August 2016: after several meetings, WSBSPORT started a first consulting mission in California, in the San Francisco area, in order to bring 5 a side in USA.
Sebastien (the Project Manager) and Romain (WSBSPORT consultant) took flights to San Francisco during one week to analyse the area and visit some potential sites. We stopped San Francisco research quickly upon discovering real estate tariffs in the area.
A good opportunity came up in the city of San Jose when a 5000M2 field became available to buy. Our investor on site, Gilles, agreed to get into negotiations but, after several discussions, the deal was lost at the last minute when the landlord decided to increase the price to + 500Kusd …
We started to understand the real estate market in Silicon Valley.
In parallel, WSBSPORT continued to look hopefully for venues and in May 2017 we had an opportunity in San Diego with an old, closed Tennis Club to be bought.
Negotiations went fast and Gilles got into an escrow process on June 6th 2017.
June 21st 2017 everything is quite calm in Marseille, Romain & Sebastien are managing their own businesses when at 11PM Gilles called Sebastien to say: «We need you to be in San Diego next week to move forward on the project and organize a Kick Off Meeting. See you next week».
Sunday 25th June, 5am … Seb and Romain are at the airport, a little bit tired and ready for a 20 hour trip. In parallel, Seb took contacts with a local communication agency and Romain organized a meeting with a local marketing expert and we worked together in the plane on the project itself: forecast, team building, legal aspects and budgeting.
Luca our engineer from WSBSPORT took another flight from Roma to join us in San Diego and be able to make a technical pre-analysis.
When arriving in the US, Romain made the mistake of saying he was here for « business » and « soccer ». US customs did not understand and he had to spend ½ hour explaining the reason of this trip. They could not believe that soccer could be a business!
Monday, June 26th: competitors overview (low level quality, softball and baseball approach) finished to convince us that the San Diego venue we had was a huge opportunity. Let’s imagine that one of our competitors, located 35 minutes from San Diego has 108 teams in League every 2 months on 2 fields … whereas we should have 6 high quality fields at 14 minutes from San Diego downtown.
Tuesday June 27th: for the first time, a complete team is working on the project. Mary & Eva (OAKS venture, broker and multi competencies associates) will be managing the real estate issues and legal aspects, Crystal (Real Architect) presented some first ideas and was confirmed as our architect and our WSBSPORT engineer Luca will be the one coordinating technical issues. Gilles – Sebastien & Romain started discussing branding, marketing and business development in the US.
Quickly into the discussion, we discovered new issues around San Diego tennis club that could impact the planning and the final concept layout. The team decided to continue the San Diego process, renegotiate with the landlord to delay the escrow period, find a way to obtain guarantees on the destination of the property and also discussed another opportunity that appeared recently in Sacramento where it could be easier to obtain permit and authorization … that’s how a flexible project team is!
Nothing is closed, dreams are still open! The Californian dream should be back in September. Follow us on WSBSPORT.com.