Marc de Grandpre
$14 million: loss or lies?
March 19, 2007

Last week, Ives Galarcep dropped a relative bombshell, saying that RBNY set an MLS record by losing $14 million on the team last year. Going farther than that, Galarcep pointed out a number of problems that are not included in that number, including dwindling ticket sales, lack of advertising after the initial push, the unsettled television situation, and the fleeing of corporate sponsors.

It took RBNY a week to reply, but today Marc de Grandpre did so with similiar messages paralleling on BigAppleSoccer and ESPN.com. The club's Managing Director calls the 14 million figure "not true" and "inaccurate", and also says that the team has already surpassed season ticket sales from 2006. As for corporate partners, de Grandpre stated that they were "deliberately shed off". New sponsors would have to "share similar values to those of our team". The advertising will include a radio campaign, in addition to "grassroots efforts".

So there you have it, folks. Make up your own mind on what's right and what's wrong, and spin this situation whichever way you want. It might all be a part of a master plan like de Grandpre says, or it might all be a face-saving response. Who knows. Red Bull does not disclose its financial numbers, and it doesn't disclose the details of its plan. All we know that it starts with buying the MetroStars, and ends with global energy-drink-slash-soccer domination. Fill in the blank what comes in the middle, even if it comes with an empty stadium, and a team that fewer and fewer care for every week.

"Failure is not an option," de Grandpre concludes. "The formula is simple. We have an unwavering commitment to winning and we will invest our resources towards recruiting, player development and coaching. We all possess the same mindset- to always strive for more and never be satisfied with past successes and accomplishments. That's the Red Bull culture."

In response to de Grandpre's statements, Galarcep suggests that "dozens and dozens of business people, soccer people and even some MLS people, point out just how clueless and arrogant the Red Bulls' front office is" and that the "soccer team is run by men who have absolutely no idea how to run a sports franchise".

The war of words is just beginning.

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