Jeff Berding is the Co-CEO of FC Cincinnati & FCC Enterprise President, the professional soccer team he co-founded in the summer of 2015. With its arrival in Major League Soccer for the 2019 season – just four years after its founding – FC Cincinnati became the benchmark for organic growth and community-driven sports interest.
With its remarkable four-year sprint from fledgling idea to the top flight of soccer in the U.S. and Canada, FC Cincinnati became a world-wide phenomenon.
Now in its fourth year in MLS, the club is focused on growing its place in the Greater Cincinnati region and the country while also completing construction of its world-class, privately funded $250 million stadium in the West End neighborhood of Cincinnati that will open in Spring 2021.
Originally launched as a United Soccer Leagues franchise, FC Cincinnati played three seasons in the USL (2016-18) before being awarded an expansion berth in Major League Soccer for the 2019 season in May 2018.
In its final USL season, FC Cincinnati had a record-setting campaign, capturing not only the USL Regular-Season Championship with both record wins and points, but also saw the club sweep most of the league’s top awards including Most Valuable Player, Coach of the Year and Defender of the Year.
Berding, who is a member of the diverse FC Cincinnati ownership group led by Carl H. Lindner III and his family, has guided the club’s explosive growth – not only in the Greater Cincinnati region, but nationally and internationally.
In each of its first three years in existence – and amplified with its ascendance to MLS – FC Cincinnati established ticket sales, attendance, sponsorship sales and merchandise sales records in USL.
In 2018, FCC averaged 25,717 fans per game, a figure that more than doubled the second-place USL team, but also would’ve been the fourth-highest average attendance in MLS. FCC also set USL records for merchandise sales, averaging $1.75M in sales its last two years in the league. On the sponsorship side, the club signed more than $2.5M in partnership agreements in its final USL season, a total that led the 34-team league.
In the club’s first year in MLS in 2019, FCC claimed more than 20,000 season ticket members and ranked third in the league in average attendance with a mark of 27,336 fans per game, trailing only two teams that played in NFL stadiums (Atlanta United FC and Seattle Sounders FC).