Experienced soccer executive Peter Wilt is assuming a leadership role in Madison, WI, where he will serve as the managing director of Madison Pro Soccer.
Big Top Events has been working to bring professional soccer to Breese Stevens Field, a venue it has managed since 2015. City council approval of a new use agreement for the facility, combined with funding for upgrades to the venue, has paved the way for Big Top to bring a professional soccer team to Madison for the 2019 season.
More information about the club and its league will be announced at an event on Thursday evening, but it has been confirmed that Wilt is taking on a leadership role with the club. Wilt, the original president and GM of MLS’s Chicago Fire and a key player in the launch of Indy Eleven (formerly of the NASL, now of the USL), comes to Madison with plenty of experience in professional soccer and a deep knowledge of the region. More from the Wisconsin State Journal:
The hiring of Wilt, a Whitefish Bay resident who’s well-known in soccer circles for establishing pro teams in Chicago and Indianapolis, is what Big Top president Vern Stenman called a sign of the company’s commitment.
“This is not something that we’re just going to throw a soccer team out there and hope some people come,” Stenman said. “This is something that we think is going to continue to change the landscape of entertainment in this community for a long time to come.”
The council on Tuesday approved changes to the use agreement between the city and Big Top, including an extension through 2028 with a mutual option through 2033.
Wilt said he sees in Madison a “perfect marriage” of demographics — particularly young professionals living next to the Near East Side stadium — and an evolution of soccer that’s converting TV-watching fans of foreign teams into in-person supporters of the local teams.
Big Top Events is coming to professional soccer after years of experience in summer collegiate league baseball. It currently owns and operates four summer collegiate league baseball teams, including the Madison Mallards (Northwoods League).
Image courtesy Breese Stevens Field.