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SBI Reader Poll: Where should MLS expand to next?

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By RYAN TOLMICH

With Wednesday’s announcement set to confirm Minnesota’s inclusion as the league’s 23rd team, Major League Soccer is getting closer and closer to the longtime goal of 24 franchises by the end of the decade.

That 24th and final spot becomes more competitive by the day, as quite a few markets have thrown their name into the hat for inclusion in MLS. One of those markets, Miami, has gone so far as to earn a promise of a franchise, but the league’s mandated task of securing a stadium has proven to be a major hurdle for David Beckham and the rest of the team’s ownership group.

While Miami’s wheels spin, several other markets continue to fortify their push. Sacramento has been drumming up ever more local support from both fans and legislators, while San Antonio even has the backing of Mexico’s soccer bigwigs.

Where do you think MLS should expand to next? Cast your vote after the jump:
[polldaddy poll=8752845]

 

Which market did you vote for? Think Miami is the inevitable pick? See Sacramento being a hit in MLS like Portland or Orlando?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. First of all, I am bias because I am a season ticket holder for Sac Republic FC.

    That being said, I know first hand that Sacramento is ready for the republic to be an MLS team. We have sold out a 20,231 seat stadium the four times we have played in it (Hughes Stadium at Sac City College). We have just expanded our home stadium (Bonney Field) from 8,000 seats to 11,000 seats this season because of the high demand. Last season, for example, playoff tickets in the general admission section of Bonney Filed were going for over $200!

    Sac also is about to start building its new 20,000 seat stadium in downtown with or without an MLS bid. I heard this from and Executive from Sac Republic a few days ago

    They also have and Academy system that will start in 2016 or 2017 I believe, which is also becoming big for MLS.

    Everyone in Sac loves the republic, no matter if you are a soccer fan or not, you just love them. I was at a preseason game against the NY Cosmos where the Republic lost 3-1 but I have never had a better sporting experience in my life, and I have been to pro football, basketball, and baseball games.

    I know people like San Antonio or Indy, but MLS commissioner has already been on record saying that it is not a matter of if Sacramento gets a team, it’s when.

    Reply
  2. I can’t believe Miami is second. Russians, Canadians (from Quebec), South Americans, Spaniards, Cubans, Central Americans, Spaniards, and rest Euro-Trash won’t support MLS, most of them think MLS is garabage and boring, and cosmopolitan is always a good thing for MLS.

    Other problem with expansion: deplete of talent with mediocre salary cap.

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  3. MLS will end up with 30 or 32 teams by 2030 or even earlier. Yes Canada and USA have larger population than England, Germany, Italy, France and Spain combined and lots of room for growth. Sure MLS will still be watered down until the mass youth influx truly takes place. But it’s Coming.

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  4. Tampa Bay Rowdies – great fan support all along I-72 from Gainesville to Naples and a natural existing rivalry with Orlando City. Plus an owner dedicated and willing to spend to upgrade their stadium situation and bring in solid players, The Florida Gulf area is way so underrated with soccer – everywhere you go there are soccer pitches, youth and adult soccer events, and support for the beautiful game

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  5. It’ll probably be Sacramento, and Sacramento will probably be great. But I’m still kind of rooting for Miami to somehow pull it out. Miami is likely to attract better players to MLS. And I know this dream seems dead and buried, but IF they can manage to bring a waterside stadium idea back from the dead, it’s going to be one of the coolest things in MLS.

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  6. I liked all 3 choices because they are in warm weather cities. I hope that eventually the league synchronizes its schedule with Europe and it will be a lot easier to do so when there are warm weather cities that the northern teams could play away at during the Winter.

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  7. I don’t know about the next round, but I’d like to see a MLS team in Austin, TX. They could be the Timbers of the South/West.

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  8. … MLS “MUST” find a way to land in St. Louis. StL has been a “bedrock” of American Football, and should be included in the MLS family.

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    • Please explain. American Football has grown quite nicely over the last 20 years without St. Louis. I don’t recall a St. Louis franchise being a cornerstone of the original NASL 40 years ago. When I think of Soccer in the US, I don’t think of St. Louis, and when I think of St. Louis I think of baseball and beer and the arch. So what are you talking about?

      Reply
      • I think he’s talking about before NASL, when the best soccer in the county was played in amateur/semipro club leagues, and Italian immigrants in St. Louis had one of if not the best league. Half of the World Cup team that beat England in that huge upset were St. Louis Italians.

      • Yeah, I remember reading about all of that, and that’s great history. But what has St. Louis done, say, in your lifetime? They don’t have a viable ownership group and the city can’t afford to fund a stadium unless it’s part of an NFL package – which is obviously not an ideal scenario to begin with.

      • By the way, five years ago when we learned we were again in a group with England, U.S. Soccer brought back the sash on the jersey, which wasn’t identical but clearly reminiscent of that earlier historical win – maybe the biggest upset in World Cup history. When the score was reported from Brazil as England 0-1 US, multiple English newspapers thought it was a digit problem and guessed the actual scoreline had to be England 10-1 US, which they reported (and probably were surprised the Americans scored a goal). It was a more unthinkable result than the US hockey team beating the Soviets. A bunch of 25 year old WWII vets who worked blue collar jobs and played games on Saturdays beat the best players from England (back when England was good). (We only got invited because after the war there weren’t a ton of countries that could field a national team and get it to Brazil.)

      • Thanks for the civil response. If some multi-millionaire from St. Louis steps forward I think it would be an interesting possibility. But I don’t think events that happened 60+ years ago should allow St. Louis to jump in line ahead of people that have been working hard in the more recent past to build teams and fan bases.

      • Agreed. I’m not arguing for them to get an MLS team. I just like the history. To your earlier question about what St. Louis has done in my lifetime to rate a team; nothing I know of, but then I’m not from there so maybe someone is doing something.

  9. Does the ownership group for Minnesota United have thei own funds to build the stadium. Because if you read the Star Tribune they will not get any public support. Is any part of their stadium proposal dependent on public money? Maybe MLS is jumping the gun here with this announcement. Last thing you want is another NYCFC situation having to play at Target Field because the Stadium is not a sure thing.

    http://www.startribune.com/local/297249431.html

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    • that’s a valid point, however Sac is that kind of town, they supported the transplanted Kings NBA franchise always even though they were not winners for most of their time in Sac, and they have top minor-league baseball support, it is a sports town without the type of competition for the entertainment dollar that you have in SoCal, the Bay, Miami, NYC etc…very safe to believe that support will only grow and not go away

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    • true, easy to forget that they are going into the second year. but you can’t admit that they have everything inline; stadium, ownership, market the current success and fans are gravy, and really good gravy.

      have to wonder if USL wants to hold on to them for a bit more in order to better stabilize their western expansion?… with Orlando out Sacramento is their premier team

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  10. How about by 2026 MLS has 28 teams, just in time for the 2026 World Cup in USA and 30 teams by 2030 but the way it looks, MLS can easily have 30 teams by 2028.
    2017 Atlanta and Sacramento, give more time to LA2.
    2018 LA2 and Miami, bringing these 2 teams in at the same time, would be the best for MLS.
    2019 Minneapolis and “______” by 2019, there will be more enough to pick from.
    I say Minneapolis and st.louis.
    So by 2019 MLS should easily have 26 teams.
    But I gotta say, MLS expansion list get longer and longer and 30 or 32 teams should be the magic number.

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  11. Next expansion announcement should have two items: the next team is Sacramento (who are just clearly, far and away, the most logical pick and will, without a doubt, be a success) and the next target is 30 teams by 2030. San Antonio, Miami, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Las Vegas, and Carolina (either promote the Railhawks or put one in Charlotte) should follow. I know Carolina is the one that stands out there; I happen to think MLS would succeed there, but think a Virginia team either in Richmond or the Hampton Roads area could do equally as well.

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  12. I vote Minnesota 21st team and Sacramento 22nd team…i dont see who can be 23rd or 24th teams cause LAFC and ATL is not even close to existence…definitely a business hookup there by the commissioner..and if Miami even get in before Sacto then thats another hookup by the commissioner….really sad if Sacto dont get in this year

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  13. Sacramento is really the only viable option out of the 3 offered. I’m a Sounders fan, but live in Sacramento and would LOVE to see Republic FC become a full-fledged MLS team. The stadium they built is on the small side, that’s true, but 20,000 people at every game for a 3rd tier(USL is 3rd tier, but I don’t understand why) team is pretty impressive. AND the fact that Republic FC just took over the US Soccer academy from a local club, and we’ve got ourselves a great little soccer factory here in Northern California! It’s a win-win for everyone involved, and should happen sooner rather than later.

    I was personally pretty pissed when I saw that Minnesota got the latest expansion slot, but I understand the geographic need to fill there. Still, St. Louis would have been a smarter bet than Minnesota.

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    • St. Louis with no viable owner and no plan would be better than the largest non-MLS market which has both solid ownership and a plan for a downtown stadium?

      Other than that I agree with you about Sacramento.

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      • Dude, give it up with the 40k stadium talk. By the end of this CBA, how many teams will be able to sell out a 40k stadium on a regular basis? Seattle. But that’s about it.

      • You add 5 DP’s to the league and it will always be full.

        Heres example of what 5 DP’s could look like in NYCFC

        —— Guiseppi Rossi — Shelton ———–
        —————– David Villa —————–
        ———– F Lampad – Xavi Hernandez
        —————- Diskerud ————
        Ashley Cole —- CB – CB —– RB

        Who the F**k wouldn’t want to see that team? Get the right owners and the players and quality go up

      • WOW! You are really naive.
        (1) Most of those players are not going to come until the tail end of their careers.

        (2) A lot of teams still (8 when I checked last year) loose money. How much money do most DPs make? As of end of last season only 15 players made over a million. Let’s say that NYC FC pays all 3 DPs 7 figures, that makes at most 18. Most teams cannot even afford to pay 1 million to 1 player, yet you think they’ll pay 5 DPs over 1 million each – that it what it will take to bring those types of players.

        (3) Instead of paying for over the hill DPs (because honestly, they do not come here in their prime), have more cap exceptions for home-grown players.

        (4) This isn’t field of dreams, While I don’t think we should be building 18K stadiums, half empty 40K stadiums look bad.

      • I think you’re stretching it a bit. Rossi is literally on his last leg. Cashley Cole already turned down MLS and his mentality is that if he did come here he would just be here for the money and the beaches. NYCFC fans would riot like the Yankees fans did when they had bat giveaway day.

      • cashley didnt turn down MLS, we never really pursued. A question came up in an interview about MLS and he said “I’m not ready to retire and relax on beaches” (paraphrasing).

      • Why does everybody always suggest building on the Strip? Counting on tourists to fill the seats is a terrible idea– particularly in a city like Vegas with an uncountable number of competing world-class nightlife options. Why would tourists (many of whom come from LA and other cities where they can see soccer weekly) want to go to an MLS game on a Saturday night? Well… I would…. and maybe you too…. but we are soccer junkies and poor examples.

        Locals will be the core fanbase, and they HATE going to the strip…. particularly at night on weekends (when the games would be played) when traffic is totally ridiculous.

        Not to mention the real estate on the strip is more costly, parking is messy

  14. I live in Baltimore, so no homer vote here.

    I picked Sacramento.
    + large lower div following ready to move up to MLS
    + ready local rivalry with SJ

    San Antonio
    – nothing against SA, but TX doesn’t have a great track record of MLS support
    + ready rivalries with DAL and HOU

    Miami
    + local rivalry with Orlando
    – even Beckham can’t stop the Fusion Effect
    – Miami sports teams are poorly supported unless they are real winners, something you can’t guarantee with MLS parity

    I too would like to see a viable St Louis bid, but until one is forthcoming…

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  15. If you are MLS you need to strike while the Sacramento irons are hot. There is so much momentum right now politically, economically, and socially to bring Sacramento Republic FC into the MLS fold. But we know that politics and economics change. Right now the current administration is firmly behind the idea but who is to say what the agenda of future administrations might be and their willingness to assist in building a soccer stadium. I know many people are watching to see what happens with the Oakland As and their stadium issue because if they don’t get a deal in Oakland, there are people who want to bring them to Sacramento and you have to figure that would take some of the momentum away from the soccer effort. Sac-town is ready now and MLS must reward their efforts.

    I also think that MLs needs to serious consider moving some teams if possible. Try to get the Fire and Crew closer to their downtown locations.

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    • With Sac having rich owners, if you don’t put a 40,000 stadium with a roof to cover from your 110 degree summer heat in the railroad yard, anything less will be mickey mouse second tier.

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      • Sacramento enjoys a “Mediterranean” environment. From a simple google search, i see the average temperature in the summer months are generally in the mid 80’s. Thats not to say that they wont occassionally get a 110 degree day, but of all the options, i think Sacramento has the least to worry about when it comes to weather.

    • Prada, chill with 40,000, where are you getting that number? Seattle?
      Red Neck, I’m with you, get it while it’s hot, I have very little doubt that the MLS will jump, it’s a $100m fee, serious investors, a solid stadium plan, a proven fan-base, a rivalry ready to go, no doubt it will happen this year (announced) And they can still do Miami if need be, 25 is imbalanced but not a deal breaker for anyone….

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      • The World Cup? Seems odd to plan hundreds of millions of stadium infrastructure investment around a month-long event that may or may not happen here in 11 years.

        And if it is one thing we are not short on in this country, it is first class stadiums of the 40k seat plus variety. We could hold a World Cup tomorrow with what we already have, which would probably break our own revenue record set in the 1994 WC (if we wanted. we could probably choose an entirely different set of host venues) And we’d probably still have a couple dozen eligible stadiums who got shut out of hosting games.

    • This is the intangible with Sacramento. Sacramento is culturally exploding. People will wear Republic shirts and go to games and become fans just to yell Sacramento kicks a$$.

      They are in the Portland mold.. and itching to own this. Contrast that with Miami, who can’t even drum up any real support on an internet poll and comments section.

      Plus Sacramento is willing to put a sss stadium in the heart of their huge downtown redev plan. Near a brand new Kings arena and cross promote the two. MLS should build upon these fan bases. Not wishful thinking Miami and LA2 bids.

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      • I could see CR7 spending his last few years of soccer playing on the waterfront in downtown Miami. Just can’t see him playing in Little Havana on a field with football lines.

  16. Indy would have been a great place but a stadium plan got shot down this morning. We have the fans but it looks like we’ll be stuck in a deteriorating, too small “stadium” for years to come. Hope this doesn’t slow our momemtum.

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    • Hang in there. I’m a fan of getting Indy a team. After the current round of expansion ends, I would like to see the Midwest shored up a little bit with markets like Indy and St. Louis. That provides some great potential for rivalries with existing MLS markets as well as more fodder for future TV negotiations.

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      • I am too but the stadium renderings were a joke. It looked like a circus tent and with no roof cover, how are you gonna play with the cold weather in the early months?

        Indy needs to be a 40,000 version of Lucas field in downtown Indy

      • We’ll handle the cold the way that Chicago, Columbus, New York, Philadelphia, etc. do. Do they need a roof? And what makes you think we need to seat 40k? Can you name one SSS that seats this many?

      • By the time you would enter MLS there could be 5 DP’s, so why build a mickey mouse stadium?

        When you bring in the quality, demand will be there!
        Orlando already has 30 K at the stadium yet the owners goofed on making it 20K ?

        Hilarious, all the teams you just named have a stadium in the wrong location, nowhere near a downtown in which their attendance reflects it!

        A downtown stadium in San Jose with right DP’s would bring in 40,000 but the cheap owner built it by the airport and kept it micky mouse at 18,000

        For the league to be quality, you can’t have these small poorly designed stadiums

      • couple points, Lew Wolff was not cheap, he made this happen, SJ had already lost our first MLS franchise as there was no hope to get a stadium. If he had insisted on DT it would not have happened. there is not evidence that a 40,000 seat stadium would get filled just because it is DT. The LA Galaxy game at Stanford and the Levi’s stadium game are events that will draw big- 18,000 is solid, right there with the Sharks and Warriors

      • 11tilidie is the type of guy that should’ve been born in the 1950’s building freeways thinking ” lets just build a two lane freeway” and let the next generation worry about expanding it when the population grows…

        Do it right the first time!

      • You don’t build a stadium for the team’s one big game per year. Come see me in August and let’s talk about how big Orlando City’s crowds are. Better yet, come see me in a couple of years after the newness wears off and the team is in 10th place. That 40k stadium that you overpaid for is going to be an albatross.

      • you just validated my second point Ive stated numerous

        If you don’t build a proper stadium to protect from the weather elements like the sun or snow, then it will be an attendance problem…

        These $100 million stadiums are a joke. A proper stadium would should cost $500 – $600 million

      • Who should pay for these $400-500K stadiums? The NFL/MLB/NBA/NHL never pay for their stadia. I would not want to foot the tax bill.

        MLS averaged 19,500 a game last season. That includes the 41K Seatle gets. 40k is too much. Ideally the stadium should be an expandable 25 (maybe30) K stadium.

      • Sorry, I don’t care if the stadium has a dome and waitresses that bring food directly to your seat – you’re not coming anywhere near 40k in Orlando on a regular basis. Besides, it’s hard enough to get a $100m stadium financed and built – if you raise it to $500m you might see a new SSS built every 10 years and only in the largest markets.

      • 40k in Indy is foolish. I could see a max of 30k. Indy is not your typical metropolis. It is a city spread out over a large county. One nice thing is that you can generally get downtown pretty quick, but I couldnt fathom a MLS team in Indy consistently pulling in 40K+.

        If i were paying for the stadium, i would have 30k as the max. Perhaps after a few generations of fans within families occur we could fathom spending $$ on a 40k+ stadium

      • Lucas Oil Stadium is already in Downtown Indy (ok, technically right across the road from Downtown) and seats 67,000 for football. Why would anyone build a slightly smaller version on the same thing 1 mile away?

  17. how about London?

    then they could sign half of the USMNT and help quell Klinsi’s qualms about players needing to go to Europe?

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  18. Once again the key to making the current teams located centrally, is St. Louis. St. Louis is currently building a strong USL program, headlining Charles Renken ( Forgotten by many, but still young and a difference maker). If the stadium deal that the St. Louis community has put forward to keep the Rams, which also includes designs for Soccer specific purposes, comes to fruition, St. Louis could easily emerge as a Leading market in the MLS. The fans here in St. Louis are more entrenched in the game than most other current MLS markets, with a few exceptions. The key is to find an ownership group that is committed to getting a team here. The need and want for a team in St. Louis is not in question, all of the pieces just need to fall to make this happen.

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    • We dont need another stadium to share with an NFL team and play on turf

      It would be better for the Rams to leave and build a 40,000 version of the proposed rendition on the water front

      Then with the team in Hollywood Park, AEG can use the Farmers field Rendition for the LA Galaxy in downtown LA…

      The success of MLS is determined by stadium design and locations.

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      • 40,000 is the wrong number for 95% of MLS teams (i.e. everybody but Seattle). It eliminates most of the advantages of the soccer-specific stadium rollout, a successful transformation that ranks among the biggest successes of the modern MLS era.

        Consider that 2014 MLS attendance was 19,500, and you are talking about stadiums that are more than half-empty league-wide at 40,000. This is very bad for a number of reasons (1) it is this operationally cost-inefficient (2)it makes for a less vibrant in-stadium experience and(3) projects poorly through the TV, making MLS look like a third-tier spectator sport.

        The best-managed teams understand that stadiums should be filled at 80% plus for ALL regular season games (rising to 100% for derby matches and playoff games). If the demand for tickets is larger than the stadium seating, so what? You raise the ticket price! Sell outs are ALWAYS a good thing, and they also increase the population of fans who watch on TV (which MLS needs right now more than anything).

        Building stadiums that teams can “grow into” has been suggested, but it’s silly– this kind of thinking doesn’t recognize the true nature of the stadium assets themselves. MLS stadiums are cheap (compared to NFL, MLB, etc), and they only have useful design lives of 25 years before major renovation is required. So you build for now– so you can have a raucous house for every game. You may elect to expand eventually, but it’s more likely teams will simply rebuild when the time comes. If MLS actually reaches the point where it can support 40,000 average attendances, financing and building these stadiums will be no problem

  19. All of the above.

    The country is big enough to support 30+ teams in MLS, just like the other major sports.

    (And, at that size, I support plotting MLS into 2 tiers with pro/rel)

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    • Pro/rel will never happen under Garber. Too extreme for him, even if it’s pseudo pro/rel where revenues are shared between all teams, regardless of tier. I’d like to see that too, but like I said, not under this commish.

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      • I don’t think so at all. It junk he knows there are way too many markets to put a cap in this country. I think we see a partnership with USL growing into pro/rel and willing NASL teams will be absorbed.

    • I agree 100%. As long as an expansion candidate can meet the league-mandated criteria for entry, bring them in. The league needs to get into every market it can to boost its appeal with the mainstream. Once that happens, the TV money will grow exponentially and the league can eventually split into 2 tiers with 2 different salary caps and bring the quality of play to a level with the top leagues in the world.

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      • “Two different salary caps” you say? Doubt it. If pro/rel were ever to work in MLS (which I highly doubt), but the relegation fires sales we see in other leagues simply would not fly here. Say, for example, the Galaxy have another 2007 or 2008 season and get relegated. Where do they send their DPs and other high-priced talent? It’s a non-starter.

        The only way pro/rel works is in through evenly distributed revenues and equal salary caps.

        But pro/rel will probably never work in MLS.

    • So once big money starts rolling in MLS will change to Pro/Rel ?
      What color is the ski in the Pro/Rel lovers world ?

      Changing commissioners wont help either. The commish is just doing what the owners want. The owners don’t want unlimited number of teams competing for their share of the TV contract. Period.

      IT AINT HAPPENING…EVER sorry I know you love it. IT AINT HAPPENING…EVER

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      • It’ll never happen between USL NASL and MLS but perhaps MLS could one day go to 40 teams then split into 2 tiers of 20. However that’s pretty unlikely as well.

      • If you’re right, which you always think you are, then that is too bad. Pro/rel would be good for soccer in America, someday. It is something the general public could really grow to understand and enjoy. It would be new in the American sports landscape, fresh, and competitive. It installs a huge incentive to perform and actual pressure. Could be great for player development. Existing owners, hate it or not, would have to accept that new ones would come in happily and take the risk of dropping down, for simple love of their team or region. Owners are easily replaced, so the argument of owners running the league and dictating its future is baseless.

        Open your mind, soccer in the US is not perfect yet.

    • absolutely.

      27 teams (9 west, 9 central, 9 east) makes a nice 34 game schedule (2x vs. you division rivals and 1x vs others) and covers the nation pretty well. If we have 23 right now I’d add Sacramento, San Antonio, Indy and Miami.

      once Garber and Abbott are retired and people who understand/love soccer are in charge they will realize that Pro/Rel in a single entity is really simple fix that will propel soccer into or past the traditional sports in the USA+Canada. We got some time before we need to figure out the d2 – nasl vs mls2 vs usl situation…

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      • Hmmm… I don’t really understand the last part of your argument, I suppose. How will the introduction of Pro/Rel propel soccer past other North American Sports? I really don’t see the presence absence of Pro/Rel as being a factor that the average non-soccer sports fan would identify as the reason he doesn’t watch MLS. Probably, it’s not a concept they value or have even encountered just yet– and US Sports Leagues are the most popular and financially successful globally

        Consider the challenge MLS confronts the basic logic of the situation of the MLS financial challenge both simple and daunting… effectively it boils down to TV revenue, which is where the “haves” and “have-nots” of spectator sports are differentiated. In order to get the $500 million – $3 billion n+ contracts that NFL, NCAAF, and baseball get, MLS will HAVE to compete directly with those sports– in many of the same time slots– for the same general demographic (mostly young to middle-aged male) and audience. If MLS cannot find a way to convince the average 20-something guy who who spends his Saturdays religiously watching SEC football and his Sundays watching NFL, there will never “BIg” MLS. It’s just logic– soccer needs to continue gaining popularity

        But there is no “magic bullet” in my mind that will make this happen in the next five years. It will be slow– generational, even….Football and baseball are so deeply entrenched in this country that adoption of competing options like MLS (even if the growth is slow) is a big success.

        I just don’t see how Pro/Rel is really a critical growth issue in this regard, at least not at this point in the game. Most of these “target consumers” who currently prefer other sports probably have very little idea of what Pro/Rel even is yet, and there is little to suggest that something they have been seeking or would “prefer” in the sports the currently consume. Sure– it might catch on…. but we really don’t know that based on any data or experience. It could backfire. It could confuse people and cause contract headaches. We don’t know.

        Clarity will come from accomplishing the more immediate goal– getting people to watch the sport as a primary option. MLS can sell this sport with or without Pro/Rel, as long as they have a great product on the field and a great spectator experience.

      • The average soccer fan does not watch MLS because they put out crappy product. When I take my kids to MLS games, I take them for atmosphere rather than quality soccer. Open competition system with promotion/relegation will improve the quality of the product on the field as it will force the teams to field competitive teams to avoid relegation. The top league will be based on the merit rather than on who paid the franchise fee. Because not all teams would be able to spend big bucks to buy talent to stay competitive, many would have to improve their youth development at the academies. The clubs who don’t do it, they will get relegated and replaced by better clubs. It’s not a rocket science – this is the normal business model that is utilized throughout the world – it would be a huge boost for US soccer and its fans, if MLS ditches its anti-competitive closed system single entity model. The USSF should have mandated the open multi-division system by now, but there are too many MLS folks on its board.

      • I understand how this improves the game for you (and numerous others who are already- committed soccer fans). But this does not really address beto’s claim.

        The point I was making is that making existing soccer fans happier (or at least some of them) is not really the bottleneck that limits the popularity of soccer amongst US sports fans generally. If Pro/Rel were introduced tomorrow, I doubt you’d observe any material change in the ratings growth of MLS in the years following.

        Why? Because the people who understand what Pro/Rel means are already watching, anyway. Nobody is going to switch off the NFL because they heard MLS had adopted a Pro/Rel system. You might pick up a few Euro-focused types who hate the current system, but they don’t move the needle much– there just aren’t enough of them.

        What MLS needs to achieve in order to overtake the “big dogs” of North American sports is not simplystructural tweak. Things like Pro/Rel are unlikely to be a “magic wand”. And they aren’t perfect, either. Sure, it is a feature of all of the world’s top leagues, but it is also a feature of most of the world’s worst leagues (and in some cases a direct contributor to their poor financial health)

        I think Pro/Rel has potential down the road to improve the quality of the game, but competing with the NFL etc. will involve much more.. There is no one “secret sauce” here.

    • Are you suggesting a second MLS team in MA, or relocated the Revs? If it’s the latter, I agree. Otherwise, I’d like to know your rationale for the former.

      Reply
    • Yeah, I’m not sure how (or why) this happens. The market might very well support two teams,, but it seems that getting even one soccer-specific stadium anywhere near the city center is a horrible challenge

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  20. Voted San Antonio, but no qualms with the effort shown by Sacramento. Both have little local competition with other major sports, both have big followings with lower level clubs already. I gave San Antonio the edge as a bigger city and if MLS wants another California team, they shouldn’t put 2 in LA. So maybe its a bit of a spite vote against LA2 more than a vote against Sacramento.

    I’m just against Miami. They have competition with other major sports, all of which seem to suffer from weak support locally anyway. Plus the whole failed attempt the first time. Thanks Beckham for trying, but there’s better cities that can offer a higher chance of success.

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  21. Sacramento is a no brainer, The fans are very much ready to support an MLS team, NorCAL is a Soccer hotbed without a doubt, and the rivalry with San Jose will bring even more fans out. They have a great stadium site sorted out, 1 more west coast team to help reduce average travel time for 4-5 other teams, Great branding etc.

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    • no doubt they are the best candidate. San Antonio a solid second. Indy an optimistic third. Miami, St Louis, others I would like to see accomplish a bit more before seriously considering.

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      • This is how I’d rank it as well. For me rivalries and existing fan bases are what it should be about. Not banking on the Beckam and Ronaldo names.

        Can anyone really imagine Miami or Atlanta fans traveling?
        Cause I could certainly see huge amounts of Sacramento fans traveling to SJ, Portland, Seattle and LA in that order.

      • Just curious, but do fans from teams that are somewhat geographically isolated travel? Are Columbus fans and Kansas City fans traveling to Chicago or vice-versa? Denver to Salt Lake, etc.? I noticed that there appeared to be a number of Toronto fans in Columbus a couple of weeks ago, but of course it’s always tough to discern the motives of Canadian fans since their numbers tend to dwindle throughout these matches in the U.S. as they slowly and quietly disperse into the surrounding countryside to start new lives and live the American dream.

  22. I live in South Florida, I know Miami is a bad idea.

    I voted San Antonio, top 10 cities in the U.S., only the Spurs as sports team, and people would be more open to support a MLS.

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    • Looks like the San Antonio owner is trying to sell the team. Bad timing. I wonder what’s going on behind the scenes to cause this turmoil?

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      • So why not find investors like the guy in Minnesota did? Why is he trying to unload the team and the stadium?

      • Hartman’s ultimate goal is to fund programs for the special needs community, including Morgan’s Wonderland, a theme park for special needs kids, and the Monarch Academy, a special needs school. The Scorpions are a means to that end. For us in San Antonio, it’s been a win-win – great soccer supporting a great cause. He’ll likely stay on as a minority owner, but it’s obvious to everyone that he’ll need investors with bigger wallets to get to MLS money.

    • I like San Antonio a lot. I just don’t know that the ownership group is in place right now. Once that gets figured out, I think San Antonio is a must.

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      • voted San Antonio,

        If SA got in MLS I feel some things would change in the Texas market (depending on $$$).

        Would NASL go after Austin Aztex? Could El Paso put money together to leave USL PDL go to USL Pro?

  23. People will laugh, including Don Garber, but it is critical for MLS to bring in the New York Cosmos.

    I don’t know how it happens — best option would be for Cosmos to purchase Red Bulls — but it has to happen.

    The New York Cosmos are the most important soccer club is U.S. history and the only U.S. club that is a worldwide brand.

    For MLS to really move forward in the world market, the Cosmos must be a part of it.

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    • Wait, so you don’t think the LA Galaxy are a worldwide brand? Have you ever been outside of the United States? I’ve see Galaxy jerseys in Latin America and Europe. I’ve never seen a Cosmos shirt… anywhere, actually. They were kind of hipster-forward for a while in New York, but I don’t think if that’s still going on. Basically, “The New York Cosmos are the most important soccer club is U.S. history and the only U.S. club that is a worldwide brand” is the most asinine thing I’ve read all day.

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    • Sure….. I’ll bite. The last time Cosmos were the most important franchise in US history, they were the benefactor of no existing league in this country and the exaggerated memories distorted by time/grossly exaggerated by nostalgia.

      Thankfully, the soccer tide has significantly turned on many front in this country since then. Current Cosmos ownership overplayed a hand that consisted of mostly form, little substance or connection to what once was other than rights to hijack a logo and it’s/someone else’s “traditions”. At this point, Cosmos need MLS much more than MLS needs Cosmos. It’s a far cooler brand than an energy drink and they’ve done some good things in the last few years, hopefully they do buy RB.

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    • Let’s say I agree with you. The Cosmos were huge ( 40 years ago ).

      First of all, someone needs to come up with a funny name for you and your thousand names.

      Second, why would they want to join MLS? MLS is communist, or whatever flavor of the day the trolls are using to describe it. They need to want to join. They need to have the money to join. The idea is so farfetched it isn’t worth talking about…or else it would be talked about.

      Not like these rumors are secret these days.

      MLS will be plenty fine with/without the Cosmos. None of these cities willing to put up $100 million have a stipulation that the Cosmos join before they join.

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    • “The New York Cosmos are the most important soccer club is U.S. history and the only U.S. club that is a worldwide brand.”

      No one under 40 gives a rats ass about the Cosmos. Moreover they are associated with failure, and today are less important than the 20 existing MLS teams.

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      • Yeah, the word “important:” is really vague here. The Apple II e computer might be regarded as massively important at its introduction in through its peak years, but the more accurate term as time passes is “historically significant”

        For me, is really the best way to look at the Cosmos. I still don’t think the Cosmos have established something beyond “historically significant” to define their new iteration– the updated club appears to be striving for second-tier semi relevance– the absolute opposite of the Cosmos brand they purport to be continuing. They may find a way to re-invent themselves in a way that once again moves them to the forefront of American Professional Soccer. But right now I feel like I’m watching Wall Street 2 and drinking Crystal Pepsi with these guys.

        The Cosmos teams of the 70s and early 80s are essential case reading for anybody interested in American pro soccer’s formative years, as well as the great marketing experiment that the Cosmos undertook (successfully, for a number of years).

        But I don’t think most of the global audience (at least the small subset who are aware the Cosmos actually play games) identifies the current iteration of the Cosmos with any of this. For all the talk of continuity amongst the Cosmos various rebirths, it just isn’t the same thing. Nothing ever could be. It was a unique moment in time.

        Not trying to convince any Cosmos fans to “abandon their team” and more than I would convince them to abandon their Laserdisc players.

        If the Cosmos want to compete in the current first-tier landscape, I’m all in favor of them going for it, but I don’t think they deserve any special treatment or nostalgic benefit because they share a sort-of documentable brand connection with an old NASL team (that failed). We have books and museums for things like that.

        If they can muster the funds to buy out NYRB, this may be their last best chance to establish the kind of relevance that characterized the Cosmos brand in the first place.

    • MLS is still a single-entity. Which means if the Cosmos want to pay into joining MLS, they be paying to give the Cosmos name and brand to MLS forever. The current Cosmos owners don’t have any interest in doing that. If they did they’d be in MLS already.

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      • Correct me if I am wrong, but the biggest hurdle between the New New York Cosmos and MLS is the fact that the Cosmos owners aren’t nearly rich enough to afford MLS.

        Small potatoes trying to live off a name they bought from a club that existed 30 years ago. No real tie to the old Cosmos beyond buying the name. I guess I could go out and buy the name “DeLorean” for a new car company but nobody would take me serious if I based all my advertising on how cool “Back to the Future” was.

    • The Cosmos have a lot of history, sure (definitely more than any MLS team), but shutting down a franchise for them doesn’t make since. Honestly I think MLS needs to snatch up San Antonio, then once NASL drops to D3 and USL jumps to D2, then pro rel can happen with the partnership already established with USL and MLS, giving Sacramento and any new potential franchise to move up as long as they win. As for the Cosmos, I’m assuming by then they see the writing on the wall and join MLS, if they still exist.

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  24. I voted Sacramento, only because they seem to have the fan support and infrastructure in place to make this a great expansion city.

    Outside of having Beckham’s name and it being in lovely Miami… there’s nothing about that bid that excites me.

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    • I personally am not very excited about Miami either. It has the reputation of being a fickle sports town. Even so, it is the “capital of Latin America” and an iconic city. It is probably much better for future TV deals than Sacramento. The stadium may not always be full, but Miami probably offers MLS several other long term benefits that not many other markets currently in consideration can offer.

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      • Very true. Since the modern cable era started, TV revenue has brought in WAY more money than ticket sales. Even still, you don’t want an empty, soulless stadium.

      • If only this were true for MLS…. But ticket sales still drive MLS revenues, which is very much outmoded in global soccer economics

        For most major European teams, revenues are split almost (1/3rd each( equally between (1) Broadcast/TV. Ticket Sales/Matchday Revenue, and (3) Commercial/Merchandising. I posted a link below to an article that summarizes some of these top int’l clubs.

        By comparison, MLS teams are estimated to make a slightly less than 10% of their revenues from TV contracts.

        Of course, this is also a good thing– it provides a clear source of untapped upside. Although it may take decades to realize this upside the data from other US sports, as well as global soccer and the World Cup, suggests that the value here is certainly not imaginary.

        http://www.businessofsoccer.com/2014/02/18/how-do-soccer-clubs-make-money/

    • I think Miami with Beckham will be great once they arrive. But they’ve gotta get the stadium and do it right. Bring in some massive names, flashy style, and a great stadium. Give it to Sacramento for now, and you know they’ll be expanding more, bring Miami in once they are ready. Maybe 2018/19 with Ronaldo.

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      • ATL and LAFC are starting 2017-18 season and Minn Utd and (Sac FC?) would most likely join in 2018-19 soooooooo how would the MLS already be expanding again that same year? i get your point tho….

      • Is there really that many cities that wouldn’t be great if they had some Massive names, flashy style, and a great stadium?

    • Looks like that Indy stadium is about to get shot down. The legislature wants them to just renovate the stadium they’re in now and sign a 20-year lease.

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      • I hope it does get shot down, That rendering was another joke of a stadium.

        Nobody ever thinks about the bigger picture or the weather conditions when building the stadiums.

      • You guys are pessimists. The owner will be back next year and will try again, and I bet he gets a deal done in much less time than it took DC United.

      • Yeah but DCU already had an MLS franchise. This isn’t going to happen in time to get Indy in for this round of expansion, which is what this poll is about.

      • weather conditions? I’m assuming you mean rain? Surely not cold as the season is starting this weekend and we are on the tail end of winter weather. Other than a bit of cold i’m not sure what you meant by that comment. And in Indy, it’s not the temperature that hurts, but rather the wind chill. That stadium appeared to be blocked of wind (for the most part) and thus would not feel nearly as cold.

        In the end, there are other viable reasons to wish it not to be built, but weather and the “bigger picture” certain have nothing to do with it.

    • I think Chicago deserves an MLS team before Indy. We haven’t had one since the team was bought by a vulture capitalist.

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    • Agreed. Indianapolis has as much upside as any of the options listed. Realistically, they aren’t in the running, but if MLS eventually expands to 30 teams, I do not see how they would not be on the short list.

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