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Future of the Toronto Lynx


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quote:Originally posted by SeanKeay

Its expected to fall apart and then in 5-10 years have Luis Rancagua having revive the lynx threads...

Sean, I don't revive garbage. I revive clubs that were once winners and legends. The Lynx, in my opinion, were/are and will always be a club operated from the Hatrells' basement. :D
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I don't know if this is meant to be a serious thread but I'll bite. My opinion is that the Lynx will play next year and draw poorly (even at the new stadium)and the team will fold at the end of the 2007 season. I can't imagine the Hartrells moving the team to Hamilton as they are Toronto people.

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Anyone here has any pictures of this new UofT stadium??? If I do recall, its capacity is about 5,000. If the Lynx are expected to play there next year, I will wish them all the best of luck, especially next to the new Toronto MLS franchise. The Lynx will be seriously competing for fan support that prefers to see top caliber soccer.

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quote:Originally posted by Luis_Rancagua

Anyone here has any pictures of this new UofT stadium??? If I do recall, its capacity is about 5,000. If the Lynx are expected to play there next year, I will wish them all the best of luck, especially next to the new Toronto MLS franchise. The Lynx will be seriously competing for fan support that prefers to see top caliber soccer.

I see them moving to UofT's stadium or the Lakeshore Stadium, whichever gives them a better deal.

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quote:Originally posted by Luis_Rancagua

With MLS now coming to town, what's the future for the Toronto Lynx in the USL??? Is the team expected to relocate somewhere in Canada???

A logical move would be to self-relegate to USL Div 2. A lot less costly (all teams play on the east coast). The team also would be more competitive at that level. Another option would be to go PDL, this would be a logical extension of their academy (Jr. Lynx) and further reduce costs.

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They will see who gives them the best deal, either the NSS or New Varsity, and try it for 1-2 more years. If neither option works, then they will either move it to another city like Hamilton, or just sell the franchise rights to a local operator in either Toronto or another Ontario city who feels like losing some money.

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quote:Originally posted by Luis_Rancagua

With MLS now coming to town, what's the future for the Toronto Lynx in the USL??? Is the team expected to relocate somewhere in Canada???

What are the possibilities of the Lynx actually benefitting from the Toronto MLS franchise?

Picture a scenerio where fans go to MLS games, become dissappointed with the quality for what they are paying, and then head over to a Lynx game, as they are playing against Montreal and Vancouver - NATURAL RIVALS.

Possible? I'd say yes. Plausible? Well, I'm not from Toronto...

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Totally implausible under the scenario you suggest.

People aren't going to be turned on by the Lynx playing Montreal or Vancouver any more or less than the Lynx playing against Hampton Roads, Lehigh Valley, or Orange County, or an MLS team versus any American cities. There's no tangible Lynx-versus-Canadian-rivals history to latch on to. It's all the same when it comes to the Lynx and A-League.

Plus, all the other sports teams in Toronto play again American opposition, save for the Argos and the Rock.

That being said, a new team, some more media attention, the new stadium and generally a renewed interest in soccer could spark more interest in the Lynx, especially if prices are tangibly lower than the MLS and they keep up their youth efforts.

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I can't see how they can survive in D1. There's no city that has teams in both MLS and D1. I don't see any point at all in being in D2. I do think PDL makes sense so they can focus on the youth teams/academy. Plus the women's side I think has potential.

Ideally, MLSE would purchase them and drop them to PDL and then have a complete club structure. I think this is more of a decision for MLS central and what direction they want to take.

Maybe they will keep the youth setup and W-League but drop to the CSL. I think it would be good actually. They can be the CSL's non-ethnic Toronto team...you know, to keep everybody in Winnipeg happy. [:o)]

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quote:Originally posted by Elias

I can't see how they can survive in D1. There's no city that has teams in both MLS and D1. I don't see any point at all in being in D2. I do think PDL makes sense so they can focus on the youth teams/academy. Plus the women's side I think has potential.

I agree. To survive in USL-1, the Lynx would need to leave Toronto but that would mean (to some extent) abandoning the youth teams and academies and the women's team. So, self-relegation seems the better option to keep the Lynx infrastructure in Toronto alive.

I do think there is some point to looking at USL-2 as it will continue to differentiate the Lynx from other soccer clubs in Toronto. USL-2 is a professional league and while technically at the same level as the CSL, the level of play is more consistent across the league than in the CSL and as such a USL-2 team playing US sides will be more attractive for some players and fans.

Is that difference enough to outweigh the player and travel costs? I guess it depends upon how much of the Lynx fan base - (approximately 1,000 to 1,500 per game) - sticks with the team. If the fan base is expected to diminish as a result of the demotion from USL-1 than the CSL or the PDL would be a better option to keep operating in Toronto.

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I am quite frankly interested in where the Lynx go myself. I read in the recent edition of World Soccer, now that Toronto is getting an MLS team, rumour has it that the Lynx could end up in Hamilton.

Myself, I dont know if it will happen or not, but I personally think Winnipeg would be a great place for the Lynx to relocate. Or perhaps maybe someone will buy the Lynx and bring them here.

Winnipeg is going to be getting an indoor/outdoor soccer complex by late 2007. With the outdoor field going to be at the University of Manitoba Stadium, I think it would be a good fit for the USL to go.

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quote:Originally posted by Winnipeg Fury

TOFC/MLS coming to Canada has already caused enough damage & havoc to Canadian soccer, and this would be just another nail in the coffin for the development of Canadian soccer.

All, right since no one else seems to want to...I'll bite.

How has it already "cause enough damage & havoc"? And don't give me opinion...

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I think the possibility of the Lynx staying in Toronto is greater (even if not great) than most people think. How would Toronto FC take away from the Lynx? I can think of three ways:

(1) Attendance. But the Lynx attendance figures are bloated and those that pay full price are even lower, yet they have managed to survive this long. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect similar real attendance figures even with Toronto FC around, especially since the Lynx get so many kids and youth teams who don't know the difference. In any case, generally speaking the Lynx don't seem to depend much on paid attendance.

(2) Sponsors. The Lynx sponsors are generally too small to be sponsoring Toronto FC.

(3) Media coverage. The Lynx get none except games on Rogers Television, and Rogers Television is not going to be covering Toronto FC. Should Rogers drop the Lynx, I doubt that would change anything (and could even save the Lynx money as they are probably paying for at least part of this coverage).

Where the Lynx choose to play could be a factor. They have already said that they are looking to move, but staying at Centennial would be more appealing to the suburban crowd and youth teams.

I'm not saying that I expect the Lynx to stay. I just think that there are more things to consider than the analysis I've seen so far (which has amounted to little more than "Toronto FC > Toronto Lynx => Toronto Lynx gone").

quote:Originally posted by Loud Mouth Soup

How has it already "cause enough damage & havoc"?

He's probably talking about the rift it caused between the Whitecaps/Impact/Lynx (especially the first two) and CSA. While we haven't heard anything explicit about this recently, Joey Saputo was interviewed on the radio during Montreal vs. Vancouver a few weeks ago and it seemed pretty clear that he hasn't changed his position.
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Pretty much echoing everything DJT wrote. It's all been brought up before, seemed to hold water then and I think still holds water today.

Long and short of it is that the Lynx aren't exactly going after the same football market as one would suspect TFC are. And in whatever overlap is occuring, the Lynx will be undercutting TFC so far as pricing is concearned. (Or I at least suspect that they will be).

For the emotionaly unattached, untrained/partialy trained eye of the soccermom, dad and wee ones the price factor may proove quite important.

It is a good point about location though. Don't know enough about Toronto to comment on Centennial as it relates to NewEx, but I'd bet Centennial is way more driver friendly (location and parking maybe?) than NewEx will ever be. Again, another important factor for the Lynx market no matter how small it may be.

P.S. All this being said, if the Lynx want to relocate to the 'Peg, less the current owners, it would make this Cheeta happier than the ones that are stalking young, sickly, zebras on the savana. And that's saying a lot.

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I really think the Lynx can survive as mentioned. The fans the new MLS club will attract will probably not be a drain on the Lynx. I would suspect the vast majority of MLS fans will have never seen a Lynx game live. The fans who are regulars at Lynx games will likely not completely abandon the Lynx even if they catch some MLS matches. The core group of Lynx fans have been given so many reasons over the years to not follow the club, I would think that this won't be the tipping point.

That being said, I still the Lynx should go down to USL Div 2. They should be able to compete at that level and have less expenses, and I really don't think it will cost them fans either. Right now, the Lynx can argue they are the top pro club playing in the best available league. Next year that won't be the case, so maybe getting beat up in Div 1 has even less value.

Besides, don't the Hartells want to give the team a chance to achieve? They won't ever be competitive in Div 1 with the amount of their budget.

Jason

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quote:Originally posted by Jason

The fans who are regulars at Lynx games will likely not completely abandon the Lynx even if they catch some MLS matches.

The core group of fans has already abandoned the Lynx and I doubt it has much to do with the MLS team. Their game tonight only drew 350 fans which is not much more than an average CSL game and less than the White Eagles draw.

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The Lynx must either fold or move. Simple. The fans will completely ignore the Lynx. Those of you who think the $ for the "less-educated fan" is a factor deciding between the Lynx & TFC are shortsighted. The fans will go to the best league with all the media attention. TFC will be on national television every week. Don Taylor will talk about them on Sportsnet Pacific. "Lynx who?" It'll be more prominent than it is now. Send the Lynx to Ottawa, Calgary, Winnipeg? Better than if they folded.

As for youth development. TFC will takeover the youth development for sure. They'll also develop their own reserve team (as MLS is now developing a reserve system league-wide). Which I suppose may give a spot for the Lynx to play, but as suggested will be PDL and none of the current Lynx will remain to play there and move on to other A-League clubs.

TFC will not have 25000 fans every week, but they will have enough to be deemed a success. Also, they'll do well enough to convince Saputo and Kerfoot to follow-suit. Especially with new stadiums.

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Why can't the Lynx survive with MLS next year. I mean they have survived all these years with almost no attendance, so I'm sure they can continue to survive in coming years with the same lousy attendance figures they have been getting for all the years before.

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quote:Originally posted by bettermirror

The Lynx must either fold or move. Simple. The fans will completely ignore the Lynx. Those of you who think the $ for the "less-educated fan" is a factor deciding between the Lynx & TFC are shortsighted. The fans will go to the best league with all the media attention. TFC will be on national television every week. Don Taylor will talk about them on Sportsnet Pacific. "Lynx who?" It'll be more prominent than it is now. Send the Lynx to Ottawa, Calgary, Winnipeg? Better than if they folded.

Actually not so simple...for five reasons.

1) The Lynx don't draw soccer fans.

Anyone who would be apt to go to the best league with the most fans and the nicest stadium and the biggest names and the best soccer already isn't at a Lynx game, and is far beyond the Lynx target market.

Therefore, the market for the Lynx and the market for the MLS don't have as much overlap as one would assume.

2) The Lynx won't compete with MLS for talent (other than the odd player here or there.)

This is especially true if Canadians in the twilight of their careers come back from abroad and the MLS club fields a full complement of foreigners. The Lynx still attract those below MLS and above CPSL.

3) The Lynx survive on their coaching clinics and soccer camps.

The matches are simply the justification for the clinics (and provide kids the gratification associated wiht seeing someone who just coached you actually play), and attendance at the matches is just gravy on top of the clinic revenue.

MLS will cut into the desire for clinics to an extent. But there are three redeeming factors that may give the club a lifeline.

A) The Lynx's pre-existing relationship with many of the youth soccer clubs will remain intact.

B) Additionally, the bush-league nature of the club/league (ie- scheduling to avoid the height youth soccer season in past years) gives the club flexibility.

C) Similarly, the entry-level professionalism of the league gives the Lynx leverage with the players (ie- if you're a no name player and you want the exposure and the chance to make a living you have to do these camps and do all of them.)

These three aspects actually put the Lynx in a pretty decent position to carry on providing their existing services to youth clubs, and gives them a larger albeit lower-class reach than the MLS time might have.

4) There is almost no incentive to move the team.

There's no point in moving anywhere else in the Greater Toronto Area because anyone willing to come to a Lynx game is already in attendance. Centennial might suck for public transit, but kids and parents laregely don't need it, so moving to Hamilton or Oakville or Oshawa would only geographically marginalize the team. Additionally, the kids camps are very mobile (you can send the players anywhere from Welland to Clarington in a day) so again, why move?

Additionally, yhe Lynx have no resputation outside of Toronto. The Hatrells have no truly national or regional sponsors, and all the youth soccer links are local. A-League teams in Calgary and Edmonton have failed, so there's no motive for the Hatrells to move unless they sell. But they won't sell for reasonable money, as the past has indicated. And why would anyone want to buy the Lynx to move them? Just start afresh.

5) The fact that it can't get any worse may actually be their saving grace.

The Lynx have a chance of surviving because they have adapted to being a bottom feeder. They've been drawing crowds of 350 and 800 or 1100 for a few seasons now. These low attendances will get shaved to a lesser extent because they're already drawing at their core bottom level. On the flip side, with MLS there drawing the real fans, one may say that the Lynx now have the justification to cater even further to the youth soccer and families market.

Of course, the MLS will impact the Lynx. But the extent isn't as grave as the impact of an MLS team on a different A-League market.

I'm not saying the Lynx will necessarily survive, you could be very right in the end. However I think they have a chance of it since they won't compete for the same dollars as the MLS team, and they don't draw true fans in the first place.

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some might argue the true fans are the ones who go see the lynx play. is it a true fan who holds out for the best or the true fan who simply supports their local team? i'd say the true fans are the ones already in attendance at the match, and it will be the "fake" fans who make up the remainder of TFC's

The Lynx will have little incentive to stay in town - a move to the maritimes may even be prudent. Though travel costs will be brutal (that said, if Puerto Rico and Miami can afford the costs...).

Those who attend the camps run by the Lynx will attend the camps run by TFC. They'll want to play with the best possible.

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