Thursday, May 2, 2013


[I wrote this as part of my weekly MLS Eastern Conf Round Up over at Massive Report. It was part of a longer post, but wanted to pull out this part on expansion. Links and all are over there.]

More news last week about upcoming expansion in MLS, this time it comes via New York Times. In the piece Jere Longman and Ken Belson update readers on the current state of New York City F.C. and the league’s plans to build in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. Things seem to be marching towards some sort of definitive league announcement around when Manchester City comes to NY to play Chelsea on May 25th. Reason being, Sheik Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan (member of the Abu Dhabi royal family) is the billionaire owner of Manchester City and the person willing to pay the $100 million MLS entrance fee.

Meanwhile, down in Orlando, Florida, there is also a group pushing to bring MLS action that way. Senate Bill 306 seems to be working it’s way through the Florida House of Representatives at this very moment. From what I understand, it paves the way for a stadium through tax revenues.

Orlando City SC has an honest to goodness team that actually exists and very dedicated group of supporters but looking for some help to get a place to play. NY has a rich royal (estimated family worth of half a trillion dollars) who has benefited the fact that he sits on a tenth of the world’s oil supply. Look up pictures of Abu Dhabi if you haven’t already (or go, if you have the means).

If you step back from this process you sort of realize that what is going on here, right now, paints a picture of the current sports landscape in the United States. It’s not a good picture. Why not let competition decide who is in North America’s top division? Why not let teams spend as much as the pull in through ticket sales, media deals and other revenue streams?

The way MLS is going about it right now only benefits MLS. What’s strange is that this top down corporate structure approach is fiercely disliked by over half the US populace yet accepted practice in US soccer. Organic, autonomous growth of the sport can work and can be profitable. It also benefits all levels of play from professionals to youth teams.

Were either Orlando City or NYCFC to join MLS they would be in the Eastern Conference.


I liked this picture of Stade Saputo but went with a crowd pic from inside in the MR post (they destroyed Toronto FC 6-0 that game). Photo was taken by Jean-Yves Ahern for USA Today Sports.

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