Jump to content

MLS looks to San Antonio


slapshot

Recommended Posts

San Antonio poised to bring MLS team to town

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- A Major League Soccer team could come to San Antonio as early as 2006 if several conditions are met under an agreement reached this week between the league and city.

The MLS has agreed to grant San Antonio a team if an ownership group is secured, 5,000 season tickets are sold by Aug. 17 and plans are completed for construction of a training complex that includes youth soccer fields.

``As one of the country's fastest-growing and most diverse cities, MLS is convinced that San Antonio is an ideal home for a Major League Soccer club,'' MLS commissioner Don Garber said.

Garber said the 12-team league is in discussions with several possible ownership groups. As part of the agreement, the city has agreed to provide a stadium. The deal grants the team rights to all ticket sales and certain sponsorship and stadium signage sales.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whatever happened to Oklahoma City and their MLS-ready stadium in suburban Edmond? Supposedly they were next in line, especially after the success of the two exhibition games they hosted in 2003 and 2004.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never understood why a place like St. Louis, which has a long-standing soccer history, has no teams in MLS, USL-1, USL-2, or even the PDL.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whatever happened to Oklahoma City and their MLS-ready stadium in suburban Edmond?

Simple: the stadium isn't MLS-ready.

Proponents of bringing an MLS franchise to Greater Oklahoma City simply touted the fact that an existing facility on the campus of Central Oklahoma University - namely, Wantland Stadium - could be further renovated to provide the OKC area with as close to a soccer-specific stadium as the region is likely to see.

An additional obstacle to the Central Oklahoma University-led MLSOK! bid is the fact that they do not have the local investor/operator that MLS would prefer in place before granting the franchise. Oklahoma City-based Express Sports (owners of the Pacific Coast League's Oklahoma RedHawks and the Central Hockey League's Oklahoma City Blazers) pulled out of backing the venture in August of 2003.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never understood why a place like St. Louis, which has a long-standing soccer history, has no teams in MLS, USL-1, USL-2, or even the PDL.

St. Louis justifiably considers itself a "major league" market, so trying to sell a USL-1, USL-2 or PDL franchise to the sports consumer in town is going to be virtually impossible. A team in any of those circuits would be regarded as "minor league".

As for a Major League Soccer franchise, St. Louis lacks an ownership group - local or otherwise - lobbying on its behalf.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Considering the small number of MLS franchises, many "major league" markets have teams in USL-1 rather than MLS: Atlanta, Montreal, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Portland, Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver. St. Louis would fit fine amongst those.

The ownership point is truth, for certain. It just boggles me that there hasn't been any talk at all. Then again, facilities would be an issue as well--the fact that the local football stadium is a dome doesn't help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Considering the small number of MLS franchises, many "major league" markets have teams in USL-1 rather than MLS:  Atlanta, Montreal, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Portland, Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver.  St. Louis would fit fine amongst those.

Yes, but the question is whether or not there is any demand for the product in St. Louis? If there were a demand for the product, somebody would be stepping forward to serve it.

I think that St. Louis' long and storied soccer heritage actually works against a lower-level professional league coming to town. There's a "snob effect" at work that says, "Given our city's soccer heritage, we want the very best American pro soccer available... or nothing at all."

I also think that the city's soccer-supporting community has had its "nose out of joint" since Major League Soccer's decision to place a franchise in Kansas City over St. Louis. Granted, given the fact that Lamar Hunt was the owner, the team was going into Kansas City where the Hunt's have long had a sports presence. Still, the St. Louis soccer crowd perceived it as a snub.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

a couple years ago i remember the SJ Earthquakes were going to move to San Antonio.

Last season, Anschutz Entertainment Group - owner of the Earthquakes, as well as several other MLS teams - merely explored the possibility of relocating the franchise to San Antonio or selling it to another investor/operator who would. Nothing came of the talk.

Since then, a grass-roots effort aimed at finding a local, Bay Area buyer for the 'Quakes and figuring out a way to get a soccer-specific stadium funded seems to have made some headway. The result is that the Earthquakes seem to have been leap-frogged by the Kansas City Wizards in Major League Soccer's "relocation derby".

That said, nothing has been "set in stone" with regard to the future of either club. I wouldn't be surprised to see both Kansas City and San Jose stay put. I wouldn't be surprised to see both relocate. I wouldn't be surprised to see one team remain in its current location and the other move. I wouldn't be surprised to see one of the teams land in San Antonio as the club MLS places there should the city live up to its end of the Memorandum of Understanding. I wouldn't be surprised to see San Antonio get a true expansion franchise. That's the kind of "certainty" (tongue planted firmly in cheek) that one gets used to with regard to news revolving around MLS welcoming new markets to the fold.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

San Antonio has the stadium ready to go, the Alamodome. Fans out here in San Jose are extremely concerned that AEG is hoping for a bad year now that Landon Donovan was re-allocated to Los Angeles. Nearby Santa Clara says they will give the Quakes a stadium at Great America by the 49ers practice facility IF the Quakes take the Santa Clara name. So that's out of the question. Also, there is talk that the Quakes would also move up to San Francisco if a 49ers stadium is built.

There was talk yesterday about expansion on the MLS prime time game that Toronto and likely Seattle are locks for 2006. However Club America (ironically Chivas' rival in Mexico) wants a team and is rumored to put in San Antonio. Other expansion possibilities include: Toronto, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego (where Chivas should've gone), San Diego, Seattle, some have quietly mentioned Tampa Bay and/or Miami trying to get their team back.

I'll never understand how MLS just lets Chivas pick where ever they want to play.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whatever happened to Oklahoma City and their MLS-ready stadium in suburban Edmond?

Simple: the stadium isn't MLS-ready.

Proponents of bringing an MLS franchise to Greater Oklahoma City simply touted the fact that an existing facility on the campus of Central Oklahoma University - namely, Wantland Stadium - could be further renovated to provide the OKC area with as close to a soccer-specific stadium as the region is likely to see.

An additional obstacle to the Central Oklahoma University-led MLSOK! bid is the fact that they do not have the local investor/operator that MLS would prefer in place before granting the franchise. Oklahoma City-based Express Sports (owners of the Pacific Coast League's Oklahoma RedHawks and the Central Hockey League's Oklahoma City Blazers) pulled out of backing the venture in August of 2003.

Thanks for that info. I was not aware that Wantland wasn't MLS ready. I was under the impression that the recent renovations got it there.

As for St. Louis, I think you make very valid points and the lack of a quality facility is the biggest issue. If MLS was going to come to St. Louis, my guess is that Hermann Stadium, home of SLU's nationally prominent soccer program, would be expanded to meet MLS specs. Of course, because it is located in Midtown, adequate parking facilities would have to be shoehorned into an already crowded area. Once the SLU arena is completed, Hermann could probably use that facility's parking facilities and perhaps run shuttles since it would be a fairly decent hike and probably not an attractive option at night.

There has been very little, if any interest shown by St. Louis in MLS, so it's really not an issue to which anyone is giving any serious thought.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't see the Wizards moving. I think it was just Lamar Hunt being Lamar Cun......never mind. There is an effort in KC to build a soccer specific stadium in one of the KS suburbs. I think Overland Park. But nothing has been set in stone yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

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