Call it the St. Louis Scramble.
The last thing that the rookie owner of the women’s pro soccer team in Atlanta needed was for the St. Louis team to fold right before coming here in May for the third home game of the season.
But that’s exactly what Atlanta Beat owner Fitz Johnson faced — a shot to the gut while trying to woo new fans in his team’s inaugural season.
Welcome to the rocky world of women’s pro soccer, a perennial tough sell in America. Marketing women’s basketball is no picnic, but hoops is a considerably bigger draw than soccer.
“You’ve got to become relevant in the sports landscape of Atlanta,” said Johnson, who has invested $2.5 million to try to do that. “It’s extremely hard.”
Even harder, when the league, Women’s Professional Soccer, is shaky. It has gone from nine teams to seven, losing the Los Angeles franchise before the season started.
When St. Louis bailed out right before the Atlanta game, Johnson needed to do some