Cincinnati gets MLS commissioner Garber's attention

A year ago, it would have been unimaginable, a visit to Cincinnati by MLS commissioner Don Garber. But the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Garber will visit Cincinnati Nov. 29 and meet with Mayor John Cranley. A public event will be held in conjunction with Garber's visit, which follows a record-breaking season at the gate for first-year USL club FC Cincinnati, which averaged more fans than five MLS clubs.

FC Cincinnati set a USL record, drawing 259,437 fans for 15 games, an average of 17,296 a game. That's more than the current average of MLS's current Ohio representative, Columbus (16,943), and more than D.C. United (16,490), Colorado (16,229), Chicago (15,358) and FC Dallas (13,994).

"Cincinnati is a city on the rise and so is soccer," FC Cincinnati general manager Jeff Berding said. "We've created an environment for a professional soccer team to be successful."

FC Cincinnati is the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and will host Charleston Sunday in the quarterfinals of the playoffs at Nippert Stadium.

"FC Cincinnati has done a fantastic job of putting a high-quality product on the field, filling Nippert Stadium with record-setting crowds, and adding to the vibrancy of our city," Cranley said. "We are lucky to have FC Cincinnati and MLS would be lucky to have them too."

MLS will expand into Atlanta and Minnesota in 2017 and LAFC has begun work on its stadium for its entrance into MLS, scheduled for 2018. Miami has been approved -- contingent upon developing a suitable stadium plan.

Garber has said MLS will expand to 28 teams. In a recent interview with SI.com's Brian Straus, Garber mentioned Cincinnati as a possible expansion city along with  Austin and San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, Sacramento and Las Vegas. He visited St. Louis in February and Sacramento and Detroit in April.
2 comments about "Cincinnati gets MLS commissioner Garber's attention".
  1. Phil Hardy, September 27, 2016 at 11:18 a.m.

    Cincy must be a very tempting backup plan for The Don. If Miami can't get it together with its stadium in time, this could be the easy way to ensure the teams continue to come in to the league two by two. However, it would be a major blow to his strategy of only picking new teams in the Top 25 TV markets. MLS can hardly afford to continue to pick new teams in markets with so many fewer eyeballs than say, Detroit, Phoenix, Tampa and now especially St. Louis. If MLS goes with Cincinnati, it would be the new lowest TV market club in the league--just edging out Columbus and SLC. We saw what happened to TV ratings in the MLC Cup Final with Columbus v Portland. MLS can't be wanting something like that again, but it runs the risk by picking more sub-Top 25 TV markets.

  2. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, September 27, 2016 at 6:26 p.m.

    I think it's a bigger risk to put a team in a terrible sports town like Miami than it is to put one in a place where a USL team can draw 20k+. It doesn't matter how big a city is if no one cares and therefore isn't watching games (either live on or TV).

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