properties. They closely examined the success of other leagues' centralized internet systems as it pertained to the end-user experience and revenue generation. Those studies showed that the other leagues, like MLB, were maximizing their online properties by consolidating resources. We hope to achieve the same results over time. This new centralized system has only been in place for six months, and there were some growing pains in '04. We think that the new MetroStars site will offer some great content for fans in 2005 and beyond."
Why do you allow horns to be sold at the stadium? They are a nuisance.
"We have debated internally whether or not we should sell the horns in-stadium. We've heard a few complaints about it, but at the same time, they are incredible popular with fans as they are a top seller. We also think they add some environment to the crowd. With that said, we are considering not selling them in the future because of the handful of complaints we've heard."
Nick once and for all why was LA12 eliminated by the Metros' front office? Why cut off Latin fans be having them thrown out?
- Kelvin of Queens
"We tried working with LA12 in 2000 to strike an accord, but there were too many problems that continued popping up. LA12 was eliminated because there was known criminal activity going on inside the stadium. Some of that activity proposed a threat to our fans. The elimination of LA12 is in no way connected to the fact that the group was Hispanic. Anyone, regardless of race, that serves as a threat to our fans' safety will be barred from our games. We have worked very hard to cultivate our Hispanic fan base and will continue to do so in the future. We would encourage our Hispanic fans to form another supporter's club, and we'd be glad to help put it together."
Any chance the ESC can get a concession stand opened up closer to our section, or is the idea to keep us as far away from the beer as possible?
"We will be sure to at least ask NJSEA and Aramark if this is possible. We'll let you know the outcome."
What is your opinion of the Empire Supporters Club? There has been lots of talk about a separate club being started under the auspices of the Metros management and the current relationship of the ESC with the Metros is under some question.
"We addressed this subject in the live chat, but I wanted to be sure to cover it again because there's still confusion. There is, in fact, a new fan club forming, but it is a fan club that is being formed by season ticket holders, not the front office. We are simply using our resources to help them get started. It is a fan club to complement the ESC, not to compete with the ESC. The new fan club will probably attract fans that are looking for an experience that is different than that of the ESC. D.C. United have at least three fan clubs, and it works great. We can have the same. Finally, I want it to be clear that we have spoken with the leaders of the ESC, and they are fully supportive of this idea."
Also, how do you feel about the ESC (Empire Supporters Club)? What can be done to improve the overall game atmosphere? Thanks so much!
"We realize that the ESC is a group of our most passionate fans. We want to find a way to work better with the ESC in 2005 and into the future. The club's leaders feel the same, and we are going to meet in January to try and establish a more cooperative relationship between the organization and the club. Other than some of the profanities, we love the passion the club brings to the games and the environment it creates. We wish that passion would become infectious and spread throughout the stadium."
We have not heard any updates on the training facility in a long time. What is the status of that project?
- Martin in Connecticut
"There are some environmental issues that need to be ironed out in order to break ground. We are still committed to it and expect that something will break this year."