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Five cities for two expansion spots?
by Paul Kennedy, February 21st, 2014 11:49AM

TAGS:  mls, soccer business


[MLS SPOTLIGHT] On an afternoon when MLS Commissioner Don Garber had to dole out some bad news with the announcement that MLS had bought out the owners of Chivas USA, supporters in five markets had reason to feel good as he gave them a shout-out as expansion targets.

New York City FC and Orlando City are joining MLS in 2015, and MLS has given David Beckham's group the green light in Miami, leaving only two expansion spots up for grabs as MLS approaches its goal of expanding to 24 teams by 2020.

Atlanta has been tipped as the third of three expansion cities in MLS's venture into the Southeast, and Garber said the league was "bullish" about the Atlanta effort that centers around Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank's plans for a new downtown stadium that would be configured for soccer. The Mexico-Nigeria friendly on March 5 is expected to draw a record crowd.

Garber was particularly effusive about the Minnesota, another market in which an NFL club, the Vikings, is designing a stadium with soccer in mind. A second effort in the Twin Cities is centered around building a soccer-specific stadium next to Target Field, the Twins' baseball park located in downtown Minneapolis.

“That opportunity is one that we're excited about as we believe we need more teams in the Midwest,” Garber said. “I think if Minneapolis as a market that can continue to show the support that they've had for the NASL club [Minnesota United FC] and if they continuing to make progress on a number of different stadium opportunities, there's a real opportunity there.”

Garber also singled out Sacramento, San Antonio and San Diego as markets where there are opportunities.

  1. Frank Cardone
    commented on: February 22, 2014 at 10:13 a.m.
    Too bad he did not also mention St. Louis. An oversight?
  1. George Gorecki
    commented on: February 22, 2014 at 4:07 p.m.
    Jeff Cooper tried to land an expansion team in St Louis 5-6 years ago. His bid was rejected because he and his group of investors were not the same high rollers as the rest of the owners in MLS. After the Horowitz debacle in Miami, MLS has sought out owners who have the stomach to accept significant financial losses. I don't believe that the soccer history of St Louis really matters to Don Garber when it comes to deciding whether a new guy joins their exclusive club of very rich owners.
  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: February 23, 2014 at 10:10 a.m.
    MOVE the Chivas franchise to SAN DIEGO
  1. Hector Alzando
    commented on: February 25, 2014 at 9:03 a.m.
    I'm from Minneapolis, and even I have some trouble with our ability to draw enough fans to compete with other MLS teams. Minnesota United, the local NASL team, struggles to draw 2,000 people per game even during their back to back championship game run. The Wilf family--the projected ownership--are quite wealthy and are good ownership candidates.

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