MLS- Expansion

Garber to talk expansion with Orlando officials, still eyes New York for 20th team


Photo by ISIphotos.com

USL Pro side Orlando City SC's aggressive push for an MLS expansion team continues to catch the attention of MLS commissioner Don Garber.   

Garber will be meeting with Orlando City owners, and city and county mayors on March 1 for exploratory talks about potential expansion. In a statement, Garber made it clear that while these meetings will take place, he has every intention of expanding to 20 teams with a second club in New York, a stance that he has been firm on for quite some time. 

"While New York City remains the league's focus for our 20th club, it's important to continue evaluating future options as we continue to grow the league," Garber said. "This growth has been built on a foundation of strategic expansion strategies, construction of new urban-based stadiums and a growing passionate soccer fan base across North America." 

It won't be the first time that Garber and Orlando City officials will have met. The two met in Feb., 2011, and again on a couple of reported occasions this past November. This round will also feature a town hall meeting that is open to the public at an Orlando restaurant.

What do you make of this development? Do you want to see an MLS team in Orlando? Think that it is imperative for New York to get a second team?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Scott M

    I think it would be a great move to have MLS in Orlando and Orlando City would be the perfect ownership to make it happen!


  • sagcat

    This is an incredibly well reasoned and well-stated comment. Not to mention persuasive. I wish this level of discourse and insight were common place on the internet, in fact.

    The only thing I’d add would be mention of how poorly even college football is supported, and my impression is college football is king sport in Florida. The Canes have a particularly embarrassing problem with empty seats. I have the impression that UF is pretty consistent, but I’ve seen barren upper corners at FSU games, too. And heck, even UF had a hard time in their bowl game in their own state this year with a quality name opponent in Ohio State. (Attendence was only 61.3k with a capacity of 67.2k.) (Florida State sold out their game, but it was against Notre Dame.)


  • yankiboy

    Nice Jacksonville Tea Men reference. Not saying that I don’t think that Florida could support a first division club, or disagreeing–just sayi’ the Tea Men reference was strong. +1, Playah…


  • David s.

    Fair enough, though we’re talking about Orlando, a top 20 Nielsen market, Tulsa barely cracks the top 60. Among major markets, it comes down to ownership + stadium. I agree about a 2nd NYC team, FWIW, for the reasons you mentioned. My post had more to do with this implied fantasy that megarich I/Os in Miami, Tampa, Atlanta, are all throwing themselves at MLS, but stupid Garber is wasting his time at Disney.


  • LateNite504 FC

    RS Jim – someone also must not know what “capacity” means.

    If I am running the MLS, no one else gets a new franchise unless I’m convinced its gonna look like the last 4 or 5 expansion teams. New stadium, capacity crowds and big buzz right from the start. Can’t risk messing up the momentum we have going right now.

    Orlando City seems to have a good thing going. Probably a lot of good ideas that MLS, NASL, USAA teams can put to good use. Whether they deserve their own MLS team right now?, I’m yet to be convinced.


  • CosmosCanWork

    I def agree with you. Though we need to be clear that Orlando is in no-way comparable to NYC in terms of TV viewership and sports market. Orlando has 1 sport team. NYC has 10 sports teams


  • Red

    Let’s see, Tampa Bay and South Florida were proven failures therefore MLS soccer will fail miserably there again. Orlando, number three in Florida situated between the two, with no real soccer background and one year of Division III soccer, will be the best thing to happen to MLS if they give them a team.

    You’re logic is as clear as mud.


  • Red

    Doesn’t matter how deep pocketed those investors are, Orlando is a terrible city that has failure written all over it. Don Garber should avoid it at all costs.


  • Red

    Eugene Melnyk, the owner of the Senators, wanted a soccer specific stadium built next door to his hockey arena where his Senators play, which is located in Kanata, way out in the west end of the region. He wanted the municipality to pay for his stadium, but they gave the money to the prospective owners of a Canadian Football League team to build a stadium at Lansdowne in the heart of Ottawa.

    Melnyk’s dreams of a MLS team in Kanata are dead.


  • Red

    There are locations in the U.S. southeast that MLS can look into. Orlando is not one of them. Hardly any pro soccer background, only a rickety gridion football stadium to speak of, a city where tourism is the main industry. Orlando has loser written all over it. Don Garber needs to ignore this city like the plague.


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