Reality Bytes:  Sponsorships

It's that time again. Another chance for me to share my highly biased opinions with all of you, the Dynamo faithful. I cherish this time I have to spend ranting and raving about anything Dynamo or US Soccer related, and to have you all comment on it -- whether positive or negative. It's an honor to write for all of you and for Dynamo Theory, and while my activity sees dips and lulls, rest assured I hope to be around here for a long time to come. Thus, you get to put up with me for much, much longer. Sorry. Now that we've had our bromance bonding time, feel free to follow to the actual meat of this weeks rants and raves after the jump.

I'm sure some of you were scratching your head at the picture adorning the precious Front Page of Dynamo Theory (and this article). Well, rest assured, MLS has not become so bush league they had to revert to using cars in replacement for actual players (though, cars do tend to have a longer lifespan than the average Dynamo DP). About 5 days ago, Mazda North American Operations announced they have agreed to become a long-term sponsor of the Houston Dynamo and BBVA Stadium.

As most of us know by now, these sponsorship deals actually mean very little for the Dynamo, as AEG tends to embezzle horde pass these funds onto their favored football club, the LA Galaxy. Really, it just seems like while the Dynamo Front Office do a decent job of acquiring sponsors, the galactic overlords AEG refuse to actually use the acquired excess funds on anything but a DP level talent. Unless you count Lord Lardo Luis Landin, which really, could anyone count him as a DP talent? I suppose if it was a hot dog eating belly flop biggest DP flop talent contest.

The real sadness behind this sponsorship is while it benefits Mazda and is a great partnership overall, it really, just as every previous sponsorship, is just for show. Until we see some major moves out of the Dynamo Front Office, or AEG sent packing thanks to a willing spender of a new owner or ownership group, we're going to remain in the MLS Dark Ages while other clubs continue to move forward and sign quality talent.

As it is, we lost out on Kris Boyd to the Portland Timbers. Sure, we received a first round draft pick out of the process, but really, you're comparing apples to oranges. In three years from now, we could look to have some serious depth, or we might totally suck. While this is the same time we fielded last season, minus one Brian Ching and one Carlos Costly, the rest of the league grows and expands around us.

It is one thing to be left in the dust by teams like LA and NY, but it is quite another to be left in the dust by teams like Portland and Seattle. They have solid fan bases, but so too do the Dynamo. Nobody can argue the Dynamo have one of the best homefield advantages, and that advantage will be even greater in BBVA Stadium. Yet somehow, we always come up short on our quest for the DP to round out our team.

I'm not saying it's a conspiracy, but there's no doubt AEG is working the collusion angle. After all, while AEG continues to open up the deep, deep pocketbooks to grab players for their prize gem, the LA Galaxy, they continue to remain incredibly tight-fisted when it comes to the Dynamo payroll. The Dynamo lost out on two fairly large contracts in a good way this offseason. Brian Ching's $412,500 contract is gone, and Koke's $153,000 was gone before we even noticed it left the pocketbook. Also gone is Hunter Freeman's $183,333 salary and Eddie Robinson's $120,000 salary. Hopefully gone is also he who shall not be named JeVaughn Watson's ridiculous $105,000 salary (figures based off 2011 MLS released salaries).

Count with me now, $973,833 in offloaded salaries in exchange for...? Yeah, I'm not seeing much in terms of new signings here to show where it all went. Even if Moffat was given $120,000 and Carmago a hefty $200,000, that's a boatload of remaining salaries we sure could be using to sign a REAL DP. The math is simple, and it's easy.

One ownership group + two teams owned = one red-headed step child a la the Houston Dynamo.

It's sad, but it is the state of being a Houston Dynamo fan. It is the state of sitting in the Dynamo Front Office right now. Your hands are tied, and you are unable to make moves. Not because there isn't money to play with, but because the Ownership Group surely won't let you. So what do you do?

You watch the rest of the league expand, grow and bring in quality talent at ridiculously good prices while the stigma of Houston being a place no real footie player wants to go continues to trend. I don't blame our Front Office. Canetti is working with what he is given. I blame AEG. I blame Garber. If the deal AEG was offering potential owners was any good, there would have been one offer by now. And we would know about it.

Instead, it's becoming more and more apparent while AEG wants to sell, their terms just simply do not fit a reasonable viability for any potential ownership to grow this team properly. I am sure now AEG is doing what we feared they would do, and demanding they retain full ownership of BBVA Stadium and demanding they retain the right to rent or lease the stadium to prospective ownership groups. There isn't a single financially viable individual who would agree to those terms, let alone further terms which I am dead certain AEG is demanding in order to protect their "investments".

Eventually AEG's ownership stake will be sold, but it won't be to the best ownership group for the Dynamo. I can almost say with certainty unless something miraculous happens, the reality of this situation is we will not see a quality Dynamo team beyond the players we have now and the players we draft for the duration of the next ownerships tenure. If you think AEG is tight-fisted, just wait. I have a feeling the next version will be even worse.

Scary, ain't it?

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