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Report: Garber to meet with San Antonio officials about potential MLS expansion bid

Don Garber

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While Miami has dominated the latest Major League Soccer expansion talk, San Antonio is interested in getting in on the conversation.

With Major League Soccer aiming for 24 teams by the end of the decade, league Commissioner Don Garber is flying out to San Antonio on Tuesday to discuss MLS expansion to central Texas, according to a report in the San Antonio Express News. Garber will meet with Mayor Julian Castro and San Antonio Scorpions owner Gordon Hartman on the trip.

“(Garber is) certainly aware of growing popularity of the sport in San Antonio, and he’s excited to learn more during the visit,” MLS spokesman Dan Courtemanche told the Express-News. “Clearly the Scorpions have been a tremendous success at the lower divisions, as illustrated by their strong support. It’s something all of us in the American soccer community has noticed.”

MLS is currently expected to expand to 21 teams by the 2015 season with Orlando City SC and New York City FC coming on board, leaving three places open. Miami and David Beckham’s ownership group seem like they could be the next site for a potential expansion franchise, leaving cities like Atlanta, Minneapolis, San Antonio, and Sacramento scrambling for the final two places.


What do you think of this report? Do you think San Antonio is a viable location for an MLS franchise? Worried about the heat in the summer?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. No one here mentions Indianapolis, but it’s sort of obvious. It establishes a triangle between Columbus and Chicago. It is making a bid for a SSS of 18.5k (MLS minimum). Look at who is running the show there and tell me he’s not in Garber’s ear all the time about the new NASL team that has sold out of their season ticket allotment before they have even played a game. There is no summer team to compete with there. Not only that, but ask anyone about how crazy the city was for Inter and Chelsea last summer. It’s coming and once the SSS is announced it won’t be long.

  2. If 24 is indeed the cap, many people will be wondering why certain US cities will have gone without while there are three teams in another country.

    Conversely, if MLS ever does worry about the league being too big after expading beyond 24, then the boys up north might have to man up and start their own caper.

    The question will arise sooner rather than later. And if the USSF raises its hand, MLS better be cooperative.

  3. Scorpions have already outperformed my expectations and even living half a country away, in following them since they launched, they have made a mark in that market.

    Some friends and I had the chance to interview Mr. Hartman on a podcast once.

    The questions that I have about San Antonio are more about if Hartman can find a guy or several guys with deep pockets who can share a similar vision in order for them to actually make an MLS franchise work.

    He currently runs the Scorpions as a vehicle to raise money for a theme park accessible for physically and/or developmentally challenged individuals. He’s on record as stating that the club is a means to an end.

  4. We should look at 2 divisions, 20 teams each, with relegation.

    No New York City FC with a concentration of Arab Oil Sheikh money. Instead we should concentrate on building in-city stadiums and good fan bases.

    We want to spread far and wide to develop amd engage American talent at the local level, not provide a team in New York City that gets the support of the Ny media to sell deep fried chicken fat to fans and recycles the money abroad to old over the hill “stars”.

  5. Big potential for an MLS team in San Antonio. Only an NBA team to contend with.

    Think 25,000+ spectators for most games if the ownership expands their current stadium to accommodate 25,000+.

  6. It needs to be in Austin, not San Antonio. Austin is where the money is and has similar demographics and culture as Portland and Seattle. San Antonio is an armpit of a town.

    • Hef is right. San Antonio is not ready for another pro team from any league. Bottom line there just isn’t enough money here. Corporate sponsorship would be slim to none, with the few precious dollars already soaked up by the Spurs (who, by the way, would sabotage any new entry in the SA market – as they previously did with the last MLS attempt). The town on the whole is VERY poor. The disposable income in this town is far lower than a town like Austin, and those who have dollars are more interested in Football and Basketball. And the grass roots movement won’t work here either. There are just too few club soccer programs in this town (exercise is a dirty word in SA) and the silly supporter clubs are too busy tryi to figure out what they will sing next as opposed to watching and learning about the game itself. Additionally, Scorpions Stadium is nothing more than a high school football stadium. It would be the worse stadium (even after “upgrades”) in the MLS immediately upon entry. Aside from all of this, the most important factor in expansion. Most likely just can’t be met. I can only guess, but I highly doubt Hartman has the assets to meet the ever growing expansion fee.

      • Clearly you know nothing of San Antonio. San Antonio has several amateur soccer clubs and just announce an entry into NPSL with Corinthians FC. There is plenty if disposable income in SA as well and the SGs know plenty about the beautiful game otherwise we wouldn’t be there.

      • Incorrect. I have lived, worked and played soccer in San Antonio. The difference is that I have lived many other places as well and know what a real soccer community looks like. This is not it.

      • Ohhhh, you “played” soccer. Well there you go, end of discussion. I can play that game too, though, and I have traveled and lived all over the world thanks to dear old Uncle Sam.

      • Calm down. There isn’t a need for that tone. I would love to have a MLS team here just as much as you, but I am trying to be realistic. We just do not have enough the building blocks in place that the other cities do.

    • I live in Austin and, honestly, I don’t think that MLS would work out here. There’s no stadium (or place to build a stadium) or ownership group that can take on the task of building a franchise. San Antonio would be a more logical place.

      • Yes, it is far better to be a slovenly, obese, and barely educated San Antonian. Call Centers are way better than technology companies, financial institutions and think tanks.

      • I agree. That is why I am glad obesity is down in San Antonio. I am glad we have all these knew hike and bike paths. I am also glad we have the HQs of companies like Racckspace, USAA, Valero, Tesoro, and employers like Haliburton, Boeing, and Amazon.

  7. it’s all wrong….

    no other city in the US has supported soccer even when there was no soccer in the US….
    ST. LOUIS!!!!

    it’s like saying let’s form a pro baseball league without NY Yankees.

    • A St. Louis MLS team with the right ownership group in place would be successful. Great history of supporting the game in that city. Plus, it would add another very natural rival for Chicago and Kansas City.

      • If SA fan attendance is 22K on a consistent basis then Im ok… It is a small market but it is possible, they don’t have to compete with NFL, MLB, hockey, NCAA, etc…. same can be said with Austin but college football rules 365 days.

        St. Louis for the next MLS city before any Texas expansion..

      • San Antonio is not a “small market”. San Antonio is actually bigger than Dallas, second only to Houston as the biggest city in Texas.

        Although…I agree with those who say Austin and El Paso could support MLS, or at least very good NASL, teams.

      • San Antonio is a small market city. This indicator is marked by the metropolitan size of all the cities and towns that make up a general cluster. This is what major leagues look at. In this case, San Antonio is 31st in the nation, just behind Las Vegas. Dallas is 8 and Houston is 10. Competing against much lager markets like Miami (9 ), Atlanta (11), St. Louis (21) and even Sacramento (24) is a tall order for SA. Then add in the dearth of corporate money and SA doesn’t stand a chance.

      • San Antonio metro area is already 25th in the country. 24th is Portland. St Louis is 19th. San Antonio will pass St Louis within 10 years. Add in the Austin metro area and it’s well over 4 million, between Seattle and Detroit. Yes, I realize that these are separate MSAs but a San Antonio team would draw from Austin.
        I think both San Antonio and St Louis could and would support an MLS team.

  8. January 28, 2020 (New York) — MLS Commissioner for Life Don Garber today acknowledged that the league may have gotten too big, after announcing teams number 47 (Duluth) and 48 (Mobile). “We just kind of got overenthusiastic,” said Garber. “Those expansion fees are pretty sweet, and one thing led to another, and before you know it . . .”

  9. I wonder if the southwest is on the MLS radar. I think Phoenix, Las Vegas, Albuquerque and San Diego could all support an MLS team. I know Garber has been adding region by region. Maybe that’s next after the southeast.

    • Phoenix just had their USL- Pro team fold.
      San Diego is a pretty bad sports town when the team isn’t competing for championships, but I would love to see how Las Vegas and Albequerque do with an NASL franchise.
      Vegas has a unique culture for locals, and is fairly large for a town without any major sports, considering the UNLV basketball sanctions shut down the only pro team in the city.

  10. Just don’t rename the team please. San Antonio Scorpions is a great American-styled sports name and it would be nonsense to turn it into yet another knockoff of foreign soccer team names.

  11. San Antonio is a great fit for a number of reasons.

    1. The winter schedule is coming. They provide league balance with another warm weather team.
    2. The league has a lot more teams in the east then ones that can even be considered western. San Antonio would help balance the east/west split as well as the winter schedule north/south split.
    3. A third team in Texas would fit the MLS model of adding rival teams in clumps: the northwest, the southeast, the northeast….

    I don’t really see San Antonio as a dark horse. After Miami, and after Atlanta, I think they’re the favorite for the 24th spot.

  12. Finally! There have been rumblings around town, but this great news for SA, Professional Sports in Tx and MLS. I must agree with the above comments saying this expansion actually makes sense.
    1. SA has already “experienced” grassroots growth/support, it started with Scorpions.
    2. We have a SSS. No need for planning or votes or fundraising to get a stadium. For those who have not seen it, Toyota Park is really nice. I understand it was already built with room to expand.
    3. Austin/ SA metroplex is bigger than you think. There are a ton of young folks (under 40) making decent $ in the area (trust me I’m one of them) who would love a soccer team. Austin and SA are very attractive markets for MLS, especially with the young and Latino population.
    4. SA franchise will never have to compete with an NFL team.
    5. Last time I went to Scorpions game (season finale vs Cosmos) I counted no less than 3 supporters groups.
    This move makes sense for all involved, especially MLS.
    I agree we may need a name change. My heart is set on “Alamo City F. C. “

    • I wouldn’t call Austin and San Antonio a metroplex. They are 1 to 1.5 hours apart and couldn’t be further apart culturally and economically. Austin folks will not travel to San Antonio to watch soccer. It’s like the San Antonio Spurs, even though they are only an hour away, you NEVER hear anyone in Austin on the news or on talk radio talk about them. They might as well be 3 hours away.

  13. Promotion-Relegation is never going to happen. It’s not American and MLS isn’t going to do anything of the sort. MLS, when it’s all said and done, will look like a mix between the MLB and NBA models

    • It will not.

      People who think that are missing the obvious point: in the NFL, and in the NBA, there are indeed about 30 or so pro teams…but the next rung down is occupied by college programs…and there are literally HUNDREDS of those.

      That hasn’t happened in baseball because baseball has filled those niches with farm teams in smaller markets…farm teams that are linked to their major league baseball affiliates. But because these farm teams can never be promoted and are basically just organ donors for their MLB affiliates, nobody ever pays attention to them. Their support is purely local and there is zero national interest or TV money available for these A, AA, and AAA teams. Not coincidentally…baseball is losing fans every year.

      College soccer will never successfully fill the niche it does with baseball and football. Age 18, and playing the half-seasons college soccer teams play, is just far, far too little, too late to produce top-caliber soccer players who can perform as well as academy-developed professionals, and there is no way all these NASL teams now springing up will consent to be simple farm teams for their larger-market brethren in MLS, as happened in baseball. It’s a dead end, economically, and the owners of these smaller-market NASL teams have bigger ambitions than that.

      What it means is that professional soccer teams will continue to spring up like mushrooms, everywhere. If MLS won’t have them, the NASL will.

      At some point MLS will have to decide if they are going to have the NASL as competitors, or partners…and there’s just way more money – for everybody – in having a single unified soccer pyramid.

      That means promotion/relegation. In soccer, it’s almost inevitable…which is the reason it’s a reality everywhere else.

      • I remember when the NFL merged with the AFL, a competitor, and became one united league with two conferences. MLS merging with NASL could happen in the future and relegation could be avoided but that’s up the the executives of both leagues to decide. When this happens the USL will become like the D-League (NBA).

      • “College soccer will never successfully fill the niche…”

        Quozzel: Serious question….Do you watch MLS ? What are you talking about ? Do you mean it will fade and then never fill the niche ?

      • What I mean is, college football, for instance, fills the same niche in American football that the Championship, League One, League 2, etc. fill in English (and European) soccer.

        It’s why every attempt to form a “B” league in pro football – and there have been a bunch of attempts, from the XFL, AFL, NFL Europe – have always failed. College football has gotten too big, too entrenched…and makes far too much money and has far too much fan support. The closest thing that exists is the Canadian Football League and it’s durn small.

        College soccer won’t be able to fill that niche for MLS. There’s too many limitations with the college game and the time college students have available to practice. By the time college students graduate they’re 22 or 23…years after academy-developed soccer players have already begun their professional careers.

        People think we have 32 NFL teams and that’s it. Okay. But look at the top college programs – Texas, Southern Cal, Alabama, heck, most of the SEC, plus Florida State and Clemson. They put 80,000+ fans in the stands…every week. The amount of revenue these teams generate may not be NFL level…but it vastly exceeds that of many pro teams in the English League Championship, or even some of the bottom-end teams in the Premiership. (This is why many argue it’s so hypocritical for college student-athletes who generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for their school to not get paid, but that’s another argument. Whatever, there’s a reason 5-star football recruits can command $200K plus under the table for their services…they’re worth that, and a whole lot more, to the schools they play for.)

        The reality is, there aren’t 32 football markets in this country that can put 80,000+ in the stands…there’s actually 70 or 80, plus another 50 or so that routinely seat 50,000+. Some of them are just called college programs.

        The other reality is, there aren’t 30 or 32 markets in this country that can put 20,000+ in the stands for soccer…there are easily 100+, RIGHT NOW. As the country warms to soccer and the interest in it grows, there’ll be easily 200+ markets in this country you could put a viable pro team…granted, a lot of them are going to look a lot more like Blackpool or Wigan than Manchester United, but nonetheless…you can’t convince me you couldn’t put a successful soccer franchise in, say, Eugene, Oregon, or El Paso, Texas, or San Diego, or a hundred other towns in this country.

        NASL and USL Pro teams are popping up like mushrooms across the country. Some of them will always be small market…but some of them will be New York Cosmos, too.

        What happens then? Two competing leagues, or a merged pyramid with some form of promotion or relegation?

        It’ll be the pyramid. Far too much money to be made.

      • I think I get most of what your saying, I just think it’s a stretch to say if things play out as you predict it has to lead to pro/rel, as if there were no other options.

        A merger between MLS & NASL could just as easily result in an East/West, AFC/NFC, or NL/AL type of split. In fact, given the history of professional sports in the U.S., I’d say it’s far more likely than pro/rel.

        MLS is a young and growing league. Nothing is inevitable at this point.

      • But MLS is has a lot in common with the Baseball system.

        Every year in MLS, the draft gets less and less significant, because kids bypass college in favor of the academies. Just like baseball, MLS has affiliates which are feeder teams basically, foster the growth of the younger talent until their ready for the “Majors”.

        Baseball does not loose money. I don’t about last year, but in 2012 according to Forbes, 27 of 30 MLB teams made a revenue.

        Promotion relegation is a completely European idea. It’s completely alien to Americans. Capitalism here and the way we work our professional leagues is a completely different animal. I’m not saying it won’t ever happen, but the vast majority of America and potential owners will take a long time to see the benefits of poring in money into franchises without the guarantee of MLS and it’s monetary return (i.e. Sponsorships, tv deals).

        It’ll take at least 30 yrs or so to get that idea rolling in mass America’s minds, IMO

  14. I see MLS going for 26 or 28 teams. If MLS goes for 30 teams or 28 teams, the last two spots should be for a simple promotion and relegation.
    I just think MLS should start a simple promotion and relegation with NASL, in which only NASL teams go up and down and not MLS teams for the first years but only when MLS reaches 28 or 30 teams.
    Another thing, nasl needs to have west and east conferences no matter what as both leagues expand and in order to have promotion and relegation for each conference.
    As for MLS expansion cities, miami is in so there’s 2 spots. I dont like the san antonio idea since austin is dying for a pro team. Then you have a buffet of markets in the east, but the west doesnt but sacramento and vegas and phoenix are obvious choices but they need deep pockets.
    Hopefully nasl and mls can work something out, just like uslpro is taking it to the next level.

  15. this expansion wave is a great ride so far. it’s going to be so interesting to watch this all play out. i’m of the belief that 24 will not be a “cap” and we could even see that “cap” change by 2020 anyway. there are two World Cups between now and then. it would not totally shock me to see the game grow enough by 2018 that MLS opens up bidding for two more teams. huge “if”, but not unrealistic.

  16. Set up pro-rel system with financially viable teams only. MLS 1, MLS 2, etc. This way they can go past 24 teams without creating a mess. It would be much more entertaining than NBA style conferences.

  17. As they expand past 24 (which they will sooner or later) they need to divide the league into two tiers and implement a controlled pro/rel situation rather than emulate other US leagues with a bunch of different conferences. Will be way more entertaining for soccer fans and financially doable if even the MLS “Division 2″ teams are financially stable. And it would be a realistic start to an eventual open pyramid.

  18. I hope SA gets a team. The more teams we have in warm weather areas the easier it will be for MLS to move to a Fall-Winter-Spring schedule.

  19. Also, with all the talk about potential markets – San Antonio, St. Louis, Miami, Charlotte, Sacramento, Minnesota, Atlanta, and more – one must think about the eventuality of pro/rel. Investors are lining up. Putting their money where their mouth is.
    This may take a decade, but consider this scenario. NASL sees continued growth alongside MLS. Both continue to see improved revenue and attendance. NASL scores a good TV deal. MLS realizes that a league with 30 or more teams is simply unworkable. The scheduling becomes impossible. MLS and NASL cozy up together and talk merger. Because MLS and NASL are not equals, a merger means opening the first division (I’d love to see the whole pyramid opened, and that could happen as well) to teams from the NASL to earn their way in. Pro/rel starts. Adding more TV money to the pot makes this more palatable and can soften the blow for teams being relegated.
    There are too many good markets out there that could support a team. Just look at the list of potential expansion teams. MLS will have a choice – keep it closed, cap growth, and watch the NASL catch them, or open it up, share the revenue and watch the game explode.

    • We’re more likely to see 2 MLS Conferences (16-20 teams each). With each conference playing a Home & Away as the regular season. Each Conference winner is awarded a Supporters Shield type trophy.
      Then a playoff series which pits the conferences against each other…winner to be champion of MLS.
      This format fosters the rivalries that boost attendance and fan support while being more economical on travel expenses for the clubs & fans. resolves many of the scheduling conflict issues and the long travel problems going from east coast to west coast.

      • Or you can have two seperate leagues similar to baseball

        its all Major League Soccer but you have wait for it…. the Premier League and the Champions League….


        this will get Eurosnobs on board

    • Yup. It will happen. Anybody who doubts it just needs to take a look where MLS was even ten years ago.

      MLS cannot stop the NASL from growing like a weed. If MLS tries to ignore it and cap the number of MLS teams, they’ll just wind up with a parallel competitor league.

      A merge almost has to happen at some point. The likely result is MLS 1/MLS 2.

    • Correct answer is Der.

      The rest are just wishful thinking for their own personal dreams.

      In a parity league there is not need to artificially eliminate teams from winning a championship. Never. Gonna. Happen.

      • He just had anxiety issues I think. A kid from the Rio Grand Valley who’d never left the comforts of home, and I think that really scared him. It’s a shame. I hope he didn’t become an alcoholic or something.

      • Yeah he was actually signed by the Dynamo, then dropped when he couldn’t make the move to leave the Valley.

  20. Would prefer to see MLS go into some completely fresh markets, I like what San Antonio has done in lower divisions but having 3 teams in one state at this point seems a bit much.

    • California has 3 teams, and 2 in one city. Texas is the second most populous state after California. If San Antonio can show the same grassroots support that made Portland and Seattle (and Orlando in the future) great candidates for ‘promotion’, then I don’t see why not. I don’t know much about the Scorpions’ ownership in terms of financial clout but it looks like a good package on the surface.

  21. Obviously details are important – financial backing, owners, etc…, but San Antonio could make a lot of sense. The league has stated before that rivalries are key to growing the league and the burgeoning supporter’s culture. Areas like the Pacific Northwest show us that LOCAL rivalries are better than those that prohibit or impede travel to away games. In many, if not most, European leagues away games are typically less than two hours travel time. It makes it much easier for supporters to travel en masse to away games, especially weekend games. Adding San Antonio to complete the “Texas Triangle” adds another relatively close rival for both Houston and Dallas. It would aid the growth of the supporter’s culture in all three markets.
    In addition, the demographics and growth of Central Texas are enticing. It’s a younger area, has a large Hispanic population, and is one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country. As noted above, you can also add the Austin area to the potential market – the San Antonio Scorpions stadium is on the north side of SA, not far away from I-35 and accessible for Austinites. Put those two markets together and you are over 4 million people and growing rapidly.
    I also agree with Cowboy Junky that the signals that are being sent by MLS in their expansion search seem to indicate a future schedule switch. I am not going to call it a “winter schedule” because I don’t think switching the schedule means that teams will be playing games in very cold weather. I’d anticipate starting in late July, going through mid-December, taking a break through January, and starting again the week after the Super Bowl. Games in December and February can mainly take place in either warmer climates or indoors if teams have access to a stadium, like the Canadian teams and a potential Minnesota team. The season then continues from early February through late May or the first week of June (depending on whether it’s a World Cup year). In this scenario, importantly, the playoff chase and playoffs take place in April/May and will attract much more attention than they do currently in October/November when competing against football. More warm markets are coming (or domed stadia). Read the tea leaves…

    • The triangle has already proven to be very profitable in the NBA and should do the same in MLS.

      As you said, it’s located right of the I-35 and would take Austinites an hour or so to get there.

      The fact that the Scorpions already have a brand new stadium that could expand to over 20,000 is certainly a plus.

      Great post, tbh

    • Paco, I agree with your first point regarding the Texas Triangle and the ability to support a new team in central Texas.

      However, I don’t see MLS moving to a winter schedule. Just a few days ago, a story broke in Europe saying that FIFA and UEFA are looking at moving to a spring-summer-fall schedule:

      If this is the case, it would put the nail in the coffin once and for all with the MLS moving to a winter scheduler.

      • Tom, I appreciate your concern about a winter schedule and that’s why I consider it to be realignment of the schedule rather than a switch to a “winter” schedule. Games outdoors in very cold climates are not attractive. It’s the reason why a six week or so winter break would be necessary and the December and February games would need to be managed.
        I don’t see FIFA or UEFA giving up their late June/early July cash cows (World Cup and European Championships, respectively). Late June/early July is a great time to have an off season for MLS. More and more of the top players will be unavailable at those times for World Cups, Gold Cups, any potential true “Copa America” with CONMEBOL and CONCACAF teams.
        The biggest reason to consider the switch is the potential to move the playoff races and playoffs to a much more attractive time of the year (May/early June). Soccer would attract much more attention at that time than during the current playoffs in November/December – deep in the football season and much harder to get attention.
        The switch could not and should not be made next year, but in five years or so I can see it happening and, importantly, I see it not taking many games during attractive weather times. Actually, switching would make the weather for playoff games much more attractive for most markets.

  22. Charlotte is a dark-horse as well, though I don’t know if their most realistic shot is at Atlanta’s purported spot or at #24. There’s a serious group interested and they have the rights to the Eagles’ USL license with the intention to buy that license next year.

  23. I know Texas is a big state, but I’d really prefer see a new team go somewhere that doesn’t already have two teams.

    What I would support is Chivas USA moving to any of these locations…

      • El Paso sucks. They should just go for in Albequerque or Santa Fe, New Mexico if they even considered El Paso.

        SA is a tested market vs Austin. Either way, They’ll still bring in Austinites. There are a lot of Spurs fans in Austin.

        Rawlins, the Orlando City owner really screwed it up with the Aztecs while in Austin. Most ppl didn’t even know the team existed. I think now would be different because theirs a lot more interest in the sport but they dont even have a team besides a PDL side.

  24. For those of you that still think a winter schedule isn’t happening, the expansion news should let you know that the winter schedule is in the pipeline. It’s the reason why they’ve added Orlando. It’s the reason why they are going to add Atlanta, Miami, and San Antonio. They’re adding warm weather climates so they can balance the schedule during warm/cold weather periods.

    That’s why you can cross Minneapolis and other cold weather teams off the list to 24. All the expansion teams to 24 will be in warm weather climates.

    • This topic has been bouncing around for a few months now, but how does it work? Without a winter break like the Bundesliga, how do Fire supporters (for one hypothetical) react knowing six or eight weeks in the middle of their season is suddenly spent across the Sun Belt because in late January it’s more likely to be 65-degrees in Orlando on the same day it’s 0-degrees in Chicago?

      This is the part the league doesn’t seem to have an answer for yet.

      • 407, here is how it works.

        It starts with MLS saying we are going to a winter schedule
        It end with Sounders fans cancelling their season tickets, because they really like games in June-July and Aug.

      • This is a fair question. Let’s look at this year (’13-’14) as a hypothetical example. In December, games would have been played through the weekend of Dec 21/22. They then would have had a six week break. Games would start again the weekend of Feb 8th (week after the Super Bowl). There would be no MLS games in January, but warmer climate teams could host friendlies or mini-tournaments with other teams (Bundesliga, Mexico) on a winter break. Warm weather teams (or teams with access to a dome) would be more likely to host in December and February, although it’s not out of the question to host a single game in places like Denver, Salt Lake and the I-95 corridor in this time frame. Games get postponed due to weather in other soccer leagues and it also obviously happens in the US in baseball all the time.
        As far as what fans of the Fire (or other colder climate team) would do, how about schedule a weekend to visit Orlando or Miami or Houston in December or February and follow your team to the nicer weather and a getaway? Fans of those teams may reciprocate in early August when it’s blazing hot in Florida and Texas.

  25. San antonios also cool because for a once a week sport (e.g. not the spurs) you can get a ton of ausrinites, austin always is in the top 5 for tv vieweimg, similar demofraphixally to portland/aeattle

  26. best of luck to SA. they are certainly following the Orlando City approach, except they already have their stadium ready to go.

    I don’t know what to make of the DII developments tho.. i guess after 24 is awarded NASL/USL will be less of a temporary league for clubs with ambition.. or is MLS going to try to build their own DII after 24?

  27. MLS is clearly expanding too fast. Classic corporate short term gain at the expense of long term stability. The key to a successful sports league is having teams that get support even when they are mediocre. I have faith in the fan base of Seattle, Portland and even KC that when their teams are sub 500 they will still show up. But fans in these new markets are fair weather and unless they have a contender the stadium will be empty. Sports is zero sum, not every team can be a winner even if you do let nearly everyone make the playoffs (next step I’m sure).

    • With so many Latin American clubs struggling financially, MLS has a pipeline of high quality talent available to them at a reasonable cost. So at least from a quality-of-play viewpoint, there’s no reason MLS can’t expand fairly rapidly.

    • I’m feeling MN for the 24th spot, too (with Miami at 22nd and Atlanta at 23rd, it seems). But I see your Vikings and raise you a MN United FC.

      They’ve been generating a lot of local support and excitement, plus word on the street is that they’re looking to build a soccer-specific stadium near downtown Minneapolis. MNUFC is managed well, and would be a good expansion by promotion, I think. (I’m a little biased, being Minnesotan–and a MNUFC fan.)

    • That’s so prejudice. Your just as stupid as Chivas USA. More then half of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans don’t even like chivas. San Antonio is a community with Hispanics who are proud Texans and will support their teams despite being in a small market.

      • He means buy the franchise rights and move chivas USA and rebrand them the scorpions similar to how houston got their team. you know kind of like relocating a business to texas you get the personell and team and dont have to build from scratch.

        unfortunately vergara want 100 million to be bought out

      • I definitely could go for both but what I meant was catering to certain demographics at the expense of other groups. Soccer is opposed to be all inclusive not just for one group. I feel as if MLS believes only Latinos like soccer which couldn’t be further from the truth.

      • Are you speaking to just Chivas USA or S.A. as well? I Completely understand if your only speaking to C. USA, but not quite San Antonio.

      • I didn’t take it to be a prejudice remark at all. Perhaps because I don’t have any.

        I took it to mean move Chivas to San Antonio.

        IF it were an ing norant comment. Include Seattle in there. Plenty of Hispanics in Seattle who care about the Sounders.

  28. Everyone keeps talking 24 like it is some cap. They will blow through 24 as fast as they are blowing through 20.

    Way too much demand, way too much money at stake…they would be fools to set some rediculous cap just because it is a cool number or whatever silly reason 24 is the new percieved max number.

      • Right now, between MLS (19 teams), NASL (13 teams), and USL Pro (13 teams) there are 45 pro teams in the USA/Canada/Caribbean.

        That number will be 70-80 in 10 years, and probably well over 100 within 15 years. I actually think the rate of expansion will actually increase. Demographic statistics indicate soccer is actually on the “heel” of its popularity; within the next 15 years the age 12-24 demographic (in which soccer is the second most popular sport in the US behind only football) will be age 27-39…

        The UK has well over 200 pro teams…with roughly a third of the population of the US. There really isn’t a “cap” we’re going to see anytime in our lifetimes as to how big the game can get in the US.

        If MLS “caps” their numbers at 24, they’re basically just begging NASL to grow into a direct competitor, as opposed to a second-tier league UNDER MLS, in much the same way as the AFL grew into a direct competitor to the NFL before the two league merged. Nor did the NFL expansion “stop” the growth of football; college football just filled the gap NFL had left when they stopped expanding…that isn’t going to happen with soccer.

        Anybody who thinks 24 is, or will be, the max is, as you said, being silly. Professional soccer teams will continue to sprout like mushrooms across the US; the real question is, how many will be MLS and how many will be “other”?

      • we need 3 full divisions of professional soccer. the rest can be semi-pro

        why did FIFA set 20 as the number for a professional league?

        why not 24 or 16? Germany has 18 despite having 80 million people whereas England has 60 million people with 20 teams in the first division and 5 divisions of professional players. Holland has 16 million people with 1 million playing the sport and 18 teams in their first division.

      • Pretty sure what’s initially going to happen is a “rough” form of promotion/relegation, with MLS1/MLS2 divisions…especially as we get to 30+ teams, what I see happening is the top 18 will go to MLS 1, with the next 12 or so teams bumping down to MLS second division, with the “extra” teams in MLS 2 coming from the NASL.

        To protect the owners’ investment, the deal likely to be cut will be all MLS teams – in both divisions – will partake equally in TV money, and “original” MLS teams will not be able to be relegated below MLS 2. TV money is the real kicker – the next deal is $70 million (up from a paltry $18 million right now)…as the game expands and spreads into new markets, that number will only increase…geometrically, most likely.

        Expansion will only grow from there, IMHO. As teams continue to pop up and grow across the US, eventually I’d expect MLS 2 to eventually split into MLS 2 East and MLS 2 West…with the champs of both divisions bumping up and the bottom teams in MLS 1 getting bumped down each year.

        It’ll take some time (15-20 years), but that’s the way it seems likely to go. If that seems unlikely, push the wayback button and take a look at where MLS was only ten years ago.

        Be even more fascinating to see what the teams on the top of MLS look like by that point. Most likely…very similar to what teams at the top of the EPL and Bundesliga look like now.

      • This. +1
        I’d love to see a truly open pyramid, but we may be dealing with something like this. In fact, I think it will be hard to avoid some sort of pro/rel as the number of teams and markets wanting to enter the league increases. If MLS doesn’t open to at least some extent, NASL could emerge as a legitimate threat. MLS 1/ MLS 2 //// USL-Pro, etc… down the (not truly open) pyramid
        USL-Pro would have minor league affiliates from all the MLS1/MLS2 teams.

    • set it at 30 tops.

      St. Louis, Atlanta, (4th Canadian team), Minneapolis, phoenix, San Antonio, (North Carolina club), Sacramento

      30 teams is more than all we need

      • I don’t see equal leagues. I see MLS 1 and MLS 2, with promotion and relegation in effect. When the league starts hitting 30+ teams (which is less than 10 years away), the outcry to see “better” games is going to be just too strong.

      • Wrong, there will never be pro/rel. Telling half the teams that can’t win the championship in parity league will never happen.

      • I could see Columbus, Chivas, and maybe Dallas or San Jose fold if they got relegated. No one here goes to minor league baseball games or FCS college football games.

    • for what it is worth 24 (west/east div of 12) allows you to have an even 34 game schedule with a home and away series with your division rivals and one game vs. the other division’s teams.

      right now (19) teams play an awkward schedule of three vs some teams and two or one vs others. if (when) there are more than 24 teams the scheduling gets complicated again with some teams not playing each other (like MLB & NFL) or you can schedule 40+ league games…

      my say: cap it at 24 and start building the MLS2, USLPRO, NASL, A-League, whatever you want to call it… the framework for a multi-level soccer pyramid that doesn’t play in high school football stadiums…

  29. I think this is the best choice out there for further expansion, now that Orlando is in. Promoting an already existing team is far better than creating a team from scratch. San Antonio is far better than Atlanta or Miami, the two worst sports towns in America. Hoping to see SA in MLS within a few years.

    • Attendance has eroded somewhat in San Antonio, but I believe in proven interest, and of the remaining minor league cities, only NYC is doing better in attendance and it can be argued that NYCFC is set to fulfill the latent demand underlined by Cosmos attendance (to “promote” Cosmos also you’ve have to believe the city side has latent demand for two teams, not just one).

      Miami is going to be a mistake. Orlando is a risk. I think Atlanta would pull slightly below 10K and the question is whether you want teams that limp along to make some magical number. IMO the magic number (20, 24) talk is the sort of blindered silliness that ends up in the NASL.

      • I think Orlando will be ok, but I agree with atl and Miami. After a couple of yrs, I think they’ll struggle to top 10-12k.

      • The Fusion — who became quite good and won the SS their last season — averaged 9K and topped out at 11K. They had sponsorship and financial issues. Team that good barely supported by MLS standards.

        I think they might get a short Beckham boost but not long term. Fans don’t come to watch the owner watch soccer. They come to watch the players.

        I also think that after the Marlins debacle Miami voters will not be eager to vote for a new stadium and that will place the onus on ownership to fund it themselves, which may make it more difficult.

        Atlanta gets 4K fans, which is less than Cosmos, SA, Carolina, Orlando, and Rochester. Since Atlanta has had teams a long time in the minors, and is still at this level, it’s harder to buy the idea of untapped interest. People may come to see Mexico play but I’m not sure they’d care about Atlanta MLS.

      • Small town, decent but not incredible attendance for a team that knows it has a MLS team coming, not a historical soccer hotbed or routine USNT host, two prior MLS failures in bigger cities in the same state.

        And then there’s the broader financial and reputational risks MLS faces when it opens an expansion team. If the team has to be moved or folded maybe that reflects unnecessarily on league health when the league has otherwise progressed in terms of attendance and finances. We don’t need to roll the dice we already have 20 teams that’s enough for EPL sheesh.

      • Basically everything you wrote about Orlando is incorrect.

        MLS believes the Orlando stadium will have the best location in the league. It’s in an urban spot with easy access for outside the core supporters. There are millions of residents in the area. You know, they call it central Florida for a reason.

      • Atlanta will pull 10k??? They have 10k for the womens game….had over 50k for the gold cup and chelsea vs america…you have no idea what you are tslking about when it comes to Atlanta fans.

      • History…

        Ok maybe not even just history. But current reality. they have the best basketball team on the planet and on a 3 peat and they dont fill the arena until second quarter for playoff games. look at the marlins, the dolphins, and their past MLS franchise I wouldnt put anything sports related in Miami.

        Atlanta is weird if they put it downtown it could work. But they have fickle fans too. not as fickle as Miami but still way inferior to NY or Philadelphia or LA or any other sport obsessed city.

        Personally Texas should get 2 more teams before St Louis. But if the ownership isnt there nothing can be done.

      • The Atlanta Braves couldn’t sell out playoff games in the Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz era. Atlanta is a terrible sports town.

      • I wonder what the % of African-Americans is who attend Braves games in comparison to Atlanta as a whole.

  30. Best of luck to San Antonio. I believe the “promotion model” is the best route for MLS expansion. Having a third team in Texas makes sense too given its population and demographics.

    • Demographics is tricky… How many of those Latinos will support a local team instead of watching their favorite Mexican team? FCDallas doesn’t seem to benefit so much from those supposedly great demographics when it comes to attendance.

      • Rory, when Dallas played in the cotton bowl there were plenty of Hispanics coming out to watch and support Dallas. But then they moved out to south lake and did a bad job with fans. When they moved up to Frisco they lost even more Hispanic fans.

        I believe Houston has a good attendance by Latinos as well.

      • Frisco is a pain to get to. Incidentally so is Arlington. You have to take a toll road to get Frisco and those things make me grumpy. I dislike them. I have only been to FCD twice since I moved back to ‘Merica.

      • When I first got into soccer (post 06 WC) I used to go to FC Dallas games. First it was 6 a year, then 5, 3, 2, 1, and now 0. Frisco is a HAUL and I hate it. The atmosphere is steril. The food is overpriced. The traffic is SHIT. The location is the worst of any professional venue I’ve ever visited in my whole life. If they were located in a place off of I20, I35e, I35w, I45 or US 75 or even one of the 3 dozen major extensions from the highways I would go but until they fix the above gripes I probably will not be back.

      • I’d say mostly Hispanics attend SA games. They gotta change their name though. Scorpions sound so ridiculous

      • but Houston does capitalize on that.

        it’s all about how you run the team. i think moving to Frisco hurt Dallas in that department. either way, 15,373 isn’t a terrible average attendance. up 8% from 2011 and a stadium at 75% capacity isn’t awful.

      • That Houston initially named the team 1836 suggests they did not entirely anticipate how their bread would be buttered. But they have figured it out and also host friendlies for Latin American teams as well as football and rugby. The stadium is right by downtown so it’s ideally located except perhaps for parking.

        They moved the team away from a lot of the fanbase to a less populated but growing area primarily served by a tollroad and when you have to go out in the summer heat to the Pizza Oven the whole setup sounds like a deterrent. The Cotton Bowl, for its faults, is centrally located. And most of the new stadia are off freeways, railroads, or light rail that makes access easy.

      • The cotton bowl would be rather nice once they have a big enough fan base to fill it at least halfway. It’s empty most of the year so no lines. Hurray!

      • Don’t get me started on 1836. Everyone who fought in the Texas Revolution were citizens of Mexico, a lot of immigrants, but still Mexicans. They wanted equal representation in their federal government. Not to mention, that Santa Ana was a ruthless dictator that murdered his own people. They did Mexico a favor by defeating that joker. They showed Santa Ana’s arrogance was his biggest weakness.

        That stupid council woman, Sylvia Garcia, doesn’t even know the frickin’ history of Texas before she went spewing that ridiculous word vomit about racism. Mexicans died in the Alamo, were massacred at Goliad, and won their independence at San Jacinto fighting for freedom from tyranny, and her ignorance of their sacrifice is a disgrace to Latino culture in Texas!

      • No reason why Latinos won’t support a Latin American club and local American club. Echoing others here, it’s all about how the franchise is run. Clubs have to market to target demographics. Run ads in Spanish and English, highlight known Latino players, etc. Moving FCD to the far outer suburbs sounds like a terrible decision.

        The Galaxy draw a ton of Latinos. Heck, the majority of Angel City Brigade are Chicano/Latino kids who grew up in LA supporting the Gs and clubs abroad.

      • How about MLS teams market to all soccer fans regardless of demographics and stop trying to cater to specific ones. There are a lot of people who will follow MLS if they had a team in their area.

      • This isn’t an issue of ethics. Demographics play a huge hand in the economic aspect of running a franchise.

        It kinda just sounds like you don’t like the sound of buisness having to satisfy to a largely hispanic community.

        Ppl are just weary of franchises being failing because of Chivas USA, the two defunct Florida franchises.

      • I don’t like the idea of other groups of fans being neglected in the favor of others. Indeed, sports in a business, these days, and MLS will do whatever makes the most money. Currenly, Hispanics are the biggest cash cow for pro soccer.

      • You cleary don’t know anything about the cultural dynamic of SA.

        I would just say stop while your ahead.

      • It’s a basic business principle to target a product toward a receptive demographic. Just as UFC advertises on Spike and Comedy Central, rather than Lifetime or National Geographic, MLS clubs should zero in on their most receptive audience. In San Antonio’s case, one assumes Latinos comprise a preponderance of the market.

        It has nothing to do with alienating other groups, but highlighting specific ones.

      • More like how many latinos will buy season tickets???

        The answer is none.

        I went to the quakes season ticket holder party… The only latinos there were the ones serving the food…

  31. no chance for Sacramento, but then again Salt Lake and Columbus have teams so you never know.

    for me it’d be Atlanta and St. Louis but Texas is so large another club would be necessary

    • Sacramento has an impressive fanbase actually. they also have a rich owner who basically can build a stadium for an MLS team as soon as they given a team. it may not be the most attractive market, but they seem to have some very strong foundations there.

  32. what will be the 23rd and 24th team?

    Atlanta? Ottawa? St. Louis? Phoenix? Minneapolis? San Antonio?

    Canada needs a 4th team. But perhaps not at the expense of a US city. St. Louis deserves 1 for sure but they don’t have the proper management. Atlanta for sure are going to get 1 eventually.

    But to me cap expansion at 24 teams and raise the number of 2nd division clubs to 20 and properly set that up. we need to have 2 professional leagues in this country and a semi-pro 3rd division akin to the college- level of soccer.

    • As a Galaxy fan, I’d like to see a team in Phoenix. There are so few clubs within driving distance in the Southwest, at least we could road trip to Phoenix. The team would definitely need a climate controlled indoor stadium for the summer months

      • no comment on if Ottawa is MLS ready or not but their renovated 24,000 seat stadium looks pretty nice! wouldn’t mind having that in MLS.

      • Would rather the Canadian teams leave to form their own league and we get to add that many more American cities. Maybe have a final championship between the two leagues?

    • OKC! Ok its just a dream. but any expansion I feel is good. Some may say it waters down the league, and while thats true, it also shows the league is growing. And growing pains happen. MLS will one day be in the top 5 leagues in the world. Do not ask me when, because I have no idea. lol. I just wish OKC would get in on the expainsion, they are building a stadium with the expansion ability to meet MLS requirements. Sort of the same path SA is taking.


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