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Refund Update 10/20


If you are reading this, and have not received an email prompting you to take further steps, please go straight to this form or contact your commissioner.


UPDATE ON FALL


We were able to successfully relaunch 6 out of our 7 cities this fall. It's been fantastic to be back out on the pitch and have some of our teams and players with us. We have been able to do so safely and we are very proud of how we have operated amongst the pandemic. Thank you to all the teams out there that have followed our precautions so diligently. However, there were many not able to get back on the pitch and we miss those who were not able to play with us this fall whatever the reason may be. And we have not forgotten the teams or individuals who paid this spring.


FINANCIAL CONTEXT


We are very aware that amongst the craziness of this pandemic, a lot of confusion has set in. Some companies have issued refunds, some have gone out of business, some have lost jobs while others haven't, some companies received loans or help, some did not, some had to change pricing, others did not. Every person and every company faces a different set of challenges. Our company, like almost every member of our industry, faces a massive challenge with cash flow and the misperception regarding where their customers money goes. So, we would like to provide further context regarding why we have been unable to issue refunds so far.


We came out of this winter in pretty good shape. The winter is typically a difficult window for us to turn a profit, but we did well to avoid going the wrong direction. Our company is a for-profit company. However, we are not set up to take in large profits. When we do, most of that money is immediately redistributed to our expansion efforts, not a savings account. It's imperative for our mission and our vision to keep growing. When the spring started, we were healthy, but we did not have a rain day fund set up for a potential pandemic.


When the revenue was beginning to be generated, the cash immediately was used to pay for salaries, field expenses (a large expense), website redevelopment, software necessary for running the day to day, healthcare and other benefits, office rent and expenses, match day operations (which became pointless with the season scrapped, and started from the beginning in the fall) and other small expenses normal to keeping things moving. It's important to know that not all committed teams had paid for the spring yet, about 50% had, with many divisions yet to start. Most of these expenses were rendered redundant. Salaries, field expenses, and match day operations were completely wasted. These were all expenses we had to pay again, in full, once setting up for the fall. In essence we had to pay for many things twice, as opposed to once. Additionally, we had expenses that had to be continued to be paid while shutdown. So although we did have some left once we got through March, it was needed to make sure we didn't go bankrupt.


This is why we were unable to immediately refund team and player fees. Such an abrupt and unexpected shutdown disrupted our cash flow and forced a waste of your fees. It's something we will plan for in the future. We have learned many lessons, but we can't go back in time and set this money aside. We hope this transparency alleviates any confusion. And we certainly hope every member of our community has been able to get through this incredibly difficult time.


HOW WILL WE SOLVE THIS


Every member of our staff that has been able to continue working with us is dedicated to providing a full offering in 2021, reaching our previous goals, while maintaining our current level of fixed costs, which is significantly reduced. By creating a larger margin, and reallocating ALL profit to teams who are unable to play with us in the future, we will be able to get any team who cannot play with us in the future their money back. This fall we were able to reduce a significant amount of money owed to spring teams and the process you will see below will also reduce our immediate dollar amount needed for future spring refunds.


Please note, every team willing to take a credit, will be offered a significant amount of additional credit for future usage. The amount offered will depend on the amount paid. If you paid a fee in the spring, have not received an email with your credit amount listed, please contact your commissioner immediately and they will provide you with this amount.


THE PROCESS


Our updated process:


- Collect each team and player's request for a refund or credit (with bonus amount, if you don't know this amount, please contact us) Please follow this link to fill out the form if you have not already.


- Deadline to apply for one or the other is November 20th, on this date we will know the final dollar amount needed to earn.


- Begin our winter and spring seasons. Any team who applied for a credit will be able to use it during these seasons (and any future seasons.)


- Issue Refunds to everyone once the total dollar amount is reached in operational profit. This will likely be in the spring when we are fully operational and be in a viable position. 

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Men's 5v5 Announced

We return to Upper 90 after a nice long COVID induced break. Who's ready to get back out there? 


Details below, anybody interested please email [email protected]

WhereUpper 90 Soccer Center

When: Monday nights with kickoffs at 8:30 and 9:15 PM

Begins: September 21st

Who: Men's 5-A-Side

How much: $1250 Early Bird Team Fee (paid by end of month) if late it's $1,500

How much: $150 for free agent

What comes with: 8 match season with team shirts

Why: Best 5-a-side league and facility in all five boroughs



For more information on refunds please our letter written from the Director of Operations here

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Weekly Update 8/27

Division Updates

Brooklyn Bridge Park, Randall's Island, as well as Bushwick Inlet Park and Octagon which are the fields we would typically be using in the fall or have a shot at using are not permitting for the fall. Which means no Women's or Men's 9v9.

We are still waiting to actually receive our permits for Pier 40 to see how this affects 11v11 and 7v7. I believe Hudson River Park which issues these permits is playing wait-and-see on whether or not the other parks will reverse their decision before finalizing these permits. So unfortunately, although there is still a good bit of hope for these divisions, I don't have the ability to put together a schedule or open registration for new teams. An exhausting process. We will continue to provide updates.

Additionally, we are exploring the options to run our 5v5 leagues this fall at Upper 90 which could include divisions for both our men, coed, and women however U90 has not made any decisions yet on whether or not they will open up. Some small tournaments may be an option we explore as well. So keep an eye out for that.

Reverse Permit Decision

For anyone that would like to help us reverse this decision, we have joined forces with a couple of organizations and created some petitions. The first one is the more impactful one, started by South Bronx United, I would really encourage everyone to sign it. The second is a petition a lot of us adult leagues created, however most of the traction has been gained on the first link, so I would focus if anything. We have also reached out to the City Council to encourage them to take this seriously. We truly believe it is safer to have organized leagues operating the fields than letting people run free doing who knows what and interacting without any precaution.

South Bronx United Petition

Adult League Petition

If you'd like to understand our position on refunds please head here.

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A Letter On Refunds

Dear Gotham Family,

What a year it has been. Far from over as well. I really feel for our community during this time. We have such a dedicated group of players and teams, it's what I love about Gotham. Seems so different from a lot of the other leagues and recreational sports. Teams and players who come out to play session after session, sometimes multiple times a week. I love it. And there is no better outlet than playing your teammates week in and week out. I know a lot of you are moving away, looking for a new job, or facing other logistical and financial challenges. So it really kills me that I have to write this, but I do want to explain the position we are in regarding refunds.

When this pandemic hit, which seemed like at the time, out of absolutely nowhere, we were really rocking and rolling. We were off to our best start yet in pretty much every way possible, in all of our 7 cities, including New York. However, in the weeks leading up to the shutdown, while we had collected a lot of team and player fees, we were making necessary expenses on salaries to organize everything, advertising to, equipment, field rentals, referees for the first matches, insurance, t-shirts, and other various overhead we always have to make sure things run smoothly. We were doing everything we felt was right to not only run the league but to continue the progress we had made over the past years to keep growing the league. When the money came in from your fees, it had to go out. We were healthy and I have no regrets on any of the decisions that were made. But suddenly we shutdown, and a lot of that was wasted on expenses we can’t get back. And furthermore, we had certain expenses that we had committed to that we couldn’t reverse such as health insurance, such as hosting our website and customer databases, last bit of contractor payments, etc. And then, we had everyone demanding their money back. For good reason too, times were and remain uncertain, people have been impacted and they did not get the service they were promised this spring. Which again, I get it. I paid my team fee in full before my teammates paid me. I understood the logic. But our reality, much like the reality for our entire industry and most other small businesses left us without a fair way to redistribute what was left, and to boot, having no idea when this would be over. We were left handcuffed by the timing of this pandemic and I hate that it affects so many of you who were gracious enough to pay your fees on time, which is so important to allowing us to operate in the first place. 

I cannot express this enough- if we could get everyone their money back and erase all the damage this pandemic has left, we would do it in a heartbeat. We have not benefited in any shape or form from this. We are just making sure it doesn’t destroy what we have built over the past 15 years.

We will not be able to issue refunds this fall, even if we do operate in some of our other cities. The likelihood is this fall we will make just enough to cover the operations to host the teams that already paid and reduce our debt to teams that have paid, making it easier to do the same in the spring and ultimately get everyone their money back. We do stand by the policy to refund everyone that did not get a full spring season if they are unable to roll over their payments. And we will offer additional credits to teams willing to roll over their fees to make their money go a bit farther and allow us to focus on getting the money back to those that cannot play in the future, whatever the reason may be. 

Hopefully after this is all said and done we can still call everyone involved family and we can just play some damn footy.

Wishing everyone the best. Hang in there.

Sincerely,

Andrew

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Season Update 8/5

This fall we are making all the preparations to bring back our core divisions - Men's 11v11 D1 + D2, Men's 9v9, and Women's 9v9. If possible, we will continue the Men's 7v7 division from the spring, if we are given the permit back. Men's 5v5 is in consideration. This is all under the caveat it remains safe to do so. Check out the video below for a more in depth update and a response regarding refunds. 

First bit of news, some of you may have seen the video I posted, but since then we have heard from Pier 40, they have made the field available for the fall to league play. Which is great. Permits haven't been sent yet, but I expect to see them soon. Hopefully we will hear from BBP, Randall's, and BIP soon.

The plan is to bring each of these divisions back this fal the week following Labor Day weekend. 

So, if each captain or free agent could reach out with their interest, availability, comfort level / precaution requests for their team. That would be greatly appreciated. I'll get division specific emails out once I have heard from everyone.

I will have further updates on refunds or a potential credit system that would provide more credit towards the league than originally paid for that submitted their payment for the spring. We're still hashing that out.

Additionally, given the way this year has panned out, we are a little short on full time staff, which is okay because it will make it easier for us to get refunds back out. With that, it's unlikely you will see much of me, as I will literally be all over the country, however we have a couple of new additions to the team as part time help to keep everything in NYC flowing. In fact we may have more boots on the ground, so it should work out well.

More information soon, especially regarding safety. For now I just look forward to hearing from everyone. I hope regardless of whether or not you can play, that you and your squad or hanging in there and remaining healthy.

Cheers,

Andrew

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