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MLS still mulling over expansion decision following Board of Governors meeting

Three cities continue to await an expansion decision from MLS, but, following a recent meeting of league executives, a final choice has yet to be made.

MLS released a statement on Tuesday following a Board of Governors meeting, revealing that Sacramento, Cincinnati and Detroit all remain in play to be the league’s 26th team.

“Major League Soccer’s owners met today in Los Angeles and discussed a variety of topics including a review of potential expansion finalists Cincinnati, Detroit and Sacramento,” the league said. “The MLS Board of Governors viewed the recent Cincinnati City Council vote on the West End stadium as a positive step forward for Cincinnati’s expansion bid. While there was no plan for a formal expansion vote at today’s Board of Governors meeting, the League will continue discussions with the three expansion finalists.”

In 2017, Nashville was approved as the league’s 24th market while Miami was officially confirmed as the 25th in January.

Comments

  1. Can we just put an end to Miami? The revelation they seem to be abandoning the Overton site and reigniting the search for a location in areas like Doral demonstrate that this is not getting off the ground anytime soon. I am sure even Becks wants to move on at this point.

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  2. Nashville has drawn 40K+ for a number of international friendlies. There aren’t many cities that can say that. Those 20K+ that showed up for the first game will be there for MLS. Hell Seattle was only drawing 3K fans a game before they became an MLS team. That alone should show us USL attendance doesn’t exactly correlate with MLS attendance.

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  3. I am worried they will choose Cincinnati and use that as justification for moving Columbus. Hoping for Sacramento because they have a unique name, logo, and color scheme.

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    • Sacramento has a large fanbase. For those not in Cali, NorCal is hungry for a soccer club that will invest in its club, and by all appearances the ownership group assembled for Sacto is of that caliber. As an Oakland resident, I’m a thousand times more likely to take the train up to Sacramento to see the Republic with 3 European-league-level highly-touted (and highly paid) DPs then I am to take the train the other way to see the Quakes with its current cheapskate owner.

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  4. Nashville and Miami are already sketchy choices and sometimes the best decisions you make are postponement, just letting something sit there, or the word, “No.” We don’t “need” 30 cities (or whatever the magic number in your head is), we “need” a league of strong teams where we don’t need to move or fold any, and broadcasters/ financiers/ investors/ sponsors trust we’re good for the long haul.

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    • Miami seems a sketchy choice for any sport, but what’s done is done. Jet was all part of the Beckham deal over 10 years ago.

      However, the Nashville plan is solid. Not sure what facts you have to the contrary, but feel free to post them.

      MLS isn’t new to this anymore. All three prospective ownership groups have solid plans, deep pockets, and good government/community support. An argument could easily be made for accepting all three out of the gate.

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      • I have to make the case against? How about they have to make the case for.

        Nashville’s USL team is new, there isn’t a long history of any prior team there to establish bona fides, and after one all-time opening game with low five figure attendance they dropped down to 7487 attendees for game 2. Minor league attendance. Half a million people in the city.

        Two MLS teams have had isolated games with that kind of attendance this season, one is Columbus that may move; the other was DC who had been forced to play Houston at the Soccerplex that week.

        I get the calculus of ownership groups + stadia + eager fans. But missing some of that equation can be problematic depending which item is missing. If you have owners but don’t have 20,000 fans ready to watch every week, then it becomes a vanity ownership project instead of a business. How long does a team without working economics survive?

        Cincy has decent attendance history over a period of years, on into the 20ks to watch a minor league product. That might work.

        Sacramento is basically 10k a game consistently for years. That is not big league ready. It’s also another half million person city. Where are the other fans going to come from?

        Detroit, pfft. Miami’s history speaks for itself.

      • TIV. Have you been to Nashville in the last year or so? There is major support and enthusiasm for the team coming. Its a big deal to them and I could feel the buzz when visiting. They may not have the direct minor league history of supporting a team (valid argument)but Their NHL team has one of the most passionate, well attended crowds in hockey. Nashville isn’t exactly a hotbed of ice hockey playing community. Its one of the fastest growing cities in the country and is right in that age demographic MLS loves to hit. They’re going to do great.

    • MLS stadiums are small to start with. Per Wikipedia(so for what its worth) KC +18,000, slighty smaller in Colorado, San Jose 18,000, phila. 18500, utah 20,000, Saputo 20,800. So averaging 10k + is well one the way to filling the place. I do think Miami is Miami, and will always be a problem. But as said earlier, that decision was made a long time ago.

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      • “MLS stadiums are small to start with”

        -18.5k-20k stadium if sold out would put those teams in the top half (for attendance) in countries like Italy, Spain and France (just to name a few).

        -I do agree that having sold 10k in USL is well on their way to filling up a stadium of similar size.

    • —–“If you have owners but don’t have 20,000 fans ready to watch every week, then it becomes a vanity ownership project instead of a business”

      “Cincy has decent attendance history over a period of years, on into the 20ks to watch a minor league product. That might work.

      Sacramento is basically 10k a game consistently for years. That is not big league ready. “—–

      -Sounders averaged 3.5k years prior to the announcement of getting a MLS side… that worked out
      -Portland had 9-10k average
      -Atlanta “averaged” ~4k years leading to “expansion” (i say “averaged” as they papered most games, and I say “expansion” as it wasn’t the same team nor ownership of the current MLS ATL team).
      -Toronto Lynx were averaging less than 2.5k prior to TFC was announced (again, different team and different owners)

      *Personally I think if a team can show high attendance averages in a lower division it is likely to draw even higher attendance when in a higher division. Of course there are other factors such as stadium location, owners commitment, and roster that effects the attendance. Chicago struggles on tickets, but Ibra comes to town and Toyota Park is sold above max attendance. If the owners are willing, tickets can be sold. TP was sold out quite a bit when Blanco was with Chicago. Years following the attendance drops.

      *What division you play in can cause attendance to fluctuate. 10k for USL is quite impressive. This is especially true when you consider we sign MLS scraps. Indy’s biggest claim to fame this season was signing Jack Mac and Soony Saad (which I’m stoked to have both). When that’s your selling point it’s amazing we sold 15k for our home opener and 10k for the following match.

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    • Nashville sketchy? I guess you have not been there recently. Plus Nashville ownership appears to be committed to spending. People said the same about Nashville prior to NHL and the same about Atlanta United.

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    • IPV, you obviously don’t know much about Sacramento. 11k is the capacity of their current stadium and it’s been sold out for every match the last 2 years. They would likely sell out double that if they were to move to MLS. There is a large population to draw from in the Sacramento valley, and many in Reno would drive over the hill weather permitting. (I know several that would make the trip before Reno joined USL last year.) Sacramento is ready and would likely do better than San Jose.

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