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July 19, 2016

Starting FC Cincinnati was no easy feat

FC Cincinnati stadium

Starting a professional sports franchise is no easy feat.

Most obvious is the need to gather a coaching staff and group of players that will be competitive. Finding the right location for the team to call home isn’t easy either, as it’s necessary to get the perfect mix of amenities and convenience. Too, getting the word out about the team – through the media, advertising and word of mouth – so that people know the team is even there. And then there’s the small matter of actually getting fans to come out and watch the team play.

FC Cincinnati OkoliFor many fledgling sports franchises, getting just one of those factors correct can be a massive task. But getting all of them spot on, it’s almost impossible.

But despite all of those hurdles, FC Cincinnati appear to have pulled off the impossible.

Now just over halfway through their inaugural season in the United Soccer League (USL), FC Cincinnati has captured not just the attention of Cincinnati sports fans, but also those around the country and the world.

In eight home matches, the team is averaging just shy of 17,000 fans per match and are outpacing many of the more established professional soccer clubs around the country. And on the field of play, the team is exceeding expectations as well. Currently, the team sits in third place in the Eastern Conference and has produced some burgeoning fan favorites.

The reasons for the early successes are many. First and foremost is the market itself. Cincinnati features one of the largest per-capita youth soccer participation rates in the country, and has become a mecca for young professionals and millennials that are the primary target market for professional soccer in the US.  Also, FC Cincinnati has assembled a team – both in the front office and on the field – that has the expertise to reach those fans. And don’t underestimate the importance of playing at UC’s Nippert Stadium – centrally located and one of the finest sports venues in the country.

Add all that together, and you get a team that’s capturing the imagination of a city.

And if you haven’t had an opportunity yet to come and experience what professional soccer yet, don’t worry, the team’s six remaining home dates will give you ample opportunity to get in on the action.

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