Gothamite

North American Pro Soccer 2018

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On 10/1/2018 at 8:54 PM, AstroBull21 said:

Very interesting to see where this goes....

 

Well, here is what we know in the wake of this morning's press conference announcing the Tampa Bay Rays' purchase of the Rowdies.

* Bill Edwards, former owner of the United Soccer League's Tampa Bay Rowdies, said he was selling the team because it's time he "moved on".

* According to Matt Silverman, Tampa Bay Rays president, the USL team "will be operated as a separate organization" from the Major League Baseball franchise. Silverman went so far as to say that the two teams "[r]emaining separate is integral".

* Silverman also said that moving the Rowdies to Major League Soccer is not a top priority for ownership. "It's not something we categorically rule out, but it's not a part of our plans," he said. "We're very happy with the Rowdies' standing in the United Soccer League. We think it's a great fit for the team and the venue we play in. We made this decision that we are going to be in the USL for a long time."  

* The sale won't become official until October 11th, at the earliest. This is because the St. Petersburg City Council next meets on that date, and the council must approve the deal due to the fact that the Rowdies' lease to play at the city-owned Al Lang Stadium must be reauthorized.

* The Rowdies' existing agreement with the City of St. Petersburg stipulates that only the soccer team can play at Al Lang Stadium for the duration of the current lease, which runs through the end of November 2020. That said, Edwards indicated that his sales agreement with the Rays includes a clause that calls for the Rowdies to play at Al Lang Stadium "for at least five years".      

* Edwards' event company, Big 3 Entertainment, will continue to produce concerts at Al Lang Stadium.

Bill Edwards: Rowdies will stay in St. Petersburg 'for at least five years' under deal with Rays

Meanwhile, with regard to the Rowdies continuing to seek the Major League Soccer expansion opportunity that Edwards had set his sights on, Ian Thomas of Sports Business Journal has tweeted, "I've had multiple sources tell me that the Rays ownership group is not interested in further pursuing the spot."

Ian Thomas - Twitter - 7:56 AM - 2 Oct 2018  

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Some minor soccer news over the past couple of days

 

El Paso USL Championship club unveils branding as El Paso Locomotive FC

 

Although not officially unveiled yet. USL League One will have a club in Riverside, California that will be partially owned and backed by AS Roma for 2019.

 

Yesterday FC Cincinnati talked about their plans of launching their development academy, they mentioned that they plan on applying for a NWSL womens soccer club to compete in their new stadium in a few years. FC Cincinnati hosted the US womens national team last year against New Zealand in front of 30,596 at Nippert Stadium. Many of them cheering on a fan favorite Rose Lavelle, who is from Cincinnati. Many of the FC Cincinnati supporters have said that they would love to have a NWSL alongside the mens club, so I think it would definitely be supported in Cincinnati.

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18 hours ago, Dilbert said:

Some minor soccer news over the past couple of days

 

El Paso USL Championship club unveils branding as El Paso Locomotive FC

 

Although not officially unveiled yet. USL League One will have a club in Riverside, California that will be partially owned and backed by AS Roma for 2019.

 

Yesterday FC Cincinnati talked about their plans of launching their development academy, they mentioned that they plan on applying for a NWSL womens soccer club to compete in their new stadium in a few years. FC Cincinnati hosted the US womens national team last year against New Zealand in front of 30,596 at Nippert Stadium. Many of them cheering on a fan favorite Rose Lavelle, who is from Cincinnati. Many of the FC Cincinnati supporters have said that they would love to have a NWSL alongside the mens club, so I think it would definitely be supported in Cincinnati.

Even though canonically it's in San Francisco, my first thought when I saw that was about Camp Jupiter (the camp/training place for Roman demigods) in the Percy Jackson series. Yes, I'm that much of a Percy Jackson nerd.

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The USL record 10 game winning streak has been snapped but FC Cincinnati ties the USL record 22 game unbeaten streak (since May 26th) with a 0-0 draw at Pittsburgh in a defensive battle. They look to break the record next weekend in Nashville in the final game of the USL regular season. The record was set by Richmond in 2013 who went unbeaten in their first 22 games to start the season, as Cincinnati looks to go unbeaten in their final 23 to end the season.

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I know it's kind of an old story now, but what exactly is the deal with the future Chicago USL club that's supposed to build a 20K seat stadium actually in city limits? It seems like that ownership group has deep pockets. Why are they just going for USL? Is there anything preventing them from just straight up making an expansion bid for a second MLS club in Chicago? Just seems like a lot of money being spent on a second (or third) division club.

 

Unless their plan as to play the long game and exist in USL for X amount of years then make the jump. I just don't get it.

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3 hours ago, 4_tattoos said:

[W]hat exactly is the deal with the future Chicago USL club that's supposed to build a 20K seat stadium actually in city limits? It seems like that ownership group has deep pockets. Why are they just going for USL? Is there anything preventing them from just straight up making an expansion bid for a second MLS club in Chicago?

 

The 30-year stadium lease between the Village of Bridgeview, Major League Soccer, and the Chicago Fire doesn't expire until December 31, 2036. Said lease stipulates that "no Major League Soccer team in the Chicago Market Area shall play its home games in any stadium other than" Toyota Park. Further, the agreement states that "'Chicago Market Area' means the geographic region within a 75 mile radius of the Stadium".

So, not only is the Chicago Fire MLS franchise contractually obligated to play its home matches at Toyota Park (soon to be renamed SeatGeek Stadium) through the end of 2036, but any other Major League Soccer team operating within a 75 mile radius of Toyota Park - such as a potential MLS expansion franchise for Chicago - would also be contractually obligated to play its home matches at the stadium in Bridgeview through December 31, 2036.

And in case you're wondering whether Major League Soccer might try to get around the provisions of the lease by contracting the Fire and launching a replacement franchise in the Chicago market under the stewardship of a new investor/operator (something akin to the Chivas USA / LAFC scenario), consider that the current lease states "If the Fire ceases operations, any Major League Soccer team organized by MLS during the Term to play in the Chicago Market Area (excluding away games) shall play its home games in the Stadium in accordance with the terms of this Agreement".

In fact, even if the Fire were to cease to operate as a Major League Soccer franchise, but still operated as a pro soccer team under the auspices of another organization, the terms of the current lease would require the club to play its home matches at Toyota Park. According to the pertinent clause in the lease, "In the event that the Fire disaffiliates from Major League Soccer but continues to operate as a professional soccer team, Operator shall cause the Fire to play all of its Fire Home Games in the Stadium."          

Finally, should MLS or Fire ownership decide to simply throw caution to the wind, breach their contractual obligations, and dare the Village of Bridgeview to seek legal remedy, the lease stipulates, "in the event of a material breach or threatened material breach by a party hereto of any of its agreements or obligations hereunder, the other parties shall have the right to seek injunctive relief and specific performance. In the event such relief is sought by an injured party, the other parties specifically waive their right in any litigation on account thereof to assert a factual or legal defense that the injured party would not be irreparably harmed or damaged thereby and that monetary compensation would be adequate relief. And the terms of the lease grant an injured party the right to "file suit for a temporary injunction to maintain the status quo". In other words, if the Fire's investor/operator or Major League Soccer attempt to move the team out of Toyota Park before January of 2037, or agree to allow another MLS franchise to operate in the Chicago Market Area in a stadium other than Toyota Park prior to January of 2037, not only is Bridgeview entitled to obtain an injunction, they can obtain an order forcing the Chicago Fire and/or Major League Soccer to perform under the terms of the lease... and the Chicago Fire and MLS waive any defense that attempts to claim that paying monetary damages would be sufficient to resolve the matter.

Bottom line? The Village of Bridgeview's lawyers negotiated one hell of a stadium lease... and both Major League Soccer and the investor/operators of the Chicago Fire have signed off on it. As a result, the pro soccer franchise that Tom Ricketts and Sterling Bay are hoping to bring to a 20,000-seat soccer-specific stadium in the Lincoln Yards development on the Chicago River is going to be competing in the United Soccer League... for a good long while.           

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Jesus Chris, Bridgeview, IL has way better lawyers than most any other major league city. Good for Bridgeview, but terrible for Chicago. The city deserves big league soccer and it's a damn shame they won't get it for nearly 20 years.

 

The MLS 2.0 era of soccer specific stadiums in weird suburbs made sense at the time, but the decision hasn't aged very well. And it's only been about a decade.

 

--

 

In other news, Seattle walloped Houston tonight 4-1, and have won 11 out of 13.

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Good Lord!!! So a second MLS team in Chicago is pretty much a no go until were all DEAD. ? 

 

Looking forward to the possible Timbers-Sounders first round match up. 

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19 minutes ago, Brian in Boston said:

Well, it would seem that Albuquerque's new United Soccer League franchise is to be dubbed New Mexico United.

nd4HmiTl.jpg

New Mexico United website

I know that they still sneaked it in there, but it would have been nice to see the Zia Sun in a more centralized location in the crest.  Maybe too cliche?

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This is the best evaluation of the Fire's stadium lease that I've read:

 

Stadium Lease Snapshot: Bridgeview and the Chicago Fire, and the Best/Worst Stadium Lease in the U.S. (socceresq.com)

 

That analysis ends on an interesting note:

 

Quote

Given the airtight nature of this lease, short of a catastrophic event, the only way to get the Fire out of Bridgeview, AND get a MLS team in Chicago proper, is to come to an agreement with Bridgeview. In light of the financial issues that are ongoing in Bridgeview, it is certainly possible; nothing prevents the parties from mutually terminating/amending the agreement. If the price is right.

 

Ay, there's the rub.  The lease is ludicrously unbalanced in Bridgeview's favor, but the village is still losing an estimated $3 to $4 million dollars a year.  When MLS secures a new owner for the Fire, I suspect that person or group will negotiate a Bridgeview buyout as part of the transaction.

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Well damn. I guess Ricketts and Bay truly are playing the long game lol.

 

So USL Chicago will be a big fish in a small pond until 2036 won't they?

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3 hours ago, 4_tattoos said:

So USL Chicago will be a big fish in a small pond until 2036 won't they?

 

I think they know exactly what they’re doing. The entry fees into USL are a fraction of what they’d have to pay in MLS.  As are operating costs. They can have a solid anchor for their development at a reasonable cost. 

 

I’ve never believed that this was just some secret back door into mls for them. 

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I don’t see what the big deal is about Bridgeview. It’s literally next door to Chicago, a 10, 15-minute walk from MDW. Guess I have to actually be from there to understand.

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The math isn’t that hard.

 

When you have a city with a public transportation system like the L, and your stadium isn’t actually on the L, that’s a huge :censored:ing problem.

 

There’s simply no excuse for a Chicago stadium requiring both an L journey and then a shuttle bus.

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So is the Fire in Bridgeview situation different than that of Galaxy being in Carson & Red Bull being in Harrison, NJ? Prior to the existence of NYCFC and LAFC I heard way more complaints from Chicago fans regarding the Fire's stadium location than I did that of LA and NY fans.

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1 hour ago, 4_tattoos said:

So is the Fire in Bridgeview situation different than that of Galaxy being in Carson & Red Bull being in Harrison, NJ? Prior to the existence of NYCFC and LAFC I heard way more complaints from Chicago fans regarding the Fire's stadium location than I did that of LA and NY fans.

 

I can’t speak to LA, but NYC fans have been complaining about Harrison since the stadium opened. It’s always been a nightmare to get to. That’s why NYCFC was so necessary in the first place.

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It's the bus thing. Nobody wants to take a bus to the stadium. At least Harrison has a PATH stop. (Also half of the NYCFC vs RBNY split is pure cultural New Jersey angst.)

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