Gothamite

North American Pro Soccer 2016

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Well, the Timbers are the MLS Champions for 2015, and that puts a capper on the 2015 domestic season. Time to talk about 2016!

I'll get it started: Sports Illustrated is reporting (from a reporter for the Davis Enterprise) that the NASL will announce a San Francisco franchise next year.

The North American Soccer League has accepted Ricardo Stanford-Geromel’s San Francisco-based expansion bid, and the team is expected to be announced as early as February, Evan Ream of Davis Enterprise reports.

According to the report, Stanford-Geromel’s group believes it will be able to secure a downtown stadium in San Francisco. The team will reportedly begin play in 2017.

The NASL will add two clubs in 2016 to bring their total to 13 teams. New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony’s Puerto Rico FC will join the league along with Rayo OKC in Oklahoma City, Okla.

This is huge because the NASL desperately needs a West Coast team (or at least a WST team) to maintain their DII status.

But... downtown San Francisco? Sounds excellent, but where?

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I heard Kezar Stadium, which isn't a bad idea. Thinking about the actual move isn't bad if they are run right. That's in comparison to, you know, Rayo OKC and Miami FC.

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Kezar might be a fine temporary home (transportation issues notwithstanding). But they're seemingly talking about something else and I'm curious to jnow what it could be.

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I'm not sure I'm ready to call Miami FC poorly run yet, though I'm not convinced it's a good idea. OKC? Oh, please no.

The dynamics of having a team in the city of SF proper would be quite interesting if they're able to get it off the ground. Getting out to SJ for those that live in SF is a trek, for sure.

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Either of those teams could end up being well-run. But both of them look like bad ideas.

I do think SF will take to an NASL team located in the city. That sounds like an excellent idea.

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I'll be SHOCKED if Stanford-Geromel actually manages to get a soccer-specific stadium built in downtown San Francisco. Property in the city is amongst the most expensive in the United States, the majority of said land is spoken for, and well-organized NIMBY activism against development is a given in San Francisco.

All that before we even take into account that this proposed stadium is for a franchise competing at the Division 2 level on the soccer pyramid. The list of minor-league/niche sports franchises that have withered on the vine in San Francisco (and immediately adjacent Daly City) covers everything from indoor soccer to hockey to lacrosse to soccer to football: San Francisco Fog (1 MISL season), San Francisco Spiders (1 IHL season), San Francisco Dragons (3 MLL seasons), California Victory (1 USL season), California Redwoods (1 UFL season), San Francisco Bulls (1-1/2 ECHL seasons).

Hell, even major league status for a San Francisco sports franchise is no guarantee of said team succeeding at the stadium construction game in the city. The 49ers weren't successful in their efforts to get a new stadium built in the city and ultimately ended up in Santa Clara. Meanwhile, the reigning NBA Champion Golden State Warriors are facing increased public opposition to their plans for a new arena in san Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood, with a recent poll showing that support for the project has dropped to 49% from a high of 61% in July.

A downtown San Francisco soccer-specific stadium to be built for a Division 2 franchise? I could be proven wrong, but that strikes me as "Cloud Cuckoo Land"-level fantasy on Mr. Stanford-Geromel's part.

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Indeed.

Even if by "downtown San Francisco" they actually mean "within the city limits of", that's a very small slice of a large metro area.

Is there any room left in the Candlestick Point development plans? Maybe the pier that the Warriors originally intended to build on?

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The success/failure of Miami FC (NASL team to be clear) was going to come down to the success/failure of Beckham getting a stadium. Somehow Beckham seems to have pulled a good stadium location out of his ass. They're further along than they've ever been and this is very likely to happen. Miami FC will have at least a 2 year head start, but in a fickle Miami market where the MLS team will struggle for fans, I can't see it surviving unless its a vanity project for the owners (which it might be, they've never said they wanted to build a stadium or anything)

I also still struggle with them placing a team so close to Ft. Lauderdale, a struggling franchise.

I was good with NASL expansion up until Miami. Save for original OKC and Virginia, the last 4 have been good or excellent to me. Ottawa, Indy and Jacksonville are all great, Puerto Rico should work alright. (I would argue they had better locations to go into but that's neither here nor there)

I just don't get Rayo OKC on any level. A mid level (at best) spanish team nobody in the US has heard of, invests in OKC where they have under 1% Spanish population, and plays at a High School stadium in the Suburbs? Oh and there is already a lower division team actually playing in the city in a league that is basically interchangeable with the NASL at this point. The Rayo thing is weird but if you want that La Liga money, put them almost anywhere else. Have them be in LA. Have them be in San Diego, Inland Emprie, Vegas, wherever.

San Francisco is very good. But as you've all mentioned, lets not pretend they are getting a stadium built in SF. Their best bet is to renovate Kezer Stadium someday, but why not play for a few seasons and see where you're at?

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Either of those teams could end up being well-run. But both of them look like bad ideas.

Yeah that's more how I meant it. I just don't see what the point is to oversaturate two markets for the sake of expansion fees. Miami and OKC have limited timelines just based on the neighboring teams. It's not good business.

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So $37M more is salaries over the next two seasons.

Details: http://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2015/12/09/mls-announces-37-million-investment-targeted-allocation-money-homegrown-player-funds

Is this the new TV money, the expansion fees, or some other revenue which Garber will later claim it isn't revenue so that he can still state that the league isn't profitable?

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While I think this is more rumor than confirmed truth, it looks like Minnesota might start in MLS in 2017. That would mean at least one season in a temporary site; the new St. Paul stadium isn't slated to be completed until 2018.

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While I think this is more rumor than confirmed truth, it looks like Minnesota might start in MLS in 2017. That would mean at least one season in a temporary site; the new St. Paul stadium isn't slated to be completed until 2018.

I wonder if they could play at TCF Bank Stadium? The National Sports Center is way too small, especially for the first year in the MLS.

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Yeah, Target Field is the likely answer, especially since the Pohlads are part of the MNU MLS group. TCF has fake turf with permanent gridiron lines and has cramped quarters for corner kicks. Mind you, I'm not sure what the dimensions would be like at Target.

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Probably similar to NYCFC at Yankee Stadium. And apparently NYCFC may be there at least 5 more years according to some rumors.

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Has it already been discussed that the MLS now officially looking towards expanding to 28 teams? Timeline has not yet been decided.

http://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2015/12/05/mls-announces-possible-plans-expand-league-28-teams-scheduling-updates

Sacramento is probably a lock. And then there are your usual candidates.

Locally, I'm obviously concerned with St. Louis. I would suggest that if the riverfront NFL stadium gets built, that St. Louis will itself become a virtual lock. (The ownership group has yet to be identified, but I think it's there just waiting of the NFL thing to be resolved to make it's presence known.)

With that said, I don't want the NFL stadium, and I find it increasingly unlikely that such a stadium gets built even if the Rams are forced into staying in St. Louis. My hope is that the NFL stadium never happens, and an MLS stadium plan replaces it in the same location. Hopefully that would be able to happen quickly enough to secure a team.

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Yeah, we talked about it a bit upthread. St. Louis was mentioned as a good market for the sport, but no stadium and no (established) ownership group.

We've talked about this on the NFL relocation thread, but to recap I don't see MLS moving into an NFL stadium. They don't like to do that unless there is cross-ownership, because the MLS team wouldn't get the same revenue streams. The last time they put an unaffiliated expansion franchise in an NFL stadium was the Chicago Fire in 1997. That's a very long time ago, and the MLS model has completely reversed since then.

For the past decade, an SSS has been an absolute prerequisite for an expansion side. There are only two exceptions: 1) the same owner owns the NFL team that controls the stadium; or 2) New York. Neither bodes well for St. Louis.

Replacing the failed NFL stadium with an MLS stadium? You get a team, no doubt. But building a gridiron park will, history tells us, have very little impact on MLS expansion.

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In my head, the four would be

1) Sacramento - their "no MLS no new stadium" plan is most likely the reason this 28 team format is even a thing

2) San Antonio - Spurs ownership group is buying up the failing Scorpion's stadium to push to MLS

3) St. Louis - good Midwestern soccer town with grumblings for expansion

4) Indy Eleven - probably can pull something out of their fan base and previous attempt to get a stadium.

Outside shot would be Las Vegas, Tampa Bay (rowdies owner owns the stadium and a SSS plan was in the new St Pete downtown plans), or maybe a Canadian city with a CFL ownership group.

Four divisions of 7 would be something very new to soccer

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Replacing the failed NFL stadium with an MLS stadium? You get a team, no doubt. But building a gridiron park will, history tells us, have very little impact on MLS expansion.

I'm virtually certain the MLS would accept this stadium. I think it's moot because I don't think it will ever get built, but I think they've already indicated they'd be willing to play there because it was designed for soccer and not as a football stadium that an MLS team was invited to later to play in.

But as I alluded to earlier, I'm actually afraid that St. Louis trying to move forward with this stadium is going to screw us out of getting a team by putting us in indefinite limbo.

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Well, we've gone back and forth on that in the past. I don't think Garber said anything of the sort, through he did say that he'd like a soccer-specific-stadium of his own, since St. Louis was feeling so obliging and all.

Regardless, you'll need something before MLS will come. And since I think we both agree that Peacock's Folly isn't going to be built, that will necessitate a new plan.

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