Detroit City FC joins the USL
By Ethan Goldstein
November 29, 2021
Photo Credit: Stadium Journey
Detroit City Football Club, the primary professional soccer organization in the Detroit area, recently announced that the club will be joining the United Soccer League for the upcoming 2022 season. This promotion to the USL, which is the second highest league in the U.S. behind Major League Soccer, marks the peak of a transformation for the club from a small, semi-professional club to a high-level professional organization.
Founded in 2012, Detroit City FC was established as a semi-professional team by a group of friends who wanted to bring a soccer team into the Detroit community. The team competed in the National Premier Soccer League and played its home games at Cass Tech High School in downtown Detroit, with an average fan attendance of just over 1,000 fans per game. Eventually, the team moved to Keyworth Stadium in downtown Hamtramck for their home games, where attendance spiked to over 5,000 fans at each game. The team then entered the professional ranks by joining the National Independent Soccer Association in 2020 and decided after a few successful years that it was time to take the next step by joining the USL.
For the club, not only does this represent a monumental leap from a team perspective, but it also offers significant benefits from a business perspective. According to an announcement via the club regarding their promotion, the move to the USL will include stadium upgrades and increased staffing to serve players, fans, broadcasters, and media.
Additionally, all USL games will be streamed on ESPN+, where the league experienced a 500% increase in viewership in 2020. After previously broadcasting all games on regional networks, having nationally televised games will help the club develop a larger national following that increases revenue streams.
Detroit City FC’s mission as a club has always been to establish themselves as Detroit’s soccer team and use their platform to bring the community together through the beautiful game.
In 2020, the team opened up a public offering with 10% of club equity, a move that directly intertwined the team and community, but also compensated for financial struggles during the pandemic. Additionally, the team places a large focus on supporting local businesses through team sponsorships, with businesses such as Brew Detroit and Detroit Bikes among others serving as key sponsors.
With the expected revenue increase from this next step in the team’s journey, the team can increase their valuation and expand upon their current sponsorships as part of furthering their overall progress on the pitch and in the community.