After Thursday's town hall meeting with Union fans, chief business officer Tim McDermott spoke with the Inquirer and Daily News to take questions on a few of the subjects he discussed on stage.
Here's a transcript of the conversation, edited lightly for clarity.
The Athletic reported on Thursday that starting next year, MLS teams will be able to sell sponsorships not just on the fronts of jerseys, but on the sleeves as well. What have you heard about that so far?
That is something that the league is evaluating. I'm not sure what's official at the moment, but they are looking at the sleeves. What you saw is something that they are definitely evaluating.
That same report, which centered around D.C. United, puts the potential value of a sleeve sponsorship for that team at $500,000 to $1 million. What do you think a sleeve sponsorship would be worth for the Union?
I think the reports that were out there on D.C. United are fair numbers. I think now we'll see what the market bears. But I think those are fair numbers.
Is it something you'd aim to sell to a different company from whoever buys the chest sponsorship?
I believe it's going to be mandated by MLS that it will have to be a different chest jersey sponsor.
During the town hall session, you said that starting next year, teams will be able to display different brands from the same company on their home and away jerseys. Can you clarify how that's going to work?
A company like Bimbo that has multiple brands, they could put brand A, say Thomas' [English muffins] on the home [jersey], then they could put brand B on the road [jersey], Entemann's or Bimbo or whatever it may be.
Has Bimbo expressed an interest in that?
Yes. That's something that's intriguing to them. And if you think about it from the standpoint of a company like Bimbo that has a lot of different brands, you can see how that can have a lot of value for them.
You also talked during the town hall session about having some goals for developing land around Talen Energy Stadium into commercial space, talking in particular about office space and a multi-sport recreational facility. What have you considered in terms of retail, restaurants or things like that?
It's a good question, and that's why we're looking at bringing in an architectural firm to help kind of guide us a little bit in this. There's a lot of different factors you've got to look at. I think it certainly can be office space, but I also think there's opportunities for other things to go there as well.
I talked about an indoor-outdoor, multi-sport concept. Could there be an e-gaming facility? Could there be a rock climbing facility? I think things like that are kind of where my head naturally goes. But I also don't want to be presumptive. There needs to be an entire feasibility study that gets done to figure out if you put in any of those three things that I just mentioned, will they succeed if they're here? That brings up the question of can you have retail or townhomes or so forth.
And again, I would say the same thing: I think we need to study that and look at that to see what makes the most sense.
If the mayor of Chester calls you up and says the city would like some retail on the site, would that factor into your decision-making process?
I think it depends. I think we've got to go through an entire feasibility study and figure out what the market will bear. My initial reaction is that something along the lines of the ideas that I mentioned, that are a little bit more of a destination, might be the starting place. And we'll see.
We have an amazing building now in the Wharf (the giant former power station where the Union's business operations and other companies are located) that we've been going through reconstruction on, and by the end of November that should be complete. The lobby downstairs, we just gutted the whole entire thing, with a new cafeteria, two fitness rooms, just an amazing lobby space. So I think what you'll see is as we look at that facility as well, how do we look at the entire land around here, and are there some other opportunities?
Maybe there's an events business that we can come out with. I think we're at a point where we recognize there's an opportunity, and now I think we've got to put pen and paper together and figure out feasibility-wise what are some business ventures that would work. And again, this is me being a bit presumptive, but I do think some sort of indoor-outdoor, multi-sports complex-type facility would resonate here.