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Whitecaps Franchise Not as Valuable as Fans May Think (According to Forbes)

The Whitecaps franchise rank as the 15th, out of 18 teams, most valuable franchise in MLS, with very low (relative) revenues and a negative operating income. How does this impact future plans for the organization?

Earlier this week Forbes wrote an article on the most valuable franchises in Major League Soccer. It was an interesting piece that I recommend fans read. On page 2 Forbes lists the 18 franchises active during the 2014 season (less Chivas), and their value, revenue, and operating income. As expected, Seattle Sounders lead the way in all three categories, followed by the LA Galaxy in value and revenue.

While there were some obvious findings in the list created by Forbes, there were also a few interesting surprises; particularly among Canadian clubs. While Toronto FC was the highest ranked of the 3, and 5th overall, all 3 clubs had negative operating incomes. Canadian fans have also suggested that they help carry the bulk of revenue in MLS because of their higher attendance numbers. While TFC had the 4th highest revenue, Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps were near the bottom of the league. Finally, the Montreal Impact club was valued at 128 million (14th out of 18 teams), followed by the Vancouver Whitecaps at 125 million (15th overall).

Focusing specifically on the Vancouver Whitecaps, there has been a desire from part of the fan base to spend with the ‘big boys’ and acquire a high-priced DP. Of course, another part of the fan base argues almost the complete opposite. According to Forbes’ numbers, the Vancouver Whitecaps are not a part of the have’s, able to afford such known names. However, it is worth noting that those high priced names can generate revenue…which brings me to my send point.

There has long been an argument for expanding the seating capacity at BC Place, especially for high-demand games. The argument most often made by the Whitecaps is that they want to create demand for the ticket and to make it a ‘hot commodity’. Some would argue that has already occurred as most games sell out. Given the lack of revenue the Whitecaps bring in, it seems counter-productive to cap the seating capacity at a number that they easily meet each game. Given the demand for Whitecaps games, the existing atmosphere, and the lower revenue, do you think it is time to seriously examine expanding seating capacity?

Let us know your thoughts on Forbes’ list, the revenue situation, and how that impacts signings and seating capacity (and prices).