Fort Wayne Floated as USL Division III Market


Fort Wayne, IN is emerging as a possible contender for the USL Division III circuit, which is on track for a 2019 launch. 

Plans for USL DIII were announced earlier this year, and the indications were that the league would be geared toward markets ranging from 150,000 to a million in population. That covers a wide range of possibilities, including Fort Wayne, a city that looks to be on the radar of league officials.

According to a recent report, USL DIII leadership paid a visit to the city in May. Though nothing has been finalized at this point, there appears to be some interest, as USL DIII officials are noting the benefits Fort Wayne has to offer. More from the News-Sentinel:

“In the USL, our fan base is primarily younger, more educated, more affluent than other sports,” USL Division III vice president Steven Short said. “Some reports on Fort Wayne have the millennial population approaching 100,000. We see those, we see the family contingent, the local business contingent and just a lot of people who want to be around the game. The opportunity is there to provide them with a team of their own.”

Short said USL representatives met with multiple interested parties in Fort Wayne during a tour of potential Midwest cities in May, but did not identify the possible investors. Fort Wayne United’s Bobby Poursanidis confirmed his group was among those who met with the USL. Poursanidis and his associates have not committed to join the league, but they are interested in the option. Poursanidis said he is also interested in exploring USL Division II.

USL Division III is slated to begin in March 2019 with cities and teams being added until “mid-to-late 2018,” Short said.

Fort Wayne has a strong track record with professional sports. Baseball’s Fort Wayne TinCaps (Low A; Midwest League) have been a perennial success since moving to downtown’s Parkview Field in 2009, and the city has also supported hockey’s Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL) and basketball’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants (NBA Gatorade league).

As noted, the population range for USL DIII leaves numerous possibilities in the mix. The markets that have been connected to the league so far include, but are not limited to, Grand Rapids, MI; Lexington, KY; Statesboro, GA, and more.

Image courtesy USL.

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