For a moment, let's assume that rumours about Tim Howards salary demands are true, as reported by British tabloid ‘The Sun'; they of the topless photos on page three; they of salacious gossip; they of unreliable pseudo ‘News'; (don't believe me? Go click. This is just today's home page. I don't even know what day it is you are clicking. Whatever it is, I promise the cover is overwhelmingly awful.)
We've already covered here, and here, and here, why signing Tim Howard at almost any DP level price is either too much, or won't really help the club, or is a marketing-driven decision instead of a soccer decision.
It wasn't a great decision when it was normal expensive. Now, at 4 years and $20 million, Tim Howard is crazy expensive. Unless he sells out DSGP regularly, and earns the Rapids eight to ten MLS games on ESPN or FS1 next year, and sells $4 million in jerseys, and triples viewership on Altitude, that's a bad deal. The salary is only moderately bad: it's the years that's so killer. In year three and year four of this contract, 2018 and 2019, Howard would presumably earn $5 million at age 41, and again at age 42. Even if he's good, that eats up cash and a DP slot that the team might desperately need at that time. And then there's the question of how much of an upgrade he'd be over Zac MacMath, who earned $130,000 in 2015.
He'd have to be spectacular to be worth $4.87 million a year more than MacMath. I'll venture he won't be that much of an upgrade. Howard has lost his #1 GK job with Everton. In our worst fears, he'd even be a downgrade from MacMath.
Suffice it to that the staff at Burgundy Wave are not enthusiastic about a potential Tim Howard signing. Aside from all the reasons mentioned, there's the money. So. Much. Money.
Here are some thoughts about other things we could buy with $20 million. I think all would be better than Tim Howard.
It would buy ONE - USL affiliate in Boulder. A local affiliate could promote the top-flight soccer team, the Rapids, and serve as a destination for reserve and homegrown players. It could be additional revenue, or an additional asset. It would help make the Colorado Rapids more statewide. For $20 million, you could buy land in some inexpensive place like Niwot or Gunbarrel or Louisville, and an inexpensive stadium, and coaches and player salaries. And you'd still have it after four years.
It would also buy ONE National Women's Soccer League team. Take all the above about a USL club. Now flip it to top-flight women's soccer, and put it in DSGP. The US Women's National Team includes Mallory Pugh, and Jaelene Hinkle, and Lindsey Horan, who are all from Colorado. We create amazing soccer players on the women's side here in Colorado. What if we kept them, and promoted them and elevated and celebrated them? I get amped when I see Mallory Pugh play for the USWNT. Hell yeah, I'd pay to see her play in Colorado.
It would buy TWO or more local youth soccer programs. The Rapids Youth program is nice. But it could be nicer. And bigger. There are lots of other youth soccer programs in the area, like Real Colorado, and Rush, and Storm, and Skyline and Arsenal and St. Vrain... So buy one. Or two. And rebrand them as the Rapids. Maybe one or two of the whippersnappers turns out to be a bona-fide prospect. Some of the rest maybe turn into season ticket holders. More Rapids youth soccer is an investment in the long term, both with players and with fans.
It would buy FORTY TV commercials , or EIGHT THOUSAND billboards, for the Rapids. That'd get more people to games, probably more-so then Timmy would.
It would pay for staff and equipment for ONE HUNDRED free weekend youth clinics, at $20,000 a pop. Think of how many kids of all ages could be turned on to soccer with the Rapids.
It would buy THREE HUNDRED AND TWENTY TWO soccer players earning the senior minimum. I mean, I don't know exactly how that would help the Rapids: three hundred Nathan Sturgis' is about as good as one. But still: it offers some context about how nuts it is to pay Tim Howard $20 million.
At $10,000 a kid for equipment, coaching fees, and travel costs, it'd pay for TWO THOUSAND youth academy players. That's basically an army of young potential soccer players, any one of whom could grow up to be the next Howard, or Cristiano, or Zidane. Or Mallory Pugh. Or Morgan Brian. Or Mia Hamm.
It would buy EIGHT HUNDRED THIRTY THREE THOUSAND tickets to a Rapids game, for whoever the heck you want. But how about a free game for every Colorado 5th grader and their parent? I picked that age because it's impressionable, and because Colorado Ski areas (I think?) do a deal for a free ticket to a local ski area.
It would buy TWO MILLION Rapids-branded soccer balls. You could give a soccer ball to every family in the state. That'd buy a lot of good will.
So Colorado Rapids, please, don't get Tim Howard. Spend your money more wisely on something that will have a more impact. I gave you nine ideas. Feel free to cut me a check as a consultants fee. It seems like you guys can afford it.