By Paul Kennedy
MLS downplayed talk surrounding its interest in returning to Miami.
Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl reported on Fox Soccer's Goals on Sunday that MLS Commissioner Don Garber was eyeing Miami as an expansion target and had talks with RSE Ventures chairman and Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross putting a team in Sun Life Stadium.
But in a statement issued Monday night, MLS vice president Dan Courtemanche reiterated that New York remained the league's priority as it sought out a 20th team:
"We have not had any formal discussions with RSE Ventures. We remain focused on securing a 20th team for Major League Soccer in New York, but we do believe we will have an MLS team in the Southeast at some point.
"As it relates specifically to potential Florida markets, we have had ongoing discussions with Orlando City SC about expansion in Central Florida, and we know that South Florida is one of the most passionate soccer markets in North America."
“We have a good relationship with RSE Ventures through our commercial arm, Soccer United Marketing, but we have not had any formal discussions with RSE or the Dolphins regarding a future expansion team in Miami. We believe we will have an MLS team in South Florida someday, but our current focus remains on securing an expansion team for New York.”
The distinction between Wahl's report and Courtemanche's statement seems to center on how you'd define "formal discussions."
STUBHUB CENTER DEAL REACHED. Home Depot Center, the home of MLS's Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA and site of training headquarters for U.S. Soccer on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif., will be renamed StubHub Center after the ticket reseller as of June 1.
Terms of the deal between StubHub, whose parent company is eBay, and AEG, which owns and operates the facility, were not announced. AEG's deal with the Home Depot Center, which opened in 2003, was for 10 years.
"As we continue to expand our company and brand globally, and with soccer being the world's biggest sport, it made sense to invest more here in the States," said Geoff Lester, managing director of partnerships and business development for the San Francisco-based StubHub, told the Daily Breeze.
ESPN EXPANDS MEXICO PROGRAMMING.ESPN continued to expand its Mexican soccer programming, acquiring multimedia rights from Azteca America to air Liga MX and Copa MX games in the United States through 2015.
Through the remainder of the 2013 season, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS will combine to air more than a dozen Liga MX matches -- the first time ESPN's English-language networks have aired Mexico's top league.
ESPN also added more matches on ESPN Deportes in Spanish, as well as extensive highlights rights across ESPN’s English-language and Spanish-language studio programming and digital platforms.
ESPN’s English-language coverage will kick off Friday with the Morelia-Club America game on ESPNEWS at 8:30 p.m. ET.
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