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The truth behind Puskás Akadémia FC - How Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán stole a legend, built a stadium in his backyard and guided his team to Europe

The 2019/2020 season of the Hungary’s National Football League (NB1) – being one of the first leagues to restart play - came to an end on 27 June. If a casual observer (for whatever reason) decides to check out the final standings, he would be not surprised at the first two positions: record-champion Ferencváros defended their title, while regional powerhouse Fehérvár (Videoton) came in second. However, the third place team, Puskás Akadémia FC might seem unusual and one could think that there is a story behind that. Is there a team named after Ferenc Puskás? Did some academy youths make an incredible run for the Europa League qualification? Well, the observer is right, there is a story behind all this, but it’s absolutely not a fun story. It’s a story about how one powerful man’s obsession with football stole a legend, misused state funds and killed the spirit of Hungarian football. (Warning: this is a long story, feel free to scroll down for a tl;dr. Also, I strongly advise checking out the links, those images are worth seeing).
Naturally, political influence in football has been present ever since the dawn of the sport and we know of numerous state leaders who felt confident enough to use their influence to ensure the successful development of their favored clubs – Caucescu’s FC Olt Scornicesti and Erdogan’s Basaksehir are well-known examples of such attempts. However, I fear that very few of the readers are aware of the fact that Puskás Akadémia FC is nothing but Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán’s grandiose project for establishing his hometown’s club as one of the country’s top teams. Considering that Orbán managed to achieve this goal using state funds in an EU member democracy in the 2000s, one might even say that it might be one of the most impressive attempts of cheating your way through Football Manager in real life. Now that Puskás Akadémia FC escaped the desolate football scene of Hungary and is getting ready for the European takeover, I feel that it’s high time to tell its true story.

Part 1: Part time striker, part time PM

Our story begins in 1999 when the 36-year-old striker Viktor Orbán (recently elected as the country’s Prime Minister) was signed by the sixth-tier side of Felcsút FC residing in rural Fejér County. It might sound surprising that an active politician would consider such a side job, but given that Orbán has been playing competitive low-level football throughout his whole life and has always been known as a keen football enthusiast, people seemed to be okay with his choice for a hobby. Orbán spent most of his childhood in the village of Felcsút (population: 1,800), so it seemed only natural that he would join the team after one of his old-time acquaintances became team president there.
Orbán’s arrival to the club seemed to work like a charm as Felcsút FC immediately earned a promotion to the fifth league. The Prime Minister’s busy program did not allow him to attend every training session and game but Orbán did make an effort to contribute as much as possible on the field – there is a report of a government meeting being postponed as Orbán was unavailable due to attending Felcsút FC’s spring training camp. The 2001/2002 season brought another breakthrough for the side as Felcsút was promoted to the national level of the football pyramid after being crowned the champion of Fejér County. Sadly enough for Orbán, he suffered a defeat on another pitch – his party lost the 2002 election and Orbán was forced to move to an opposition role.
No matter what happened on the political playing field, Orbán would not abandon his club. Just before the 2002 elections, Felcsút was surprisingly appointed as one of the regional youth development centers by the Hungarian FA. Orbán continued contributing on the field as well (he had more spare time after all) but his off-the-field efforts provided much more value for the team as he used his political influence to convince right-wing businessmen that they should definitely get sponsorship deals done with the fourth-division village team.
Club management was able to transform the influx of funds into on-field success: Felcsút FC was promoted to the third division in 2004 and achieved promotion to the second division in 2005. Although these new horizons required a skill level that an aging ex-PM is not likely to possess, Orbán regularly played as a late game sub and even appeared in cup games against actual professional opponents. The now-42-year old Orbán did not want to face the challenge of the second division, so he retired in 2005 – but this did not stop him from temping as an assistant coach when the head coach was sacked in the middle of the 2005-2006 season.
Success on the playing field did not translate to political success: Orbán lost the elections once again in 2006. However, this was only a temporary loss: the ruling party committed blunder after blunder and by early 2007 it became absolutely obvious that Orbán would be able return to power in 2010. Now confident in his political future, Orbán opted for the acceleration of football development in Felcsút – by late 2007 he took over the presidency of the club to take matters in his own hands. Sponsors seeking to gain favor with the soon-to-be PM were swarming Felcsút FC, so the club was able to stand very strong in an era where financial stability was a very rare sight in the Hungarian football scene, accumulating three medals (but no promotion) between 2007 and 2009.
On the other hand, Orbán realized the value of youth development as well, and started a local foundation for this purpose back in 2004 that gathered funds for the establishment a boarding school-like football academy. The academy opened its doors in September 2006 (only the second of such institutions in the country) and Orbán immediately took upon the challenge of finding an appropriate name for the academy.
He went on to visit the now very sick Ferenc Puskás in the hospital to discuss using his name, but as Puskás’ medical situation was deteriorating rapidly, communication attempts were futile. Luckily enough Puskás’ wife (and soon to be widow) was able to act on his incapable husband’s behalf and approved the naming deal in a contract. According to the statement, naming rights were granted without compensation, as “Puskás would have certainly loved what’s happening down in Felcsút”. However, there was much more to the contract: Puskás’ trademark was handed to a sports journalist friend of Orbán (György Szöllősi, also acting communications director of the academy) who promised a hefty annual return for the family (and also a 45% share of the revenue for himself). Ferenc Puskás eventually died on 17 November 2006 and on 26 November 2006 the football academy was named after him: Puskás Academy was born.
Orbán shared his vision of the whole organization after the opening ceremony: “It’s unreasonable to think that Felcsút should have a team in the top division. We should not flatter ourselves, our players and our supporters with this dream. Our long term ambition is the creation of a stable second division team that excels in youth development and provides opportunity for the talents of the future.” Let’s leave that there.

Part 2: No stadium left behind

Orbán became PM once again in April 2010 after a landslide victory that pretty much granted him unlimited power. He chased lots of political agendas but one of his policies was rock solid: he would revive sports (and especially football) that was left to bleed out by the previous governments. The football situation in 2010 was quite dire: while the national team has actually made some progress in the recent years and has reached the 42nd position in the world rankings, football infrastructure was in a catastrophic state. Teams were playing in rusty stadiums built in the communist era, club finances were a mess, youth teams couldn’t find training grounds and the league was plagued by violent fan groups and lackluster attendance figures (3100 average spectators per game in the 2009/2010 season).
Orbán – aided by the FA backed by business actors very interested in making him happy – saw the future in the total rebuild of the football infrastructure. Vast amounts of state development funds were invested into the football construction industry that warmly welcomed corruption, cost escalation and shady procurement deals. In the end, money triumphed: over the last decade, new stadiums sprung out from nothing all over the country, dozens of new academies opened and pitches for youth development appeared on practically every corner. The final piece of the stadium renovation program was the completion of the new national stadium, Puskás Aréna in 2019 (estimated cost: 575 million EUR). Orbán commemorated this historic moment with a celebratory video on his social media that features a majestic shot of Orbán modestly kicking a CGI ball from his office to the new stadium.
Obviously, Orbán understood that infrastructure alone won’t suffice. He believed in the idea that successful clubs are the cornerstone of a strong national side as these clubs would compete in a high quality national league (and in international tournaments) that would require a constant influx of youth players developed by the clubs themselves. However, Orbán was not really keen on sharing the state’s infinite wealth with private club owners who failed to invest in their clubs between 2002 and 2010. The club ownership takeover was not that challenging as previous owners were usually happy to cut their losses, and soon enough most clubs came under Orbán’s influence. Some clubs were integrated deep into Orbán’s reach (Ferencváros and MTK Budapest club presidents are high ranking officials of Orbán’s party) while in other cases, indirect control was deemed sufficient (Diósgyőri VTK was purchased by a businessman as an attempt to display loyalty to Orbán).
Pouring taxpayer money into infrastructure (stadium) projects is relatively easy: after all, we are basically talking about overpriced government construction projects, there’s nothing new there. On the other hand, allocating funds to clubs that should be operating on a competitive market is certainly a tougher nut to crack. The obvious solutions were implemented: the state media massively overpaid for broadcasting rights and the national sports betting agency also pays a hefty sum to the FA, allowing for a redistribution of considerable amounts. However, given that the income side of Hungarian clubs was basically non-existent (match day income is negligible, the failed youth development system does not sell players), an even more radical solution was desperately needed. Also, there was definite interest in the development of a tool that would allow for differentiation between clubs (as in the few remaining non-government affiliated clubs should not receive extra money).
The solution came in 2011: the so-called TAO (“társasági adó” = corporate tax) system was introduced, granting significant tax deductions for companies if they offered a portion of their profits to sports clubs – however, in theory, funds acquired through TAO can be only used for youth development and infrastructure purposes. Soon enough, it became apparent that state authorities were not exactly interested in the enforcement of these restrictions, so some very basic creative accounting measures enabled clubs to use this income for anything they wanted to. Companies were naturally keen on cutting their tax burdens and scoring goodwill with the government, so TAO money immediately skyrocketed. Opportunistic party strongmen used their influence to convince local business groups to invest in the local clubs, enabling for the meteoric rise of multiple unknown provincial teams (Mezőkövesd [pop: 16,000], Kisvárda [pop: 16,000], Balmazújváros [pop: 17,000]) into the first division.
Although it’s not the main subject of this piece, I feel inclined to show you the actual results of Orbán’s grandiose football reform. While we do have our beautiful stadiums, we don’t exactly get them filled – league attendance has stagnated around 3000 spectators per game throughout the whole decade. We couldn’t really move forward with our national team either: Hungary lost 10 positions in the FIFA World Rankings throughout Orbán’s ten years. On the other hand, the level of league has somewhat improved – Videoton and Ferencváros reached the Europa League group stage in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Too bad that the Instat-based top team of 2019/2020 Hungarian league consists of 10 foreigners and only 1 Hungarian: the goalkeeper.

Part 3: Small place, big game!

As seen in the previous chapter, Orbán did have a strong interest in the improvement of the football situation Hungary, but we shouldn’t forget that his deepest interest and true loyalty laid in the wellbeing of Felcsút and its academy. Now that Orbán had limitless means to see to the advancement of his beloved club, he got to work immediately. Orbán handed over formal club management duties to his friend / protégé / middleman / businessman Lőrinc Mészáros in 2010, but no questions would ever arise of who is actually calling the shots.
First of all, no club can exist without a proper stadium. Although in 2011 Orbán explicitly stated that “Felcsút does not need a stadium as stadiums belong to cities”, no one was really surprised in 2012 when the construction of the Felcsút stadium was announced. Orbán was generous enough to donate the lands just in front of his summer home in the village for the project, locating the entrance a mere ten meters away from his residence. Construction works for the stunningly aesthetic 3,800-seater arena (in a village of 1,800 people) started in April 2012 and were completed in April 2014, making Felcsút’s arena the second new stadium of Orbán’s gigantic stadium revival program.
The estimated budget of the construction was 120 million EUR (31,500 EUR / seat) was financed by the Puskás Academy who explicitly stated that they did not use government funds for the project. Technically, this statement is absolutely true as the construction was financed through the TAO money offered by the numerous companies looking for tax deduction and Orbán’s goodwill. However, technically, this means that the country’s budget was decreased by 120 million EUR unrealized tax revenue. Naturally, the gargantuan football stadium looks ridiculously out of place in the small village, but there’s really no other way to ensure that your favorite team’s stadium is within 20 seconds of walking distance from your home.
Obviously, a proper club should also have some glorious history. Felcsút was seriously lagging behind on this matter as though Felcsút FC was founded in 1931, it spent its pre-Orbán history in the uninspiring world of the 5th-7th leagues of the country. Luckily enough, Orbán had already secured Puskás’ naming rights and they were not afraid to use it, so Felcsút FC was renamed to Puskás Academy FC in 2009. The stadium name was a little bit problematic as the Hungarian national stadium in Budapest had sadly had the dibs on Puskás’ name, so they had to settle with Puskás’ Spanish nickname, resulting in the inauguration of the Pancho Arena. But why stop here? Orbán’s sports media strongman György Szöllősi acted upon the contract with Puskás’ widow and transferred all Puskás’ personal memorabilia (medals, jerseys, correspondence) to the most suitable place of all: a remote village in which Puskás never even set foot in.
While the off-field issues were getting resolved, Orbán’s attention shifted to another important area: the actual game of football. Although academy players started to graduate from 2008 on, it very soon became painfully obvious that the academy program couldn’t really maintain even a second division side for now. In 2009, Orbán reached an agreement with nearby Videoton’s owner that effectively transformed Felcsút FC into Videoton’s second team under the name of Videoton – Puskás Akadémia FC. The mutually beneficent agreement would allow Videoton to give valuable playing time to squad players while it could also serve as a skipping step for Puskás Academy’s fresh graduates to a first league team. The collaboration resulted in two mid-table finishes and a bronze medal in the second division in the following three seasons that wasn’t really impressive compared to Felcsút FC’s standalone seasons.
It seemed that the mixture of reserve Videoton players and academy youth was simply not enough for promotion, and although Orbán had assured the public multiple times that his Felcsút project was not aiming for the top flight, very telling changes arose after the 2011/2012 season. Felcsút terminated the Videoton cooperation deal and used the rapidly accumulating TAO funds to recruit experienced players for the now independently operating Puskás Academy FC (PAFC). The new directive worked almost too well: PAFC won its division with a 10 point lead in its first standalone year which meant that they would have to appear in the first league prior to the completion of their brand-new Pancho Arena. Too bad that this glorious result had almost nothing to do with the academy - only two players were academy graduates of the side’s regular starting XI.
Orbán did not let himself bothered with the ridiculousness of an academy team with virtually no academy players being promoted to the first division as he stated that “a marathon runner shouldn’t need to explain why the other runners were much slower than him”. Orbán also displayed a rare burst of modesty as he added that “his team’s right place is not in the first league, and they will soon be overtaken by other, better sides”.
The promotion of PAFC to the first division made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. Supporter groups were united in hatred all along the league and not surprisingly, away fans almost always outnumbered the home side at PAFC’s temporary home at Videoton’s Sóstói Stadium (demolished and rebuilt in its full glory since then). One of the teams, however, possessed an extraordinary degree of anger against PAFC: supporters of Budapest Honvéd – the only Hungarian team in which Ferenc Puskás played – felt especially awkward about the transfer of their club legend’s heritage to Felcsút. Tensions spiked at the PAFC – Honvéd game when home security forced Honvéd supporters to remove the “Puskás” part of their traditional “Puskás – Kispest – Hungary” banner – the team answered the insult with style as they secured a 4-0 victory supported by fans chanting “you can’t buy legends”.
Despite Orbán’s prognosis, other better sides did not rush to overtake his team, so PAFC, now residing in their brand new Pancho Arena, came through with a 14th and a 10th place in their first two seasons. Naturally, conspiracy theories began to formulate, speculating that government-friendly owners would certainly not be motivated to give their best against PAFC. However, as the league size was reduced to 12 for the 2015/2016 season, PAFC found themselves in a dire situation just before the final round: they needed a win and needed rival Vasas to lose against MTK in order to avoid relegation. PAFC’s draw seemed to be unlucky as they faced their arch-enemy Honvéd at home, but Honvéd displayed an absolute lackluster effort – fueling conspiracy theories – and lost the fixture 2 to 1 against a home side featuring four academy players. Vasas, however, did not disappoint, their 2-0 victory resulted in PAFC’s elimination and a very relaxed sigh all over the football community.
PAFC’s relegation seemed to be in accordance with Orbán’s 2013 statement, so public opinion supposed for a while that Orbán’s project came to a halting point and the Academy would go on to actually field academy players in the second division (especially as rostering foreign players was prohibited in the lower leagues). However, if you have read through this point, you know better than to expect Orbán to retreat – obviously, PAFC came back with a bang. With a ballsy move, PAFC didn’t even sell their foreign players, they just loaned them across the league, promising them that they would be able to return next year to the newly promoted team. The promise was kept as PAFC went into another shopping spree of experienced players (easily convincing lots of them to choose the second division instead of the first) and easily won the second league.
Orbán – now aware of his negligence – opted for the doubling the team’s budget, making PAFC the third most well-founded club in the whole country (only coming short to his friend’s Videoton and his party minion’s Ferencváros). With an actual yearly influx from TAO money in the ballpark of 30-40 million EUR, PAFC management had to really work wonders in creative accounting in order to make their money look somewhat legitimate. The books were now full of ridiculous items like:
Naturally, in the country of no consequences, absolutely nothing happened: PAFC went on with its spending and signed 35 foreigners between 2017 and 2020. They did so because they could not hope to field a winning team in the first league consisting of academy players, despite the fact that Puskás Academy has been literally drowning in money since 2007. This seems to somewhat contradict Orbán’s 2013 promise, stating that “Puskás Academy will graduate two or three players to major European leagues each year”. To be fair, there have been players who managed to emerge to Europe (well, exactly two of them: Roland Sallai plays at Freiburg, László Kleinheisler played at Werder Bremen) but most academy graduates don’t even have the slightest the chance to make their own academy’s pro team as it’s full of foreigners and more experienced players drawn for other teams’ programs.
Despite their unlimited funding, PAFC could not put up a top-tier performance in their first two years back in the first division, finishing 6th and 7th in the 12-team league. Many speculated that the lack of support, motivation and even a clear team mission did not allow for chemistry to develop within the multinational and multi-generational locker room. Consistency was also a rare sight on the coaching side: club management was absolutely impatient with coaches who were very easily released after a single bad spell and there were talks of on-field micromanagement request coming from as high as Orbán.
Even so, their breakthrough came dangerously close in 2018 as PAFC performed consistently well in the cup fixtures and managed to reach the final. Their opponent, Újpest played an incredibly fierce game and after a 2-2 draw, they managed to defeat PAFC in the shootout. Football fans sighed in relief throughout the country as ecstatic Újpest supporters verbally teased a visibly upset Orbán in his VIP lounge about his loss.
Obviously, we could only delay the inevitable. While this year’s PAFC side seemed to be more consistent than its predecessors, it seemed that they won’t be able to get close to the podium - they were far behind the obvious league winner duo of Ferencváros and Videoton and were trailing third-place Mezőkövesd 6 points just before the pandemic break. However, both Mezőkövesd and PAFC’s close rivals DVTK and Honvéd fall flat after the restart while PAFC was able to maintain its good form due to its quality roster depth. PAFC overtook Mezőkövesd after the second-to-last round as Mezőkövesd lost to the later relegated Debrecen side. (Mezőkövesd coach Attila Kuttor was fined harshly because of his post-game comments on how the FA wants PAFC to finish third.)
PAFC faced Honvéd in the last round once again, and as Honvéd came up with its usual lackluster effort, PAFC secured an effortless win, confidently claiming the third place. PAFC celebrated their success in a nearly empty stadium, however neither Orbán, nor Mészáros (club owner, Orbán’s protégé, now 4th richest man of Hungary) seemed to worry about that. While Orbán high-fived with his peers in the VIP lounge, Mészáros was given the opportunity to award the bronze medals (and for some reason, a trophy) to the players dressed up in the incredibly cringe worthy T-shirts that say “Small place, big game!”. Big game, indeed: in the 2019/2020 season, foreign players’ share of the teams playing time was 43.6% while academy graduates contributed only 17.9%.
On Sunday evening, less than 24 hours after PAFC’s glorious success, György Szöllősi, now editor-in-chief of Hungary’s only sports newspaper (purchased by Orbán’s affiliates a few years back) published an editorial on the site, stating that “the soccer rebuild in Felcsút became the motor and symbol of the revitalization of sport throughout the whole country”. Well, Szöllősi is exactly right: Felcsút did became a symbol, but a symbol of something entirely different. Felcsút became a symbol of corruption, inefficiency, lies and the colossal waste of money. But, hey, at least we know now: you only need to spend 200 million EUR (total budget of PAFC and its academy in the 2011-2020 period) if you want to have a Europa League team in your backyard. Good to know!

Epilogue: What's in the future?

As there is no foreseeable chance for political change to happen Hungary (Orbán effortlessly secured qualified majority in 2014 and 2018, and is projected to do so in 2022 as well), PAFC’s future seems to be as bright as it gets. Although consensus opinion now seems to assume that Orbán does not intend to interfere with the Ferencváros – Videoton hegemony, we can never be really sure about the exact limits of his greed. One could also argue that entering the European theater serves as a prime opportunity for making splashy transfers who could be the cornerstones of a side challenging the league title.
However, as all political systems are deemed to fall, eventually Orbán’s regime will come apart. Whoever will take upon the helm after Orbán, they will certainly begin with cutting back on the one item on Orbán’s agenda that never had popular support: limitless football spending. Puskás Academy, having next to zero market revenue, will not be able to survive without the state’s life support, so the club will fold very shortly. The abandoned, rotting stadium in Felcsút will serve as a memento of a powerful man who could not understand the true spirit of football.
But let’s get back to present day, as we have more pressing issues coming up soon: PAFC will play their first European match in the First qualifying round of the Europa League on 27 August. We don’t have a date for the draw yet, but soon enough, a team unaware of the whole situation will be selected to face the beast. I hope that maybe one of their players does some research and maybe reads this very article for inspiration. I hope that the supporters of this club get in touch with Honvéd fans who would be eager to provide them with some tips on appropriate chants. I hope that other teams gets drawn as the home team so Orbán wouldn’t get the pleasure of walking to his stadium for an international match. But most importantly, I very much hope that this team obliterates PAFC and wipes them off the face of the earth. 5-0 will suffice, thank you.
And if this team fails to do that, we don’t have to worry yet. Due to our shitty league coefficient, PAFC would need to win four fixtures in a row. And that – if there’s any justice in this world – is a thing that can’t, that won’t happen. Ball don’t lie – if I may say.
TL,DR
Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán redirected some 200 million EUR of taxpayer money over 10 years to fuel his ambition of raising a competitive football team in his hometown of 1,800 people. He built a 3,800-seater stadium in his backyard, expropriated football legend Ferenc Puskás’ trademarks and heritage and built up a football league where almost all clubs are owned by his trustees. His team, Puskás Akadémia FC was originally intended to be a development ground for youth players graduating from Orbán’s football academy, but eventually the team became more and more result-orianted. Finally, a roster full of foreign and non-academy players came through and finished third in the league, releasing this abomination of a team to the European football theatre. Please, knock them out asap!
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Now here is my bread and butter where online casinos are concerned. For this reviewer, the quality of the table games is what makes or breaks a casino. It is 2020; there is no reason for an operator to be providing games that are slow or feature shitty graphics. Thankfully, Joe Fortune has chosen software partners who have excellent game quality and design, so I could easily see myself playing at their tables for hours! These guys go all out for their blackjack players as there are almost a dozen different variants available, including all the popular European and American versions of the game.
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For fans of video poker, I have some good news. The fact that Joe Fortune uses more than one software provider means that the options for video poker players like myself are excellent. Those of you who have read any of my reviews of Rival Gaming or RTG operators will know that those two software providers don’t have a ton of video poker variants; at Joe Fortune, they lean more or Microgaming and iSoftBet for these games.
Live Dealer
Surprisingly, at this time there are no live dealer games available at Joe Fortune. Given the increase in popularity of these games by players and the success this organization has with Live Dealer games on their other brands, I can only assume that there will be an announcement coming that Joe Fortune will be adding Live Dealer options shortly.

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Joe Fortune offers its new players up to $5,000 in Welcome Bonus dollars, which is an excellent aggressive promotion to try to convince you to make your first deposit. What I like the most about this promotion is the way it is administered. As opposed to making a huge offer to players on only the first deposit, this welcome bonus is split over the first 9 despots you make. Here’s how it works:
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24Bettle is a all-in-one online casino and sportsbook where players can find everything that the big-name casinos out there have. 24Bettle Casino has a very big list of online slots, online slots tournaments, live casino, virtual table and card games, as well as a real sportsbook that offers the world's best football leagues.
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The list of slots numbers more than 300 titles. Because this is a stand-alone casino, its operators have the privilege of selecting individual titles, so 24Bettle Casino always has an updated list of games.
New releases are added on a regular basis and those that become dated are taken out so as not to create a clutter. This is a convenience that can be found only at online casinos that have been open a little bit longer then few years.
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It can be concluded that 24bettle has a serious collection of table and card games in the virtual field. There are five categories in this regard: Blackjack, Poker, Baccarat, Roulette and Video Poker with more than 30 titles in all categories, except Baccarat which has about ten games.
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24Bettle are quite solid with bonus offers. They have multiple promotions going on at any time, however, new players can claim the exclusive 24Battle bonus right from this page.
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The casino offers the world’s most widely used and trusted methods for making deposits and withdrawals. Some of those that are available on the website are Visa, MasterCard, Skrill, NETeller, Apple Pay, AstroPay, instadebit, Euteller, Safety Pay and so on.
The list numbers 20 payment methods including country and region-specific options, such as for players in Canada, Germany and the nordic countries.

24Bettle Casino Support and Security

Anyone who needs to get in touch with the casino can do so via live chat or email.The help desk works 12:00 to 24:00 CET, Monday to Sunday. Reaching the contact form or the live chat requires locating the Support button on the website.
Our 24Bettle Casino review takes into consideration that the website has an extensive Frequently Asked Questions, which enables players to find a quick answer by searching or simply checking out the different categories.
In terms of website security, 24bettle has a 128 bit encryption deployed for all logins and game selections. Personal information is kept privately by the casino and is treated according to the laws and regulations of Malta.

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In our experience as casino professionals it isn’t very common to see online casinos that have updated lists of slots that number more than few hundred, and a sportsbook all on the same website. Regardless of whether you are a pure slots and casino player or if you like to try your chances there are in sports betting, 24bettle makes it an even-filed battle for wins every day and for every player.
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Leo Vegas Canada Casino: The King of Mobile Casinos Now in Canada!

The self-proclaimed “King of Mobile” has arrived! Ever since it was founded in 2011, LeoVegas Gaming Ltd has concentrated on just one thing: providing us eager gamblers with the perfect mobile casino & sports betting experience in the gambling market. It’s safe to say they’ve succeeded to bring Las Vegas glamour online.
Leo Vegas AB has made a name for itself across the pond in Europe over the years. Now, this big-hitter has arrived to a new online casino continent and competitors like Spin Casino and 21.com Casino are paying attention. We’re glad to have it, thanks to LeoVegas’ mobile casino, which is as good as they come for Canadian online gaming available.
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On top of a fabulous mobile offering, LeoVegas dishes out lavish bonuses for new Canadian customers. They offer a four-stage deposit bonus loyalty program.

Wagering requirements

As they always do at online gambling, LeoVegas’ bonuses come with a wagering requirement. However, for Canadian customers, the wagering minimum is only 25x.
Playing popular games at Leovegas, this wagering requirement means that you need to wager your bonuses 25 times using your bonus funds before you can withdraw the bonus or any winnings. Some casinos offer no wagering free spins, but they are not comparable for LeoVegas deposit bonus.

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You can play the bonus for the full amount in any classic slot or jackpot slot games. Classic slots or video slots give you the best chance to wager your bonuses. However, note that in table games such as Blackjack and Roulette, the bonus contributions are only 10%, so we do not recommend playing those table games with your bonus money.
LeoVegas is lax with its bonuses when it comes to minimum deposits. Casino players don’t need to aim anywhere near the maximum bonus amount to receive the extra free spins. Leovegas offers are unique as many other casinos limit your real-money free spin winnings to $20. The only requirement you need to clear before cashing out is 25x wagering.

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Games provided by LeoVegas includes a variety of option for online players. Leo Vegas combines an excellent mobile gambling experience with a massive variety of slot machines and other casino games. LeoVegas Sportsbook and live casino offer additional opportunities for Canadian online players.
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Leo Vegas does not create casino games; they simply have games from various software providers. Top gaming providers such as NetEnt, Microgaming, NextGen, Evolution Gaming, IGT, Play’n Go, and other 34 developers. There have included some smaller-name casino software providers like QuickSpin, Thunderkick, and Yggdrasil. While not as famous as something like Microgaming or the mighty NetEnt, these companies have excellent mobile slots that you need to try.
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Leo Vegas has a Canada-friendly sportsbook where you can bet on all your favourite sports.
LeoVegas hasn’t been in the betting business for long, but it’s already making an impact in Canada. While the LeoVegas Sportbook section doesn’t have quite the same selection of leagues and events as Betway, it does have Leo Vegas’ signature touch: it’s supremely mobile friendly. Betting with your cell phone or tablet is a pleasure, as Leo’s sportsbook is noticeably fast. This is something we’re still not experiencing across the board in 2020!
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Evolution Gaming and Authentic Gaming power the casino lobby at LeoVegas casino website. Game selection is one of the best in the industry. LeoVegas has games from all the best software providers. They have options for everyone. NetEnt fanatics will find Starburst and Creature from the Black Lagoon. You’ll also find classic slot machines like Jackpot 6000 and Mega Joker, Cosmic Fortune, and of course legendary progressive jackpot slots such as Book of Dead and Mega Moolah Isis.
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Live dealer games section has a red dog, Live Casino Hold ’em, VIP Blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker, along with the usual suspects.

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Leo Vegas Casino has a lot of payment options to choose from. They have all the most often used bank transfers for Canadians (bank wire transfer, Interac, iDebit, Visa, Mastercard). Also, deposits are instant with every payment method, and withdrawals are relatively quick for all the payment methods. Also, Casino LeoVegas is not a PayPal casino.
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If you like mobile casino games, Leo Vegas is the best online casino for you. LeoVegas Casino reviews online can be misleading, so please make sure you only trust credible sources like Bonus.ca.
Leo Vegas is the best mobile casino we’ve come across, and that’s a fact. Playing at LeoVegs is fun and easy. You can test the site yourself risk-free by signing up and playing demo for free. If you like what this real money casino has to offer, you’ll get more money to play with when you register your casino account from Bonus.ca.

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Leo Vegas has from the start concentrated on mobile online gambling. You can play all its top casino games on modern mobile devices. Supported devices include all iPhones and iPads, as well as Android phones and tablets. Even Blackberry and Windows phones and tablets are ok. For Android, there’s an optional LeoVegas mobile casino app for mobile gaming. Other than that, there’s no need for casino apps to jump into action on LeoVegas mobile devices.

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You don’t need an app to play.. So, if you have an iPhone, you simply gamble at Leo Vegas’ website. For Android phones and tablets, LeoVegas has an optional app you can download by following instructions you’ll find after registering at the Leovegas mobile casino. However, most players skip downloading the app. It’s a bit cumbersome as it requires changing a couple of Android’s standard settings. Especially as playing on a mobile device works equally well.
Usually, our bonus experts stay with one mobile casino for a couple of days to find out whether there are kinks in the mobile experience. But, we realized LeoVegas is pretty damn good when we noticed our experts had had accounts at LeoVegas for months. The draw here is that besides being technically perfect for Android and Apple devices, the mobile casino has big promotions for existing players. These promos are bound to make you pop back to Leo to play your free spins and other real money casino bonuses.
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Leo Vegas uses 2048-bit SSL encryption technology. This ensures the best protection of all personal and financial data that you pass on to them. LeoVegas makes sure that you can 100% trust their online casino site, and you feel safe and secure. Just like in all trustworthy casinos, all the LeoVegas casino games from Casino Holdem to Jackpot slots are tested with Random Number Generator (RNG) randomness, and like all trustworthy casinos.
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LeoVegas online casino has been rewarded with multiple awards. LeoVegas is already a winner of:
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Watching ONE Championship’s Top 5 P4P fighters video on YouTube made me wonder: What would a hypothetical main card for a cross-promoted event with the UFC look like? What are the Top 5 fights I’d want to see of ONE vs UFC fighters?

I am very much aware that a cross-promotion involving the UFC is astronomically unlikely, but I think the thought experiment is interesting. The UFC would absolutely be the host, so I’ll use their structure of a 5-fight Main Card and a Featured Prelim. Filling out a full Prelim Card would go deeper than I really want to though.
I have also been fairly lenient with weight classes, since ONE has all their weight classes shifted up 10-20 lbs. This is all just fun.
Featured Prelim
ONE Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon vs Sodiq “Super” Yusuff UFC
Battle of the Featherweight Prospects to cap off the Undercard.
Garry Tonon is probably the most well known ONE prospect among Western fans, and especially Jiu Jitsu fans, but he’s essentially untested against quality competition. He has 5 Fights and 5 finishes including a 3 different submissions from 3 different positions and grappling entries (an RNC, a Guillotine and an Outside Heel Hook) and 2 TKO’s. Garry Tonon is one of the most prized BJJ players in the sport right as perhaps only Rodolfo Viera, Gilbert Burns, Ryan Hall and Mackenzie Dern hold better BJJ resumes.
Yusuff on the other hand is a heavy-handed power puncher who recently entered the UFC Featherweight rankings at 15 following a decision win over Andre Fili. Yusuff holds an 11-1 record, 4-0 in the UFC with 2 TKO’s and 2 decisions. The win against Andre Fili should truly put him on every fans radar. Fili is a sneaky gatekeeper for the Featherweight rankings as his only UFC losses have come against Yusuff, Michael Johnson, Calvin Kattar, Godofredo Castro and Max Holloway (Castro is the only one who has not been a ranked UFC featherweight). That’s a bigger win than most fans probably recognised at the time.
Ryan Hall or Kron Gracie would also have been an interesting fight for Garry here, but they may as well just take their gloves off and grapple. Plus you can find Kron vs Garry in BJJ on YouTube right now if you want.
Main Card
Fight 1
ONE Martin “The Situation-Asian” Nguyen vs Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski UFC
This ones for the Aussie’s. I’ll admit to being biased on this one, but it’d still be a kick-ass fight.
Martin Nguyen, the first Australian to win an MMA belt in a major promotion outside of Australia, versus Alexander Volkanovski, the current Australian UFC Champion. I’m just indulging myself, but it would probably also be a barn burner.
Nguyen is 13-3 for his career 9 TKO’s and 3 Submissions. Martin is a Double Champ in ONE, having held the Featherweight and Lightweight titles, and also made a run at the Bantamweight strap but narrowly missing out on the vaunted TRIPLE C after losing a split decision to Bibiano Fernandez.
Volkanovski is the favourite and current UFC 145lb Champion. Volk is, to use a common Aussie phrase, a nugget. A former Rugby League Player, the Champ didn’t start MMA until age 22 in an effort to stay fit for Rugby. He competed in Greco-Roman Wrestling at 97kg (214 lbs).
Volk made his amateur MMA debut at Middleweight standing just 5’6” (168cm). For context, current MW Champ Israel Adesanya - Volkanovski’s current teammate - is 6’4”, 10 inches/28cm taller. Nonetheless, Volk went 4-0 as an amateur MW before abandoning Rugby and turning Pro.
As a Pro, Volk won the strap in minor Australian promotions at 170, 155 and 145 before entering the UFC, where he debuted as a lightweight in 2016, just 7 years after starting MMA. He is a perfect 8-0 in the UFC with 3 TKO’s and 5 unanimous decisions. His only career loss came almost 7 years ago with a TKO loss at AFC 5.
Both fighters are capable on the ground and on their feet. This would be a great fight.
Fight 2
ONE Roman Kryklia vs Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya UFC
Hear me out.
This is a Kickboxing Matchup.
ONE is a very different organisation. Not only do they have MMA fights, they also hold Muay Thai and Kickboxing fights interspersed within their events, and have reigning Champions for those sports.
Roman Kryklia is the ONE 225lb LHW Kickboxing Champion. The Ukrainian has a 45-7 Kickboxing Record with 24 KO’s. He is a Ukrainian Master of Sport in Kickboxing and, at 28, is entering the prime of his career. Standing at 6’ 6.5”, Kryklia is a towering HW with hard hands.
Adesanya was one of the best Kickboxers in the world before making the transition to MMA. He holds a 75-5 Kickboxing record with 29 KO’s. This includes multiple KO wins at Heavyweight. Adesanya is also a perfect 19-0 in MMA, 8-0 in the UFC with 3 KO’s and 5 decisions. His full Kickboxing record is difficult to find, so I can’t say just how many HW fights he’s had, but video of some impressive KO’s at that weight can be found on a YouTube.
This honestly isn’t fair for Israel. Roman is much bigger, and Israel - brilliant as he is as a striker - hasn’t been a specialised kickboxer in 3 years. He has fought at HW, but would need time to get back to that size and to train for a specialised Kickboxing fight again. Betting lines would be skewed towards Israel because of the media hype and public money, so this would be the place for the gamblers to make their money betting on Roman.
Fight 3
ONE Xiong Jing Nan vs Weili “Magnum” Zhang UFC
These women would square off for the title of best fighter in China.
I weighed up putting Angela Lee in here, who ONE promotes to the moon and back because she looks like this, as wel as being the ONE Atomweight (115 lb) Champion. But given how Lee faired when she went up a class to fight Xiong for the ONE SW belt, I feel Xiong would be the more well matched fighter to meet Weili’s physicality.
It would surprise most to look at her and say that Xiong Jing Nan hits like a truck, but she does. She is 14-2 in her MMA career with 10 KO’s. Since joining ONE she is 5-1, with her only loss coming against Angela Lee for the ONE 115 lb AW belt, losing by submission. This fight was an immediate rematch, however, of a fight that Xiong won at 125 lb SW - her third successful defence of the belt.
On the other side, Weili Zhang is the Straw Weight Queen. Coming off one of the greatest fights I’ve ever seen against Joanna, she is all heart, skill and determination. She would and should be an overwhelming favourite in this matchup, because I don’t see a single woman at that weight who can stand with her.
After losing her first Pro fight, Zhang is on a 21 fight win streak dating back to April 2014. She is 21-1 with 10 KO’s and 7 Submissions. The first Chinese UFC Champion captured the title with a spectacular KO win over Jessica Andrade in front of her native crowd, and followed it up with the greatest WMMA Fight of All Time, a split decision win over former Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Co-Main
ONE “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang vs Daniel “DC” Cormier UFC
Aung is a veteran of the game. The Champ-Champ at 205 and 225 - the Middle and LHW limits at ONE - Aung has 37 Pro Fights with a 26-10-0-1 record. However since joining ONE, he has gone 11-1, and avenged his only loss to Vitaly Bigdash in an immediate rematch to capture the MW strap.
Aung is on a tear at the moment with a stream of 6 straight finishes, including most recently against current ONE HW Champion Brandon Vera to defend his LHW strap.
Oh yeah, Aung defends both belts simultaneously. He has 3 defences of the MW belt and 1 defence of the LHW belt, fighting at both weights in 2018 and 2019. He also has a win against Alain Ngalani who, though not a great fighter, is absolutely terrifying, and anyone who dares to stand in front of him should be commended.
DC would obviously be the red hot favourite here though. However Aung is well rounded with skills on the ground and on the feet. I think this would actually be an excellent fight. Or it could totally blow as DC wins in a blowout.
Only one thing would stop it from being the Main Event......
Main Event
ONE Demetrius “Mighty Mouse” Johnson vs Henry “Triple C/The MessengeKing of Cringe” Cejudo
This one writes itself.
Mighty Mouse, the super-skilled, dominant P4P Great, against the Champ-Champ-Champ, the man he lost his belt to before being shipped out of the UFC in a revolutionary MMA trade. Dana’s red-headed stepchild is gone for good...
Or so we thought...
NANI???
Mighty Mouse is back for revenge. And this time, it’s personal. He’s eyeing off the King of Cringe, the Triple C, the man who took what was rightfully his: Henry Cejudo.
This would absolutely have to happen in our imaginary Cross-Promotion, and it should Headline the show. With a storyline that juicy, every Combat Sports fan in the world would tune in.
That’s my Hypothetical Cross-Promotional ONE-UFC Card. I would expect the UFC to take out 4 of these 6 fights, with Roman and Mighty Mouse taking 2 home for ONE. But these would be fun and competitive fights, for the most part, or at least fights that would get the Asian market to tune in for the UFC - the ultimate aim of a cross-promo.
Surely the fights would have to be commentated by Rogan, Anik, Cruz and the GOAT Michael Schiavello.
What fights would you have on this hypothetical card?
How does Conor McGregor fit into all of this?
Should Dana vs Chatri be the Real Main Event?
submitted by JDog1402 to MMA [link] [comments]

What a USL D1 league might look like

TL;DR: Man with too much time on his hands goes deep down the rabbit hole on a concept this sub already didn’t seem that enthusiastic about. If you really want to skip ahead, CTRL+F “verdict” and it’ll get you there.
Two days ago, u/MrPhillyj2wns made a post asking whether USL should launch a D1 league in order to compete in Concacaf. From the top voted replies, it appears this made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
But I’ve been at home for eight weeks and I am terribly, terribly bored.
So, I present to you this overview of what the USL pyramid might look like if Jake Edwards got a head of steam and attempted to establish a USSF-sanctioned first division. This is by no means an endorsement of such a proposal or even a suggestion that USL SHOULD do such a thing. It is merely an examination of whether they COULD.
Welcome to the Thunderdome USL Premiership
First, there are some base-level assumptions we must make in this exercise, because it makes me feel more scientific and not like a guy who wrote this on Sunday while watching the Belarusian Premier League (Go BATE Borisov!).
  1. All D1 teams must comply with known USSF requirements for D1 leagues (more on that later).
  2. MLS, not liking this move, will immediately remove all directly-owned affiliate clubs from the USL structure (this does not include hybrid ownerships, like San Antonio FC – NYCFC). This removes all MLS2 teams but will not affect Colorado Springs, Reno, RGVFC and San Antonio.
  3. The USL will attempt to maintain both the USL Championship and USL League One, with an eventual mind toward creating the pro/rel paradise that is promised in Relegations 3:16.
  4. All of my research regarding facility size and ownership net worth is correct – this is probably the biggest leap of faith we have to make, since googling “NAME net worth” and “CITY richest people” doesn’t seem guaranteed to return accurate results.
  5. The most a club can increase its available seating capacity to meet D1 requirements in a current stadium is no more than 1,500 seats (10% of the required 15,000). If they need to add more, they’ll need a new facility.
  6. Let’s pretend that people are VERY willing to sell. It’s commonly acknowledged that the USL is a more financially feasible route to owning a soccer club than in MLS (c.f. MLS-Charlotte’s reported $325 million expansion fee) and the USSF has some very strict requirements for D1 sanctioning. It becomes pretty apparent when googling a lot of team’s owners that this requirement isn’t met, so let’s assume everyone that can’t sells to people who meet the requirements.
(Known) USSF D1 league requirements:
- League must have 12 teams to apply and 14 teams by year three
- Majority owner must have a net worth of $40 million, and the ownership group must have a total net worth of $70 million. The value of an owned stadium is not considered when calculating this value.
- Must have teams located in the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones
- 75% of league’s teams must be based in markets with at a metro population of at least 1 million people.
- All league stadiums must have a capacity of at least 15,000
The ideal club candidate for the USL Premiership will meet the population and capacity requirements in its current ground, which will have a grass playing surface. Of the USL Championship’s 27 independent/hybrid affiliate clubs, I did not find one club that meets all these criteria as they currently stand.
Regarding turf fields, the USSF does not have a formal policy regarding the ideal playing surface but it is generally acknowledged that grass is superior to turf. 6 of 26 MLS stadiums utilize turf, or roughly 23% of stadiums. We’ll hold a similar restriction for our top flight, so 2-3 of our top flight clubs can have turf fields. Seem fair?
Capacity is going to be the biggest issue, since the disparity between current requirements for the second-tier (5,000) and the first tier (15,000) is a pretty massive gap. Nice club you have there, triple your capacity and you’re onto something. As a result, I have taken the liberty of relocating certain (read: nearly all) clubs to new grounds, trying my utmost to keep those clubs in their current markets and –importantly--, ensure they play on grass surfaces.
So, let’s do a case-by-case evaluation and see if we can put together 12-14 teams that meet the potential requirements, because what else do you have to do?
For each club’s breakdown, anything that represents a chance from what is currently true will be underlined.
Candidate: Birmingham Legion FC
Location (Metro population): Birmingham, Ala. (1,151,801)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Legion Field (FieldTurf, 71,594)
Potential owner: Stephens Family (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Birmingham has a pretty strong candidacy. Having ditched the 5,000-seater BBVA Field for Legion Field, which sits 2.4 miles away, they’ve tapped into the city’s soccer history. Legion Field hosted portions of both the men’s and women’s tournaments at the 1996 Olympics, including a 3-1 U.S. loss to Argentina that saw 83,183 pack the house. The Harbert family seemed like strong ownership contenders, but since the death of matriarch Marguerite Harbert in 2015, it’s unclear where the wealth in the family is concentrated, so the Stephens seem like a better candidate. The only real knock that I can think of is that we really want to avoid having clubs play on turf, so I’d say they’re on the bubble of our platonic ideal USL Prem.
Candidate: Charleston Battery
Location (Metro population): Charleston, S.C. (713,000)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Johnson Hagood Stadium (Grass, ~14,700)
Potential owner: Anita Zucker (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Charleston’s candidacy isn’t looking great. Already disadvantaged due to its undersized metro population, a move across the Cooper River to Johnson Hagood Stadium is cutting it close in terms of capacity. The stadium, home to The Citadel’s football team, used to seat 21,000, before 9,300 seats on the eastern grandstand were torn down in 2017 to deal with lead paint that had been used in their construction. Renovation plans include adding 3,000 seats back in, which could hit 15,000 if they bumped it to 3,300, but throw in a required sale by HCFC, LLC (led by content-creation platform founder Rob Salvatore) to chemical magnate Anita Zucker, and you’ll see there’s a lot of ifs and ands in this proposal.
Candidate: Charlotte Independence
Location (Metro population): Charlotte, N.C. (2,569, 213)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Jerry Richardson Stadium (Turf, 15,314)
Potential owner: James Goodnight (reported net worth $9.1 billion)
Notes: Charlotte ticks a lot of the boxes. A move from the Sportsplex at Matthews to UNC-Charlotte’s Jerry Richardson stadium meets capacity requirements, but puts them on to the dreaded turf. Regrettably, nearby American Legion Memorial Stadium only seats 10,500, despite a grass playing surface. With a sizeable metro population (sixth-largest in the USL Championship) and a possible owner in software billionaire James Goodnight, you’ve got some options here. The biggest problem likely lies in direct competition for market share against a much better-funded MLS Charlotte side due to join the league in 2021.
Candidate: Hartford Athletic
Location (Metro population): Hartford, Conn. (1,214,295)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Pratt & Whitney Stadium (Grass, 38,066)
Potential owner: Ray Dalio (reported net worth $18.4 billion)
Notes: Okay, I cheated a bit here, having to relocate Hartford to Pratt & Whitney Stadium, which is technically in East Hartford, Conn. I don’t know enough about the area to know if there’s some kind of massive beef between the two cities, but the club has history there, having played seven games in 2019 while Dillon Stadium underwent renovations. If the group of local businessmen that currently own the club manage to attract Dalio to the table, we’re on to something.
Candidate: Indy Eleven
Location (Metro population): Indianapolis, Ind. (2,048,703)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lucas Oil Stadium (Turf, 62,421)
Potential owner: Jim Irsay (reported net worth of $3 billion)
Notes: Indy Eleven are a club that are SO CLOSE to being an ideal candidate – if it weren’t for Lucas Oil Stadium’s turf playing surface. Still, there’s a lot to like in this bid. I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what current owner and founder Ersal Ozdemir is worth, but it seems like there might be cause for concern. A sale to Irsay, who also owns the NFL Indianapolis (nee Baltimore) Colts, seems likely to keep the franchise there, rather than make a half-mile move to 14,230 capacity Victory Field where the AAA Indianapolis Indians play and expand from there.
Candidate: Louisville City FC
Location (Metro population): Louisville, Ky. (1,297,310)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lynn Family Stadium (Grass, 14,000, possibly expandable to 20,000)
Potential owner: Wayne Hughes (reported net worth $2.8 billion)
Notes: I’m stretching things a bit here. Lynn Family stadium is currently listed as having 11,700 capacity that’s expandable to 14,000, but they’ve said that the ground could hold as many as 20,000 with additional construction, which might be enough to grant them a temporary waiver from USSF. If the stadium is a no-go, then there’s always Cardinal Stadium, home to the University of Louisville’s football team, which seats 65,000 but is turf. Either way, it seems like a sale to someone like Public Storage founder Wayne Hughes will be necessary to ensure the club has enough capital.
Candidate: Memphis 901 FC
Location (Metro population): Memphis, Tenn. (1,348,260)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Liberty Bowl Stadium (Turf, 58,325)
Potential owner: Fred Smith (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Unfortunately for Memphis, AutoZone Park’s 10,000 seats won’t cut it at the D1 level. With its urban location, it would likely prove tough to renovate, as well. Liberty Bowl Stadium more than meets the need, but will involve the use of the dreaded turf. As far as an owner goes, FedEx founder Fred Smith seems like a good local option.
Candidate: Miami FC, “The”
Location (Metro population): Miami, Fla. (6,158,824)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Riccardo Silva Stadium (FieldTurf, 20,000)
Potential owner: Riccardo Silva (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: Well, well, well, Silva might get his wish for top-flight soccer, after all. He’s got the money, he’s got the metro, and his ground has the capacity. There is the nagging issue of the turf, though. Hard Rock Stadium might present a solution, including a capacity of 64,767 and a grass playing surface. It is worth noting, however, that this is the first profile where I didn’t have to find a new potential owner for a club.
Candidate: North Carolina FC
Location (Metro population): Durham, N.C. (1,214,516 in The Triangle)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Carter-Finley Stadium (Grass/Turf, 57,583)
Potential owner: Steve Malik (precise net worth unknown) / Dennis Gillings (reported net worth of $1.7 billion)
Notes: We have our first “relocation” in North Carolina FC, who were forced to trade Cary’s 10,000-seat WakeMed Soccer Park for Carter-Finley Stadium in Durham, home of the NC State Wolfpack and 57,583 of their closest friends. The move is a whopping 3.1 miles, thanks to the close-knit hub that exists between Cary, Durham and Raleigh. Carter-Finley might be my favorite of the stadium moves in this exercise. The field is grass, but the sidelines are artificial turf. Weird, right? Either way, it was good enough for Juventus to play a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara there in 2011. Maybe the move would be pushed for by new owner and medical magnate Dennis Gillings, whose British roots might inspire him to get involved in the Beautiful Game. Straight up, though, I couldn’t find a net worth for current owner Steve Malik, though he did sell his company MedFusion for $91 million in 2010, then bought it back for an undisclosed amount and sold it again for $43 million last November. I don’t know if Malik has the juice to meet D1 requirements, but I suspect he’s close.
Candidate: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Location (Metro population): Pittsburgh, Penn. (2,362,453)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Heinz Field (Grass, 64,450)
Potential owner: Henry Hillman (reported net worth $2.5 billion)
Notes: I don’t know a ton about the Riverhounds, but this move in particular feels like depriving a pretty blue-collar club from its roots. Highmark Stadium is a no-go from a seating perspective, but the Steelers’ home stadium at Heinz Field would more than meet the requirements and have a grass surface that was large enough to be sanctioned for a FIFA friendly between the U.S. WNT and Costa Rica in 2015. As for an owner, Tuffy Shallenberger (first ballot owner name HOF) doesn’t seem to fit the USSF bill, but legendary Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Hillman might. I’m sure you’re asking, why not the Rooney Family, if they’ll play at Heinz Field? I’ll tell you: I honestly can’t seem to pin down a value for the family. The Steelers are valued at a little over a billion and rumors persist that Dan Rooney is worth $500 million, but I’m not sure. I guess the Rooneys would work too, but it’s a definite departure from an owner in Shallenberger who was described by one journalist as a guy who “wears boots, jeans, a sweater and a trucker hat.”
Candidate: Saint Louis FC
Location (Metro population): St. Louis, Mo. (2,807,338)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Busch Stadium (Grass, 45,494)
Potential owner: William DeWitt Jr. (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Saint Louis has some weirdness in making the jump to D1. Current CEO Jim Kavanaugh is an owner of the MLS side that will begin play in 2022. The club’s current ground at West Community Stadium isn’t big enough, but perhaps a timely sale to Cardinals owner William DeWitt Jr. could see the club playing games at Busch Stadium, which has a well established history of hosting other sports like hockey, college football and soccer (most recently a U.S. WNT friendly against New Zealand in 2019). The competition with another MLS franchise wouldn’t be ideal, like Charlotte, but with a big enough population and cross marketing from the Cardinals, maybe there’s a winner here. Wacko idea: If Busch doesn’t pan out, send them to The Dome. Sure, it’s a 60k turf closed-in stadium, but we can go for that retro NASL feel and pay homage to our nation’s soccer history.
Candidate: Tampa Bay Rowdies
Location (Metro population): Tampa, Fla. (3,068,511)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Raymond James Stadium (Grass, 65,518)
Potential owner: Edward DeBartolo Jr. (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: This one makes me sad. Despite having never been there, I see Al Lang Stadium as an iconic part of the Rowdies experience. Current owner Bill Edwards proposed an expansion to 18,000 seats in 2016, but the move seems to have stalled out. Frustrated with the city’s lack of action, Edwards sells to one-time San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who uses his old NFL connections to secure a cushy lease at the home of the Buccaneers in Ray Jay, the site of a 3-1 thrashing of Antigua and Barbuda during the United States’ 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign.
Breather. Hey, we finished the Eastern Conference teams. Why are you still reading this? Why am I still writing it? Time is a meaningless construct in 2020 my friends, we are adrift in the void, fueled only by brief flashes of what once was and what may yet still be.
Candidate: Austin Bold FC
Location (Metro population): Austin, Texas (2,168,316)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 95,594)
Potential owner: Michael Dell (reported net worth of $32.3 billion)
Notes: Anthony Precourt’s Austin FC has some unexpected competition and it comes in the form of tech magnate Michael Dell. Dell, were he to buy the club, would be one of the richest owners on our list and could flash his cash in the new first division. Would he have enough to convince Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (I’m not kidding, that’s its actual name) to go back to a grass surface, like it did from ’96-’08? That’s between Dell and nearly 100,000 UT football fans, but everything can be had for the right price.
Candidate: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Location (Metro population): Colorado Springs, Colo. (738,939)
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Falcon Stadium (FieldTurf, 46,692)
Potential owner: Charles Ergen (reported net worth $10.8 billion)
Notes: Welcome to Colorado Springs. We have hurdles. For the first time in 12 candidates, we’re back below the desired 1 million metro population mark. Colorado Springs actually plans to build a $35 million, 8,000 seat venue downtown that will be perfect for soccer, but in our timeline that’s 7,000 seats short. Enter Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force Academy Falcons football team. Seems perfect except for the turf, right? Well, the tricky thing is that Falcon Stadium is technically on an active military base and is (I believe) government property. Challenges to getting in and out of the ground aside, the military tends to have a pretty grim view of government property being used by for-profit enterprises. Maybe Charles Ergen, founder and chairman of Dish Network, would be able to grease the right wheels, but you can go ahead and throw this into the “doubtful” category. It’s a shame, too. 6,035 feet of elevation is one hell of a home-field advantage.
Candidate: El Paso Locomotive FC
Location: El Paso, Texas
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Sun Bowl (FieldTurf, 51,500)
Potential owner: Paul Foster (reported net worth $1.7 billion)
Notes: God bless Texas. When compiling this list, I found so many of the theoretical stadium replacements were nearly serviceable by high school football fields. That’s insane, right? Anyway, Locomotive don’t have to settle for one of those, they’ve got the Sun Bowl, which had its capacity reduced in 2001 to a paltry 51,500 (from 52,000) specifically to accommodate soccer. Sure, it’s a turf surface, but what does new owner Paul Foster (who is only the 1,477th wealthiest man in the world, per Forbes) care, he’s got a team in a top league. Side note: Did you know that the Sun Bowl college football game is officially, through sponsorship, the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl? Why is it not the Frosted Flakes Sun Bowl? Why is the cereal mascot the promotional name of the football game? What are you doing, Kellogg’s?
Candidate: Las Vegas Lights FC
Location: Las Vegas, Nev. (2,227,053)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Allegiant Stadium (Grass, 61,000)
Potential owner: Sheldon Adelson (reported net worth $37.7 billion)
Notes: Sin City. You had to know that the club that once signed Freddy Adu because “why not” was going to go all out in our flashy hypothetical proposal. Thanks to my narrative control of this whole thing, they have. Adelson is the second-richest owner in the league and has decided to do everything first class. That includes using the new Raiders stadium in nearby unincorporated Paradise, Nevada, and spending boatloads on high profile transfers. Zlatan is coming back to the U.S., confirmed.
Candidate: New Mexico United
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Isotopes Park – officially Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park (Grass, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Maloof Family (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: New Mexico from its inception went deep on the community vibe, and I’ve tried to replicate that in this bid. The home field of Rio Grande Cr---I’m not typing out the whole thing—Isotopes Park falls just within the expansion rules we set to make it to 15,000 (weird, right?) and they’ve found a great local ownership group in the Lebanese-American Maloof (formerly Maalouf) family from Las Vegas. The only thing to worry about would be the metro population, but overall, this could be one of the gems of USL Prem.
Candidate: Oklahoma City Energy FC
Location: Oklahoma City, Okla. (1,396,445)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Grass, 13,066)
Potential owner: Harold Hamm (reported net worth $14.2 billion)
Notes: There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow and it says it’s time to change stadiums and owners to make it to D1. A sale to oil magnate Harold Hamm would give the club the finances it needs, but Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (home of the OKC Dodgers) actually falls outside of the boundary of what would meet capacity if 1,500 seats were added. Could the club pull off a move to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma – home of the Oklahoma Sooners? Maybe, but at 20 miles, this would be a reach.
Candidate: Orange County SC
Location: Irvine, Calif. (3,176, 000 in Orange County)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Angels Stadium of Anaheim (Grass, 43,250)
Potential owner: Arte Moreno (reported net worth $3.3 billion)
Notes: You’ll never convince me that Rangers didn’t choose to partner with Orange County based primarily on its name. Either way, a sale to MLB Angels owner Arte Moreno produces a fruitful partnership, with the owner choosing to play his newest club out of the existing Angels stadium in OC. Another baseball conversion, sure, but with a metro population of over 3 million and the closest thing this hypothetical league has to an LA market, who’s complaining?
Candidate: Phoenix Rising FC
Location: Phoenix, Ariz. (4,857,962)
Time zone: Arizona
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): State Farm Stadium (Grass, 63,400)
Potential owner: Ernest Garcia II (reported net worth $5.7 billion)
Notes: We’re keeping it local with new owner and used car guru Ernest Garcia II. His dad owned a liquor store and he dropped out of college, which is making me feel amazing about my life choices right now. Casino Arizona Field is great, but State Farm Stadium is a grass surface that hosted the 2019 Gold Cup semifinal, so it’s a clear winner. Throw in Phoenix’s massive metro population and this one looks like a lock.
Candidate: Reno 1868 FC
Location: Reno, Nev. (425,417)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Mackay Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: Nancy Walton Laurie (reported net worth $7.1 billion)
Notes: The Biggest Little City on Earth has some serious barriers to overcome, thanks to its low metro population. A sale to Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie and 1.6 mile-move to Mackay Stadium to split space with the University of Nevada, Reno makes this bid competitive, but the turf surface is another knock against it.
Candidate: Rio Grande Valley FC
Location: Edinburg, Texas (900,304)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): McAllen Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Alice Louise Walton (reported net worth $45 billion)
Notes: Yes, I have a second straight Walmart heiress on the list. She was the first thing that popped up when I googled “McAllen Texas richest people.” The family rivalry has spurred Walton to buy a club as well, moving them 10 miles to McAllen Memorial Stadium which, as I alluded to earlier, is a straight up high school football stadium with a full color scoreboard. Toss in an additional 1,500 seats and you’ve met the minimum, despite the turf playing surface.
Candidate: San Antonio FC
Location: San Antonio, Texas (2,550,960)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Alamodome (FieldTurf, 64,000)
Potential owner: Red McCombs (reported net worth $1.6 billion)
Notes: I wanted to keep SAFC in the Spurs family, since the franchise is valued at $1.8 billion. That said, I didn’t let the Rooneys own the Riverhounds based on the Steelers’ value and it felt wrong to change the rules, so bring on Clear Channel co-founder Red McCombs. Toyota Field isn’t viable in the first division, but for the Alamodome, which was built in 1993 in hopes of attracting an NFL franchise (and never did), San Antonio can finally claim having *a* national football league team in its town (contingent on your definition of football). Now if only we could do something about that turf…
Candidate: San Diego Loyal SC
Location: San Diego, Calif. (3,317,749)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm) (Grass, 70,561)
Potential owner: Phil Mickelson (reported net worth $91 million)
Notes: Yes, golf’s Phil Mickelson. The existing ownership group didn’t seem to have the wherewithal to meet requirements, and Phil seemed to slot right in. As an athlete himself, he might be interesting in the new challenges of a top flight soccer team. Toss in a move to the former home of the chargers and you might have a basis for tremendous community support.
Candidate: FC Tulsa
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (991,561)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: George Kaiser ($10 billion)
Notes: I’m a fan of FC Tulsa’s rebrand, but if they want to make the first division, more changes are necessary. A sale to Tulsa native and one of the 100 richest men in the world George Kaiser means that funding is guaranteed. A move to Chapman Stadium would provide the necessary seats, despite the turf field. While the undersize population might be an issue at first glance, it’s hard to imagine U.S. Soccer not granting a waiver over a less than a 10k miss from the mark.
And that’s it! You made it. Those are all of the independent/hybrid affiliates in the USL Championship, which means that it’s time for our…
VERDICT: As an expert who has studied this issue for almost an entire day now, I am prepared to pronounce which USL Championships could be most ‘ready” for a jump to the USL Prem. A reminder that of the 27 clubs surveyed, 0 of them met our ideal criteria (proper ownership $, metro population, 15,000+ stadium with grass field).
Two of them, however, met almost all of those criteria: Indy Eleven and Miami FC. Those two clubs may use up two of our three available turf fields right from the outset, but the other factors they hit (particularly Silva’s ownership of Miami) makes them difficult, if not impossible to ignore for the top flight.
But who fill in the rest of the slots? Meet the entire 14-team USL Premier League:
Hartford Athletic
Indy Eleven
Louisville City FC
Miami FC
North Carolina FC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Saint Louis FC
San Antonio FC
New Mexico United
Phoenix Rising FC
Las Vegas Lights FC
Orange County SC
San Diego Loyal SC
Now, I shall provide my expert rationale for each club’s inclusion/exclusion, which can be roughly broken down into four categories.
Firm “yes”
Hartford Athletic: It’s a good market size with a solid stadium. With a decent investor and good community support, you’ve got potential here.
Indy Eleven: The turf at Lucas Oil Stadium is no reason to turn down a 62,421 venue and a metro population of over 2 million.
Louisville City FC: Why doesn’t the 2017 & 2018 USL Cup champion deserve a crack at the top flight? They have the market size, and with a bit of expansion have the stadium at their own SSS. LCFC, you’re in.
Miami FC, “The”: Our other blue-chip recruit on the basis of ownership value, market size and stadium capacity. Yes, that field is turf, but how could you snub Silva’s chance to claim victory as the first division 1 club soccer team to play in Miami?
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Pittsburgh sacrificed a lot to be here (according to my arbitrary calculations). Their market size and the potential boon of soccer at Heinz Field is an important inclusion to the league.
Saint Louis FC: Willie hears your “Busch League” jokes, Willie don’t care. A huge market size, combined with the absence of an NFL franchise creates opportunity. Competition with the MLS side, sure, but St. Louis has serious soccer history and we’re willing to bet it can support two clubs.
Tampa Bay Rowdies: With a huge population and a massive stadium waiting nearby, Tampa Bay seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up for the USL Prem.
Las Vegas Lights FC: Ostentatious, massive and well-financed, Las Vegas Lights FC is everything that the USL Premier League would need to assert that it didn’t intend to play second fiddle to MLS. Players will need to be kept on a short leash, but this is a hard market to pass up on.
Phoenix Rising FC: Huge population, big grass field available nearby and a solid history of success in recent years. No brainer.
San Diego Loyal SC: New club? Yes, massive population in a market that recently lost an absolutely huge sports presence? Also yes. This could be the USL Prem’s Seattle.
Cautious “yes”
New Mexico United: You have to take a chance on New Mexico United. The club set the league on fire with its social media presence and its weight in the community when it entered the league last season. The market may be slightly under USSF’s desired 1 million, but fervent support (and the ability to continue to use Isotopes Park) shouldn’t be discounted.
North Carolina FC: Carter-Finley’s mixed grass/turf surface is a barrier, to be sure, but the 57,000+ seats it offers (and being enough to offset other fully-turf offerings) is enough to put it in the black.
Orange County SC: It’s a top-tier club playing in a MLB stadium. I know it seems unlikely that USSF would approve something like that, but believe me when I say “it could happen.” Orange County is a massive market and California likely needs two clubs in the top flight.
San Antonio FC: Our third and only voluntary inclusion to the turf fields in the first division, we’re counting on San Antonio’s size and massive potential stadium to see it through.
Cautious “no”
Birmingham Legion FC: The town has solid soccer history and a huge potential venue, but the turf playing surface puts it on the outside looking in.
Memphis 901 FC: Like Birmingham, not much to dislike here outside of the turf playing surface at the larger playing venue.
Austin Bold FC: See the other two above.
FC Tulsa: Everything’s just a little bit off with this one. Market’s slightly too small, stadium has turf. Just not enough to put it over the top.
Firm “no”
Charleston Battery: Small metro and a small potential new stadium? It’s tough to say yes to the risk.
Charlotte Independence: A small new stadium and the possibility of having to compete with an organization that just paid over $300 million to join MLS means it’s best for this club to remain in the USL Championship.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: When a club’s best chance to meet a capacity requirement is to host games at a venue controlled by the military, that doesn’t speak well to a club’s chances.
El Paso Locomotive FC: An undersized market and a turf field that meets capacity requirements is the death knell for this one.
Oklahoma City Energy FC: Having to expand a baseball field to meet requirements is a bad start. Having to potentially play 20 miles away from your main market is even worse.
Reno 1868 FC: Population nearly a half-million short of the federation’s requirements AND a turf field at the hypothetical new stadium makes impossible to say yes to this bid.
Rio Grande Valley FC: All the seat expansions in the world can’t hide the fact that McAllen Memorial Stadium is a high school stadium through and through.
Here’s who’s left in the 11-team Championship:
Birmingham Legion FC
Charleston Battery
Charlotte Independence
Memphis 901 FC
Austin Bold FC
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
El Paso Locomotive FC
Oklahoma City Energy FC
Reno 1868 FC
Rio Grande Valley FC
FC Tulsa
With MLS folding the six affiliates it has in USL League One, the league is a little bit thin (especially considering USSF’s requirements for 8 teams for lower level leagues), but seems definitely able to expand up to the necessary numbers with Edwards’ allusions to five new additions this year:
Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
Forward Madison FC
Greenville Triumph SC
Union Omaha
Richmond Kickers
South Georgia Tormenta
FC Tucson
Format of Assorted Leagues – This (like everything in this post) is pure conjecture on my part, but here are my thoughts on how these leagues might function in a first year while waiting for additional expansion.
USL Premier – We’ll steal from the 12-team Scottish Premiership. Each club plays the other 11 clubs 3 times, with either one or two home matches against each side. When each club has played 33 matches, the top six and bottom six separate, with every club playing an additional five matches (against each other team in its group). The top club wins the league. The bottom club is automatically relegated. The second-bottom club will enter a two-legged playoff against someone (see below) from the championship playoffs.
USL Championship -- 11 clubs is a challenge to schedule for. How about every club plays everyone else three times (either one or two home matches against each side)? Top four clubs make the playoffs, which are decided by two-legged playoffs. The winner automatically goes up. I need feedback on the second part – is it better to have the runner-up from the playoffs face the second-bottom club from the Premiership, or should the winner of the third-place match-up get the chance to face them to keep drama going in both playoff series? As for relegation, we can clearly only send down the last place club while the third division is so small.
USL League One – While the league is so small, it doesn’t seem reasonable to have the clubs play as many matches as the higher divisions. Each club could play the other six clubs four times – twice at home and twice away – for a very equitable 24-match regular season, which would help restrict costs and still provide a chance to determine a clear winner. Whoever finishes top of the table goes up.
And there you have it, a hypothetical look at how the USL could build a D1 league right now. All it would take is a new stadium for almost the entire league and new owners for all but one of the 27 clubs, who wouldn’t feel that their property would be massively devalued if they got relegated.
Well that’s our show. I’m curious to see what you think of all of this, especially anything that you think I may have overlooked (I’m sure there’s plenty). Anyway, I hope you’re all staying safe and well.
submitted by Soccervox to USLPRO [link] [comments]

How can I earn $100 per day from a blog?

If you’re starting from scratch with no traffic or influential friends, it’s easy to wonder…
Is it reasonable for you to believe you can make money blogging?
For that matter, how do blogs even make money? Ads? Or something else?
Well, let’s take a look at exactly how I did it at Smart Blogger. Here’s my complete step-by-step process for how to make money blogging:

1. Choose a Profitable Blogging Niche


Let’s start with a little brutal truth, shall we?
Passion does not equal profit.
Neither does expertise.
Hard work doesn’t guarantee anything either.
For example:
You can be the world’s foremost expert on square-shaped tomatoes, wake up every morning with a burning passion to educate the public on their vast superiority to normal-shaped tomatoes, and work until your fingers bleed and your eyes fall out of your head, following all the right tactics for growing a popular blog, and…
You’ll never have a chance in hell at making any money.
Here’s why:
Nobody but you gives a damn about square tomatoes
Even if they did care, they wouldn’t spend any money
In other words, you need a large audience who buys things. Without that, nothing else matters. It’s a prerequisite for everything else.
In the case of Smart Blogger, I noticed early on that bloggers buy lots of different things:

In fact, there are companies with $10 million+ per year of revenue in most of those categories. It’s also a growing space with millions of people:

The only pVery to to Sherryroblem?
Loads of competition. Whether it be my previous employers Brian Clark or Neil Patel, my good friends over at Problogger, or the gazillion other “blogging about blogging” peeps infesting the social media space, everyone was intent on snagging a piece of the pie. They also had a several year head start on me.
So, how did I compete? The honest answer:

2. Level up Your Content Skills


Embed This Infographic On Your Site
You’ve probably heard that “Content is king,” and it’s true… to an extent. A more accurate statement would be…
The Best Content Is King
If that’s hard to understand, think about it this way:
Lots of bloggers sit down and think, “What will I write today?” They jot down some thoughts, doing their best to be helpful, original, and entertaining. If they’re disciplined, they might even stick with it for a few months.
But it almost never works. Here are a few reasons why:
What you want to say isn’t what other people want to read
You weren’t using a proven content framework
It’s not the best post ever published on the topic
Granted, it’s not your fault. Until today, chances are no one ever told you about any of those requirements. You thought you just had to write interesting stuff and publish it.
No, grasshopper. No.
The truth is, having good ideas and powerful words isn’t enough. you have to create the best content ever published on topics lots of people are interested in learning more about. And that brings us to the three levels of content creation:
You know what content is popular in your niche, and you write exclusively about those topics
You’ve mastered frameworks proven to make your content more popular (list post, how to post, etc.)
Your content delivers more value to the reader than any other post published on that topic
You’re probably thinking, “Geez. That sounds hard.” And you’re right, it is.
I personally spent about three years honing my skills by writing for other sites before I started my own blog. It doesn’t have to take that long — I’m just a perfectionist, so I wanted to learn from the best people in my space.

It worked, though. Nowadays, my posts get millions and millions of visitors, not because I know some special “secret,” but because I’m really good at what I do. In fact, I’ll go ahead and say it…
Blogging is really no different than anything else. The more of a bad ass you are, the easier it is for you to make money.
So you want to know how to make some money blogging?
Become a badass writer.
Then the next step is to…

3. Figure out Which Traffic Sport to Play


When you’re a beginner, getting traffic is confusing.
Should you focus on optimizing your keywords? Growing your Facebook page? Leaving comments on blogs? Answering questions on Quora? Creating videos for YouTube?
And so on.
There are a gazillion traffic tactics out there. Everybody says theirs is the best.
But here’s the data:

Source: Facebook and Google dominate web traffic, but not the same kind
Pretty much all the traffic for written content comes from either Google or Facebook. The rest of traffic sources combined don’t even come close to competing with those two Goliaths.
So, how do you get them to send you a bunch of traffic?
One option is you can pay for it. They like that.
But chances are, you’re reading about how to make money blogging because you don’t want to pay for traffic. You want it for free, right?
Well, imagine this:
There’s an arena where all the bloggers in your space go to compete for traffic. The number of other challengers you defeat determines the amount of traffic you receive.
In other words, getting traffic is a sport.
There are winners, and there are losers
To be good, you have to train
You need to study your opponents
There are actually two sports, and I’d bet you’ve heard of both of them: search engine optimization (SEO) and going viral on Facebook. Both take years (yes, I said years) of study to master, but you can start getting pretty decent traffic after just a few months of study and practice.
Which one should you focus on?
Well, here are two questions to guide you:
Is your topic something your friends and family regularly talk about on Facebook? Examples: pets, parenting, self-improvement, and health. If so, focus on playing the viral traffic sport.
Is your topic something people actively search for information about on Google? Examples: product reviews, specific questions they would ask an expert, how-to information. If so, focus on SEO.
For most topics, you can do both, but one or the other will be dominant. In that case, focus on whichever one is dominant.
In the blogging space, for example, stuff about writing and grammar occasionally goes viral on Facebook, because we love criticizing our relatives about their terrible English. On the other hand, you rarely talk with your family about blogging platforms, WordPress plugins, affiliate marketing, or any other blogging topics.
You will, however, search for them on Google. Just as you would guess then, the blogging niche is heavily dominated by search. Here’s a breakdown of Smart Blogger’s traffic by source:

The truth is, we pretty much ignore Facebook. The volume of traffic available there comes nowhere close to the volume of traffic available from Google. So, we focus on Google.
I also spend WAY more time keeping up to date on SEO stuff than I do on social stuff. I’m a geek about it. Throw me in a room full of Google engineers, and I’d probably know more than half of them.
Not to imply I’m the best, though. I’m also competing against people like Darren Rowse, Amy Lynn Andrews, and Neil Patel. They’re pretty freaking good too.
In time, I think I can be better, but who knows? That’s why sports are fun. You never know who is going to win.
If you’re good though, you’ll always be in the “playoffs,” for your space, and you’ll get lots of traffic. Maybe not the most, but still plenty.
And then you can focus on how to…

4. Grow Your Email List with Pop Ups


Chances are, you see pop ups as an annoyance.
They get in the way when you’re trying to read. They ask you to hand over sensitive information like your name, email address, and phone number. Sometimes you have to deal with multiple pop ups on the same site, and it makes you feel hassled and uncared for.
And all that sucks. In my opinion, you have every right to be annoyed.
But here’s the thing…
That’s where the money comes from. The best predictor of the revenue for a blog is the size of their email list. Here’s a breakdown of our revenue at Smart Blogger comparing revenue device from email to other sources.
The rule of thumb is you can expect to make $1 per subscriber per month. So, if you have 10,000 email subscribers, you should be able to make about $10,000 per month.
So obviously, growing your email list is a top priority. You might, however, feel conflicted about using pop ups. What are you supposed to do?
Here’s a different way of looking at it:
If a visitor comes to your site and doesn’t give you their email address, the chances of them returning are nearly zero. You’ll never have another opportunity to help them.
If you believe your content is the best, and you believe you can help them over time, I believe you owe it to them to be as pushy as possible about staying in contact. In other words, not using a pop up is unethical. A little annoyance is a small price to pay for change.
And remember, that doesn’t mean you have to be extremely pushy or spammy. You can absolutely use pop ups in authentic ways.
But you absolutely must use them. Assuming you want to make money, anyway.

5. Begin Monetizing with Affiliate Offers


So, you’re operating in a profitable niche, and you have traffic and an email list. What next?
Lots of bloggers jump into creating a course or book or community of some sort, but that’s a mistake, in my opinion. Before you start selling things, you need concrete evidence those things are what people want to buy. Otherwise, you’re risking wasting months or even years of your life trying to push a product no one wants.
The simplest way to obtain that evidence:
Affiliate offers.
By seeing what your audience buys from other people, you can get a much better sense of what they might want to buy from you. If you promote a product and it converts well, you should think about creating a similar product. If it doesn’t convert well, you should probably move on.
In other words, affiliate offers are a form of market research. As a bonus, you just so happen to get paid commissions on the products your customers buy in the process. So not only are you learning what your audience wants to buy, but you’re making money from your blog at the same time. Pretty sweet deal.
At Smart Blogger, I’ve tried lots of different offers. WordPress hosting, landing page tools, email marketing software, WordPress themes, and half a dozen different types of courses. Since we sell courses, I pay the most attention to the results from those programs, and here are a couple of lessons:
End to end solutions sell best. Courses promising to take someone from knowing nothing to making money far outperformed the others. For instance, here’s a screenshot showing us as the #1 affiliate for Danny Iny’s Course Builder’s Laboratory:
Tools with a clear connection to making money also sell better than the others. For instance, landing page builders. As proof, here’s a screenshot of our earnings from promoting LeadPages:
By themselves, neither of those promotions really moved the needle on our revenue, but they did teach us useful lessons that went into creating Freedom Machine, which brings us to…

6. Develop a Unique Mechanism


Before you think about launching your own products or services, there’s one essential point about human nature you need to understand:
Whenever anyone purchases anything, they expect to transition from where they are now (Point A) to where they want to be (Point B). For example…
When you buy pizza, you want to transition from being hungry and craving pizza (Point A) to tasting delicious pizza and feeling full (Point B).
When you hire a plumber, you want to transition from having a clogged, overflowing toilet (Point A) to having a normally functioning toilet (Point B).
When you buy a course on SEO, you want to transition from feeling bewildered and getting ignored by Google (Point A) to ranking for competitive terms and getting traffic.
The success of a product ultimately depends on helping customers make those transitions. If the customer doesn’t get to Point B, they typically view the experience as a failure.
So, here’s the magic question:
What makes you better equipped to deliver that transition than your competitors?
The answer to that question is what marketing expert Todd Brown calls your “unique mechanism.” It’s a little different from a “unique selling proposition,” because it’s not just something about you that’s different. It’s something about you or your method that makes you better able to help customers than anyone else.
For Freedom Machine, we have multiple unique mechanisms:
Get published on Medium — a platform with more than 60 million active readers looking for content
You don’t have to struggle with setting up your blog. We do it for you.
A research concierge who will do your research for you instead of having to pay for expensive tools
Content frameworks developed behind the scenes at Smart Blogger to produce popular content
A monetization methodology proven by our success with Smart Blogger
Advice on how to automate everything, so you eventually get more freedom
Weekly calls with me where I will help you set up your Freedom Machine
Combined, those unique mechanisms are EXTREMELY convincing at setting us up as the superior solution. Therefore, the product sells like hot cakes.
To be clear… it’s not necessary to have 7 different unique mechanisms. Sometimes just one is all you need (i.e. fresh, hot pizza in 30 minutes or less). The core idea though is to make sure you are obviously far more capable than your competitors at delivering results.
Then all you have to do is…

7. Launch the Minimum Viable Funnel


Look around at successful entrepreneurs of any type, and you’ll find a surprising trend:
They tend to sell their products before the product is created.
To most people, this sounds like insanity at best or a disturbing lack of ethics at worst. How could you possibly ask people to buy something that doesn’t exist?
The answer:
It’s the same principle as Kickstarter.

You create a fancy minimal sales funnel of some sort (in this case, just a simple sales page), tell people the product is coming soon, and then wait to see if enough people sign up to justify making the product. If they don’t, you refund everyone’s money and start over.
In other words, it’s the final step in validating you have a viable product. The steps go like this:
Identify demand by promoting affiliate products
Find a unique mechanism that makes you clearly superior
Test the demand for that unique mechanism with a quick and dirty launch before you create the product
In my case, the minimum viable funnel was a 90 minute webinar. The first time I did it, there was no product, no follow-up sequence, nothing. It was just a bare-bones test.
And it resulted in $126,000 in sales live on the webinar.
Seeing that $30,000 sales was my minimum for success, we went ahead and created the first version of the product live with students. About a year later, it’s now approaching $1 million in sales.
That’s also just one product. We have others, and we have still more in the research pipeline.
And guess what I would do if I had to start over again?
The exact same thing. It’s not easy, it’s not fast, it’s not even that sexy, but it works.
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7 Ways to Make Money Blogging (with Examples!)
Now that you have a general framework to use, let’s jump into the specifics of how to make money blogging, including real-world examples you can study and learn from.
Here are the top 7 ways to make money blogging:

1. Online Courses and Workshops

Here at Smart Blogger, we make most of our income from online courses and workshops — over $1 million per year — but we are far from the only ones. Most of the people making serious money from their blogs are doing it through courses
Ramit Sethi reportedly crossed $10 million dollars in annual revenue with his suite of premium courses:

And it’s not only business or wealth focused topics that are doing well. You can find blogs on just about any topic monetizing with online courses. For instance, the popular interior designer Maria Killam has quite a few courses and workshops in her catalog:

2. Books and Ebooks

Quite a few writers have parlayed their blogging success into a major publishing deal. Mark Manson, for instance, published a post called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck in 2015. Millions of readers later, he got a book deal with Harper Collins and went on to sell over 3,000,000 copies in the US alone.

Self-published books have also been successful. The most notable success story among bloggers is probably James Altucher’s Choose Yourself, which is now sold over 500,000 copies:

3. Affiliate Marketing

If you’d like to earn some passive income from your blog, one of the best choices is affiliate marketing — recommending the products and services of other companies in exchange for a commission.
Here at Smart Blogger, we make more than $100,000 per year promoting affiliate products, most of that coming from casually recommending products we love like Siteground (affiliate link) and Ahrefs (affiliate link).
But there are lots of other examples too. For instance, Digital Photography School has reportedly made over $500,000 in Amazon commissions from promoting photography equipment:

4. Advertising

Normally, we’re not big fans of selling ads on your site. You need roughly a million visitors per year for the large advertising networks to take you seriously, and affiliate marketing is almost always more profitable and just as passive.
That being said, some niches like recipes, fashion, and news are hard to monetize through many of the other methods mentioned here, and they get LOTS of traffic. In that case, putting a few ads on your site can make sense as a supplementary income source.
For example, here’s a screenshot of a 2016 income report from Share the Yummy:

Normally, you make money by joining a network. Nearly anyone can join Google AdSense, for example, and you can later grow into more selective networks like Mediavine and AdThrive.

5. Speaking Gigs

If your blog takes off, and you start being recognized as an authority in your space, you might be surprised by how many invitations you get to speak at conferences. And it’s amazingly profitable. I typically make a minimum of $10,000 per speech and it can go as high as $100,000 when you count product sales resulting from the speech.
Not bad for a 60-90 minute talk.

6. Consulting/Coaching

While this certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, doing a bit of coaching or consulting over the phone can earn you a surprisingly nice living, even when your audience is small. I don’t do consulting anymore, but the last time I did, I charged $1,000 an hour with a six-month waiting list.
But I’m not the only one. Going back to Maria, again, she’s been quite innovative coming up with ways to do design consultations by photo and email, currently charging $1,275 per room:

You can make this work in almost any space. You just need to know what you’re doing and be confident in the value you are providing to clients.

7. Selling Freelance Services

The next step up from consulting is to actually do it for them.
Typically, you’ll make more money with this than anything else, but it’s also the most draining and time intensive. That being said, I’ve seen bloggers make six-figure incomes with no more than a few thousand readers on their blog, essentially using their blog as a lead mechanism to get clients.
It’s so profitable, even if successful bloggers continue to do it. For example, Elna Cain continues to sell her freelance writing services:

If you’re a writer, designer, photographer, programmer, or other service provider where your skills can be sold digitally instead of you having to be there in person, you might want to consider it from day one. All you really need to get started is a contact form for clients to reach out to you.
Let’s close with some questions and answers, shall we?
Go to top
FAQ about How to Make Money Blogging
So, we’ve covered the basic process. Now let’s step back for a moment and answer some of the questions I hear the most often:
Do bloggers make money?
I certainly do, but I don’t think that’s what you’re asking. I think you’re asking…
“Is it reasonable for me to learn how to make money blogging?”
The no BS answer:
It depends on how patient and persistent you are.
Starting a blog from scratch is just as difficult as starting any business. For example, it requires the same time and effort as starting your own restaurant, software company, or accounting service. Yes, those businesses are wildly different, but the first few years are usually the same story: low income, lots of stress, big learning curve.
If you want a more concrete answer than that, we’ve found it takes even our smartest, most dedicated students 3-6 years to make enough money from blogging to quit their jobs. And that sounds like a long time, but so what? 3-6 years to be able to work from anywhere in the world, take a vacation whenever you want, and probably have passive income until the day you die?
Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
How much money can you make from blogging?
The fact is, most bloggers make as much money as any other type of entrepreneur:
Nothing.
And it’s not because there’s no money in it. This blog makes more than $1 million per year, for God sakes, and it’s nowhere close to the most profitable blog out there. Blogs like The Penny Hoarder, Moz, and Lifehacker power businesses worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

So why aren’t more bloggers rich?
The truth is, most people quit. They start a blog, realize it’s hard work, and walk away.
But if you’re patient and persistent?
You can make millions. I have. So have lots of other smart, dedicated entrepreneurs.
You just have to do the work. Consistently. For years.
Can you do that?
Then yeah, I think you can make six figures at least. Maybe more.
How do you make money blogging? (Or, How do bloggers make money?)
As I mentioned earlier, there 7 popular ways to make money blogging:
Offering online course and workshops
Writing books and eBooks
Affiliate marketing (recommending products and services in exchange for a commission)
Blog ads
Speaking at conferences
Offering your expertise as a consultant or coach
Selling freelance services such as writing, designing, and programming
Which is best for you will depend your blog, your expertise, and your situation.
How do you start your own blog for free?
Lots of people say you can’t. They tell you to buy a domain name and a hosting account and a premium WordPress theme.
But I think that’s nonsense.
You can get started for free within five minutes on Medium. They also have over 60 million monthly readers, so you can get a lot of exposure there if you get featured.

This article walks you through that strategy, step-by-step.
Alternatively, you can write on WordPress.com, Linkedin, or any of the other platforms out there. It doesn’t really matter. The point is, start writing and learning as soon as possible.
Once people start sharing your articles, and you begin to understand how everything works, then you can go through the trouble of setting up your own site, installing WordPress, and all that jazz. Until then though, it’s just a headache you don’t need.
What are the most popular blogging platforms?
WordPress is by far the most popular. No one else is even close.
But that doesn’t mean it’s the best for everyone. There are several — and most of them are free.
As I mentioned earlier, I think Medium is a good place to start. You can also create your own blog with tools like Blogger, Squarespace, Wix, Joomla, and countless others.
What are the top blogs about how to make money blogging?
I’d like to think Smart Blogger is the best (and most comprehensive) site on the topic, but it’s by no means the only one. Not all of these talk about how to make money blogging, but together, they give you a solid foundation:— Brian Dean doesn’t talk much about how to make money blogging, but he’s one of the top experts and educators in the world on SEO. What I love about his content is how easy to understand it is, despite covering some incredibly complex topics. If you’re a beginner, prepare for a treat.
— In my opinion, my friends over at Digital Marketer are the best in the world at monetizing traffic. If you’d like to learn about marketing, list building, customer research, automation, or funnels, there’s no better source. If you’re interested in using your blog to build passive income, Pat Flynn is a master at showing you how to build a tiny little business that can support you and the lifestyle you want. Both his blog and podcast are excellent.
Want me to walk you through all of the steps?

Here's a free workshop where I'll walk you through the steps, so you can understand EXACTLY what you have to do to be successful.
The Bottom Line about How to Make Money Blogging
Is it possible?
Absolutely, but only if you treat it as a business.
Yes, you can start your blog as a side project. Yes, you can slowly grow it in the background. Yes, you can turn your blog into a source of passive income that eventually lets you quit your job, travel, spend more time with your family, whatever you want to do.
But like anything worthwhile, it’s hard work getting there.
You have to study. Practice. Master your craft.
If you love writing, I can’t imagine a better business, though. Not only is blogging a great way to get your writing noticed, but it’s a great way to connect with people around the world who need you, teach them what you know, and get paid pretty damn well in exchange.
There’s never a day I regret dedicating myself to blogging. Never.
It’s not just because of the money, either. It’s because I also get to do what I love and help people at the same time.
What could be better than that?
submitted by abhishiks to online_earning [link] [comments]

[Translation] Which La Liga club fits each Premier League team?

Good morning lads and lassies of soccer. To celebrate that the Bundesliga finally comes back I bring you the transcripton/translation of a pretty interesting video I had watched some time ago, related (and literally titled) "Which La Liga team fits each team of the Premier League?"
Now, I know the issue about fans that have simpathy for "second" teams is polarizing and as we all know after last year, it can become something completely vomitive, but this video is indeed trying to give fans of Spanish clubs reasons to like a particular English club, and with that said, tbh I believe at the end of the day most fans, plastic or not, do feel at least some simpathy for some clubs above others excluding their own. From the small town fan who supports their local club but also the "big" team that challenges for the league in the top division, to the Ultra that hates every club of their country that isn't his but do likes a foreign club of which he befriended their respective Ultras in the past, I'm pretty sure that most football fans do feel at least a bit of simpathy for some particular club of a foreign league.
But well, that discussion shouldn't be the topic of this. The fact is that these Spaniards of the video do like particular English clubs and to guide other similar Spaniards analyzed the situation and created this "guidebook" about which Premier League club "currently" fits each La Liga club, and that is what will be shown here.
With a last emphasis in the "currently", there's nothing else to say as preview. Just remember that these aren't my opinions and I'm only sharing what they decided.

Newcastle United & Athletic Club

Crystal Palace & Getafe

Liverpool & Real Madrid

Norwich & Valladolid

Bournemouth & Eibar

Burnley & Alaves

Sheffield United & Mallorca

Brighton & Levante

Leicester & Villarreal

Southampton & Leganés

Watford & Granada

Chelsea & Atletico Madrid

Tottenham & Sevilla

Manchester United & Valencia

Everton & Real Sociedad

Manchester City & Barcelona

West Ham & Espanyol

Wolves & Real Betis

Aston Villa & Celta de Vigo

Arsenal & Osasuna

*and that's it. Hope that you liked it as I did. Do you have any opinions about how to make this even more accurate? feel free to share them.
submitted by LordVelaryon to soccer [link] [comments]

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