Jump to content

North American Pro Soccer 2021


Brian in Boston
 Share

Recommended Posts

Feel like Phoenix makes sense as a city.  MLS doesn't seem to face the same issues in transplant cities that the big 4 leagues do as seen in Atlanta, Orlando, and likely Miami once they get a real season in.  Huge population and despite the transplant factor has shown to be a competent sports market, Coyotes aside.

 

Think Vegas would be a matter of too much too soon imo, they just got shiny new objects with VGK and the Raiders and it wouldn't shock me if they got an NBA team within the next 10 years.

 

San Diego makes sense too.  Feels like a boring option but I get it: they probably don't want to cheer on LA teams and are a big city themselves.

 

Louisville just feels like a Boise/Omaha/Tulsa level city.  Guess their location makes sense and they'd be a feel-good market.

 

I think Tampa would be a good addition too.  Florida is a huge state with a lot of growth and even though Orlando and Tampa generally root for each others' pro teams they are pretty distinct cities, with Tampa particularly being an emerging market.

 

I'd go PHX, SD, and Tampa here personally

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Phoenix makes the most sense population wise, but IMO it’s only a real gimme choice if they can link up with the Cardinals and/or D Backs to share the stadium with. It’s simply too hot during the soccer season to play outdoors, and it makes even less sense to construct an indoor stadium when a MLS team is the top tenant. The city and county is taxed to absolute death as it is for the facilities they already have. Luckily though, both Phoenix and Vegas already have fancy brand new or somewhat new indoor football stadiums. Use them for MLS, and they’ve got two expansion slots locked up pretty easily IMO. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/25/2021 at 7:10 PM, Digby said:

What markets are left that actually stand a chance of giving MLS wider relevance? Phoenix, Vegas, maybe San Diego? Don’t see Louisville happening unless there’s something about that town I’m missing, not sure the league is dying to add another Real Salt Lake.


I'm of the exact same mindset regarding Louisville as a potential Major League Soccer market. I have friends who live in the area and I've loved visiting them and exploring all that the charming city has to offer. That said, I don't realistically see MLS expanding to Louisville. Not with groups in Phoenix and Las Vegas who have expressed interest in landing teams in the league, as well as markets like Detroit and San Diego that MLS suits have eyed eagerly in the past.

Louisville City FC averaging 9,041 fans in the USL Championship and Lynn Family Stadium being built with expansion to MLS capacity standards is all well and good. Still, at the end of the day, Louisville ranks just 46th amongst U.S. Metropolitan Areas in terms of population and 49th amongst Nielsen Designated Market Areas in terms of television homes. Where does Louisville check-in amongst existing MLS markets, Sacramento, and the aforementioned expansion candidates?

U.S. Metropolitan Areas (2019 Population Estimates)
1 New York City-Newark-Jersey City - 19,216,182
2 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim - 13,214,799
3 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin - 9,458,539
4 Dallas-Fort Worth Arlington - 7,573,136
5 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland - 7,066,141
6 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria - 6,280,487
7 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach - 6,166,488
8 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington - 6,102,434
9 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta - 6,020,364
10 Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler - 4,948,203
11 Boston-Cambridge-Newton - 4,873,019
14 Detroit-Warren-Dearborn - 4,319,629
15 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue - 3,979,845
16 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington - 3,654,908
17 San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad - 3,338,330
18 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater - 3,194,831

19 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood - 2,967,239
20 St. Louis - 2,803,228
22 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia - 2,636,883
23 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford - 2,608,147
25 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro - 2,492,412
26 Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom - 2,363,730 
28 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise - 2,266,715
29 Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown - 2,227,083
30 Cincinnati - 2,221,208
31 Kansas City - 2,157,990
32 Columbus - 2,122,271
33 Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson - 2,074,537                                                                   
35 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara - 1,990,660                            
36 Nashville-Davidson-Mufreesboro-Franklin - 1,934,317             
46 Louisville/Jefferson County - 1,265,108                                  
47 Salt Lake City - 1,232,696                                                            

Nielsen Designated Market Areas (Television Homes)
1 New York - 7,452,620
2 Los Angeles - 5,735,230
3 Chicago - 3,471,560
4 Philadelphia - 2,997,360
5 Dallas-Ft. Worth - 2,962,520
6 San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose - 2,653,270
7 Atlanta - 2,648,970
8 Houston - 2,569,900
9 Washington, DC (Hagerstown) - 2,565,580
10 Boston (Manchester) - 2,489,620
11 Phoenix (Prescott) - 2,158,240
12 Seattle-Tacoma - 2,098,800
13 Tampa-St. Pete (Sarasota) - 2,035,250
14 Minneapolis-St. Paul - 1,887,390
15 Detroit - 1,862,620
16 Denver - 1,798,440
17 Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne - 1,731,360
18 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale - 1,693,450
20 Sacramento - 1,459,260
21 Portland - 1,315,470
22 Charlotte - 1,290,660
23 St. Louis - 1,239,210
25 Indianapolis - 1,182,500 
27 San Diego - 1,132,300
29 Nashville - 1,102,340
30 Salt Lake City - 1,100,260
33 Columbus - 999,300
34 Kansas City - 986,160
36 Cincinnati - 925,900 
38 Austin - 912,400
40 Las Vegas - 833,510 
49 Louisville/Jefferson County - 696,070

 
My gut tells me that if the MLS suits had their way, expansion to 32 teams would see franchises granted to Phoenix and Detroit, with either Las Vegas, San Diego, or Tampa grabbing the 32nd slot. Phoenix and Detroit strike me as being markets that the league's executives - in their heart of hearts - consider true "gets"... almost "must haves". Las Vegas intrigues them for what they perceive as its potential as an "up-and-coming" sports market. San Diego is a market that loves soccer and, perhaps just as importantly, is bereft of major pro competition for the attention and disposable income of fans beyond MLB's Padres. Tampa has a longstanding history with the sport at the pro level, is a Top 20 market in terms of population, and sits just outside the Top 10 television markets in the country. The latter is not unimportant given Major League Soccer's desire to grow the value of its TV deals. 

Louisville? Louisville represents a gamble for a major pro sports league, pure and simple. Population-wise the Louisville metro area is home to just 32,412 more residents than Major League Soccer's smallest market, while trailing the next larger market by nearly 670,000 residents. Also problematic is that the Louisville TV market isn't going to move the needle in terms of getting network executives to part with significantly more cash in Major League Soccer's next broadcast deal.

As for Sacramento, I fear that all the talk of new lead owner candidates approaching Republic FC executives and Mayor Darrell Steinberg is a combination of overstating the interest expressed in said overtures, wishful thinking, and "whistling past the graveyard". Barring an out and out miracle, MLS expansion to Sacramento appears dead.

All of this said, in the wake of the Burkle fiasco, MLS expansion to 32 teams is likely to proceed at a more measured pace. As a fan of the league, I at least hope that it will. The league can ill afford to have another expansion attempt collapse in so embarrassing a fashion. It would be far better that future expansion bids were scrutinized down to the most minute detail than to have an ill-conceived effort move forward only to go belly-up. As the adage says, "Measure twice, cut once."

Bottom line? It is all about finding the right owner (deep-pocketed and willing to invest as necessary to build a team and grow the sport), securing use of the right home facility (potentially - indeed, preferably - by building a state-of-the-art, soccer-specific stadium), and engaging in the due diligence necessary to determine whether the effort is likely to benefit the sport of soccer and its fans in the target market.  
          

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, GDAWG said:

Do the current owners of Phoenix Rising and San Diego Loyal have enough cash to pay the expansion fee?


Frankly, the reality is that both Phoenix Rising FC and San Diego Loyal SC need to attract additional investment in order to make the pursuit and acquisition of a Major League Soccer franchise worth the effort. When David Tepper - an owner with a reported net worth of $14.5 billion - is shelling out $325 million for a Major League Soccer franchise's expansion fee alone, the days of attempting to run an MLS operation on a shoestring budget are over.     

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I could see San Diego, since they've tried before / there are probably potential investors in that market / the Cali markets are sufficiently distinct while still close enough to generate rivalries. If memory serves, Tampa Bay Rowdies wanted to move up at one point but never had the financial backing to do so, which is too bad because I want this stadium to be real.

 

Read somewhere, I think the Athletic, that MLS wasn't at all bent out of shape about Sacramento collapsing because that wouldn't have been any sort of impact market. Unfortunately Louisville is probably in that boat too. We already know MLS tried their damndest to not be in Columbus anymore, and I don't think Cincy was on the radar screen except that the minor-league support levels demanded it. Maybe the new stadium will change things but I don't get the sense Louisville City is doing those numbers.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Louisville would be a gamble with it being a small market, but gambles have worked before. Gambles have worked for cities like Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, Nashville. If it wasnt for Katrina forcing the Hornets to OKC, we would never have the Thunder and that has worked well for them. Louisville like OKC would be the only pro team in town. Its only competition coming from minor league baseball and the Kentucky Derby. However its downfall could be over saturation of the local soccer market. With Columbus, Cincinnati, Nashville and Indy (USL) all nearby, it may be hard for them to draw out of market fans.

 

I would have loved to see the Rowdies move up to MLS in Tampa Bay. I was disappointed when the owner who had a bid for MLS expansion sold the team to the Rays instead, who have no interest in an MLS team.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/23/2021 at 10:36 PM, GDAWG said:

although they might need an uber rich guy to buy a piece of the team and pay the entry fee. 

Isn't this all MLS looks for in an expansion team at this point? ST Louis (with its oft mentioned and overwrought amazingly rich soccer history that would make even the Best Fans in Baseball even cringe) had to jump the hurdle a bunch of times before finding deep enough pockets to do so, then Charlotte gets an owner with DEEP pockets and they jump the line, playing in a large (outdated in the minds of NFL owners) football stadium with no regard for the "supporters' experience". (Not even going to mention the PSL thing) Let's not forget about Atlanta playing on fake grass in a dome,  NY playing on a short field lodged in a baseball diamond, NE, Chicago and how many other cities are still limping along in football stadiums despite all the pride and joy MLS revels in when describing the pure fan experience, etc. Lip service only goes so far, unless MLS continues to prove everybody wrong.

 

I'm not a MLS anti-fan, but all of this expansion feels like income they need to make it to the next big money making milestone - the inevitable upcoming post World Cup bump or the vague SuperLeague merger with the Mexican league. 

 

For all the talk of whatever a CFL/XFL merger actually entails, expansion NBA teams, expanded NFL schedules, MLS skates by on very thin ice operating like a Ponzi scheme just waiting for the next cash infusion with a future filled with delusions of grandeur.

 

I feel sorry for the soccer fans in Sacramento but am 105% sure the higher ups in MLS are salivating looking at a bunch of new cities willing to pay an even higher expansion fee. I'm sure finding the 'Green Bay Packers' of soccer isn't a priority in a major league with teams in Columbus, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Cincinnati,  Kansas City, and Portland.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, schlim said:

Really? Why? I hadn't heard that. I guess there is always hope they'll play their playoff games in Connecticut!


I only just noticed it on the MLS schedule. No idea. We’re not scheduling on the fly again this year so I’m not sure why they couldn’t work around the Yankees more easily, unless there are requirements for postponement openings or COVID protocols mean changeover takes more time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, GDAWG said:

Do the current owners of Phoenix Rising and San Diego Loyal have enough cash to pay the expansion fee?  

 

 


The founder of San Diego Loyal, Warren Smith, was also one of the founders of Sacramento Republic FC. The reason he left Republic in the first place is because he didn’t have any of the resources to actually make MLS to Sacramento a thing, and had the team pulled out from under him in a bit of a hostile takeover from the new investors who came from the Kings. 
 

 

 

So, no. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Digby said:


I only just noticed it on the MLS schedule. No idea. We’re not scheduling on the fly again this year so I’m not sure why they couldn’t work around the Yankees more easily, unless there are requirements for postponement openings or COVID protocols mean changeover takes more time.

I'm guessing pulling down and putting up additional netting may play a part too. It shouldn't be that long of a project but the Yankees might not want to keep doing that weekly or bi-weekly.

 

I'd love for San Antonio to be involved, but Austin's presence killed that off. The Spurs are less inclined to spend big money on basketball players, let alone the expansion fee to move SAFC up. And that's before upgrading Toyota Stadium or building a new park somewhere else. I'm looking forward to the first time SAFC scrimmages Austin FC though. It'll probably be more hate filled than when the broccoli visit Columbus next year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, Digby said:

Hey, at least NYCFC are playing half their home games on a proper soccer stadium this year (in New Jersey).

 

17 hours ago, schlim said:

Really? Why? I hadn't heard that. I guess there is always hope they'll play their playoff games in Connecticut!

 

7 hours ago, Digby said:


I only just noticed it on the MLS schedule. No idea. We’re not scheduling on the fly again this year so I’m not sure why they couldn’t work around the Yankees more easily, unless there are requirements for postponement openings or COVID protocols mean changeover takes more time.

 

Due in part to the ongoing scheduling complexities around COVID-19, MLS has standardized the playing windows for all teams to avoid fixture congestion throughout the season. This change is an attempt to ensure that all teams have a more equitable amount of time to rest between matches and to create a more balanced schedule where possible.

The new schedule format resulted in nine available dates at the stadium and the necessity for a secondary venue for the remainder of the home schedule; the club will play the remaining home matches at Red Bull Arena. The possibility remains to move up to two matches back to the Bronx, pending the Yankees home playoff schedule.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/26/2021 at 2:46 PM, Corvus said:

 

Looking at the list of largest urban areas in North America, Phoenix seems like the biggest one not served. Detroit-Windsor is huge population wise, but I wonder how much pull from Windsor a Detroit MLS team would get, with TFC being the Ontario team. Tampa and San Diego are big, but do they want to add more clubs in states where they already have multiple teams?

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_largest_urban_agglomerations_in_North_America

Since 2018, they've added a second LA team (third in CA), Cincinnati (second in OH), Austin (third in TX), St Louis (arguably second in MO, because despite Kansas City playing on the Kansas side of the border the majority of the city's population is in Missouri), and were planning on adding Sacramento (would be fourth in CA), so I'm certain the answer to that question is yes, as long as they feel there's a large enough potential fanbase that either doesn't cheer for an MLS team at the moment or would switch allegiances with a hometown team.

 

21 hours ago, Dilbert said:

Louisville would be a gamble with it being a small market, but gambles have worked before. Gambles have worked for cities like Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, Nashville. If it wasnt for Katrina forcing the Hornets to OKC, we would never have the Thunder and that has worked well for them. Louisville like OKC would be the only pro team in town. Its only competition coming from minor league baseball and the Kentucky Derby. However its downfall could be over saturation of the local soccer market. With Columbus, Cincinnati, Nashville and Indy (USL) all nearby, it may be hard for them to draw out of market fans.

 

I would have loved to see the Rowdies move up to MLS in Tampa Bay. I was disappointed when the owner who had a bid for MLS expansion sold the team to the Rays instead, who have no interest in an MLS team.

Tampa Bay would be a great MLS market, although Orlando (and probably Miami as well) would fight really hard to make sure it doesn't happen. My (relatively uninformed) opinion of Louisville is that they're a very "boom or bust" pick - either they'd become one of the most successful teams in all of MLS in terms of fan support or they'd completely flop.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Louisville would likely attempt to become the 32nd franchise in NBA instead of MLS when the NBA announces expansion.  If I had to guess though, the 32nd NBA team will come from Las Vegas (in an attempt by Vegas to acquire teams in all 5 major American sports leagues).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

NBA doesn't need to expand but if they do really only Seattle and Vegas are actual options.

 

The league has no shortage of mediocre markets for their stars to begrudgingly play for a handful of years before whining themselves out of town, if they are gonna water down their product further they are only going to do so for a market worth going to and Louisville ain't it.

 

Not every mid-sized city needs to have pro teams just because a few exceptions like Buffalo still exist as legacy markets

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Austin FC hatred is childish.  People who live here have nothing to do with the whole Precourt/Columbus debacle. It was poorly handled and I get the frustration.  But the "Most hated team in the MLS" nonsense makes fringe fans like myself wonder if worth getting into in the first place.  Seems like a pretentious and easily butt hurt crowd. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.