Jump to content

FC Barcelona launches MLS bid in Miami


-kj

Recommended Posts

From Barca's website:

New push for Barça presence in the USA

FC Barcelona will be presenting in New York a new project to become the co-proprietors of one of the new MLS (Mayor League Soccer) franchises that are to be created for the 2010 season.

----

Interesting. MLS's deadline for applications for two 2011 expansion teams is tomorrow, October 15. Portland's the only other official bid I've heard, though Montreal, Vancouver, St. Louis, and potentially Las Vegas are expected to be involved as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting. On one hand, having a globally recognized brand like Barca involved in MLS would help to familiarize some American fans who prefer the European product to the domestic league and may help to legitimize MLS. On the other, it might hurt the ability of MLS to establish its own identity and position itself as a truly top-level league. I know many fans think of Chivas USA as a sort of minor league club for its Mexican parent team, and I worry that FC Barcelona getting involved in a similar manner may actually encourage the perception that MLS is a minor league.

I'm very excited to see what other cities will put forth official bids for expansion franchises. If Montreal or Vancouver are able to support teams in the same manner that Toronto does, it would help stabilize MLS. I worry, though, that putting too many teams in Canadian cities might unintentionally reinforce the idea that soccer, like hockey, is a sport for Canadian and European people and actually hurt its ability to continue its growth in the United States. Portland seems like an excellent spot for a team, especially considering that Seattle will be joining the league soon. With the Sonics gone, MLS has the opportunity to be the principle sporting rivalry between the two cities. Miami seems like a a perfect fit for the league, but the market has already failed once. That was largely due to a bad stadium though, and any new team there would be required to have a facility in which it could thrive.

I look forward to Philly's entrance into the league. They had the most active supporters' club in MLS before they even got a team and have already sold all of the luxury suites in a stadium that hasn't been built yet. ^_^ Hopefully that team's fan base can help revitalize RBNY's fans as well. While I admit to a bit of homerism, it's tough to argue that a well-supported New York team wouldn't be good for the league as a whole.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would hope that Red Bull Arena, whenever that finally gets finished, would help revitalize RBNY. Actually being on transit will help. So will the sheer awesomeness of the place, if it turns out the same as the renderings.

Miami also had a bad owner back in those days, but I'm as skeptical as you are. And, I agree, I don't like the idea of MLS teams being seen as feeder teams or clubs elsewhere. If Barca could incorporate its identity (really, the stripes) while still creating something unique for Miami (and not putting Barcelona in the team name), it could work.

I'm beginning to think Jeff Cooper's group in isn't going to end up submitting a bid, effectively ending the attempt at getting an MLS team in St. Louis. Bah.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am glad to see this...Barca investing helps recognition and expansion of the MLS. The only thing that bothers me about any expansion talk is that Las Vegas keeps popping up. No team in any league should ever be there when there are more deserving cities...in the case of the MLS...Portland, Vancouver, Montreal, St. Louis, Phoenix, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your love affair with St. Louis aside, I do think St. Louis would be a good spot for a team. The city is huge on soccer participation. Another rival for soccer-mad Chicago as well as an obvious antagonist for the embarrassment that is Kansas City would be good for the Midwest.

I wonder why Phoenix hasn't presented itself as a candidate for expansion yet. :therock: One of the nation's largest cities with an exceptionally large Hispanic population and another very large group of young people would be a perfect landing spot for an MLS team. The rapid population growth of the metro area along with its perception as one of America's "cooler" cities also seem to make it a prime target for growth. In addition, the success of teams in Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, and Denver has shown that the Southwest is ready and able to support MLS. With Glendale dying to portray itself as a real place (they're still a suburb, no matter what they say) I doubt that MLS would have any difficulty securing some public funding for a soccer-specific stadium. Thoughts?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder why Phoenix hasn't presented itself as a candidate for expansion yet. :therock: One of the nation's largest cities with an exceptionally large Hispanic population and another very large group of young people would be a perfect landing spot for an MLS team. The rapid population growth of the metro area along with its perception as one of America's "cooler" cities also seem to make it a prime target for growth. In addition, the success of teams in Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, and Denver has shown that the Southwest is ready and able to support MLS. With Glendale dying to portray itself as a real place (they're still a suburb, no matter what they say) I doubt that MLS would have any difficulty securing some public funding for a soccer-specific stadium. Thoughts?

I've wondered this myself. In fact when Chivas USA was first announced as a franchise, they hadn't announced their home city yet, and I was fully expecting it to be either Phoenix or Houston, not a second team in L.A.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've wondered this myself. In fact when Chivas USA was first announced as a franchise, they hadn't announced their home city yet, and I was fully expecting it to be either Phoenix or Houston, not a second team in L.A.

Agreed. I still don't see the value in giving MLS its own version of the Clippers before expanding to places like Philly, Houston, Toronto, or Phoenix.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whoooooooooooooo!!! Alright FCB!

A few things from a South Florida perspective in defense of MLS Miami:

1. The Fusion played an hour away from Miami(the market MLS really wanted) in Fort Lauderdale, a discouraging, often expensive drive for fans through the worst drivers in the country to a HS stadium(I know, I go the other way to Miami FC games). The owner wasn't committed enough to soccer, and didn't make a profit so he and the league bailed. The league and owner failed Miami, not the other way around.

2. Barca won't alienate nearly as many fans, if any, as Chivas does. The vast majority of soccer fans in South Florida are from Latin America and the Caribbean. Barca is not a hated rival to 80% of the population like Chivas is to the non-Guadalajara Mexican fans in L.A.

3. Barca(as well as the local group headed by Claure) will bring the dedicated, solid ownership that the Fusion never had. They plan to build a new SSS at the OB or somewhere else downtown within the first few years.

4. FIU stadium is brand new, will seat 20,000 in 2011, and will be rent free for the MLS tenant. Sweet deal for a temporary home. Also, it is believed Miami FC will play there for the remainder of their time here, so it will give fans, and the stadium crew, a chance to get familiar with the venue and how to get there.

5. I doubt the name will be "Barca USA" or anything silly like that. I see FCB pushing their brand in terms of the look of the team and through advertising. My suggestion: FC Miami with a similar crest/colors to Barca(see sig).

Overall, now that the bid is official, you have to put Miami in the top 4 at least. MLS has a severe lack of influence in the Southeast and a Miami team would reach the entire state of Florida on FSN. Miami is the 4th largest metro area in the country, has a soccer crazy immigrant population, and now a rock solid ownership group. Popular to common belief everywhere else, Miami is a great sports town. The only time it looks bad is when the teams do it to themselves with firesales and bad stadiums(Marlins, soon to be a thing of the past), horrible coaching and personnel decisions(Dolphins) and poor on field performance(Panthers of late). The Heat are really the only team with a sparkling record, but overall good support has always been there, even for the Fusion. They had better attendance numbers than Tampa Bay and Kansas City their last year, and they were being embraced by fans and the local media(thanks to awesomely quotable manager Ray Hudson). MLS, in MIAMI, will succeed for sure. It's location will draw players to want to come and play here, the fans will turn out, it will be great.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't get me wrong, I do support Miami as a destination for an MLS team. A huge city with a vibrant population, Miami is an excellent spot for MLS to target. Many of the same arguments that I gave in favor of Phoenix apply here as well. A large Hispanic population, excellent core of young people, a proven sports market (sort of...), and a perception as a "cool" city will all help the league.

It has to be handled correctly, though. Miami fans have proven that they are fickle, whether local fans like that or not. Even in the Marlins' World Series year of 2003, the team averaged only 16,000 fans. I know that this is in part due to ownership and the facility, but fans are going to have to start attending games before that team is forced to move elsewhere. I think it can work, it just has to be handled correctly.

I'm still torn on the proposed ownership, though. I know that Barca would be very helpful in quickly and effectively establishing a team in Miami, but I don't like the idea of continuing to tie top-level American teams to foreign clubs, whether by complete association (Chivas USA), name (Real Salt Lake), or appearance (fishheatcats' proposed crest for FC Miami). I think in order to be taken seriously by both casual fans and soccer diehards, the league needs to establish itself as unique. I'm a Chelsea fan, but I wouldn't want an MLS team to wear the same kit or design its crest to match the Blues'.

And for the love of Pele, Kansas City needs a new name and logo. Or a new city. And then a new name and logo. New England, too. They can keep their team, but getting a real crest and ditching the pencil drawing would be a good thing. I don't know how either of those designs has survived this long when the rest of the league has made huge strides in its visual identity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't get me wrong, I do support Miami as a destination for an MLS team. A huge city with a vibrant population, Miami is an excellent spot for MLS to target. Many of the same arguments that I gave in favor of Phoenix apply here as well. A large Hispanic population, excellent core of young people, a proven sports market (sort of...), and a perception as a "cool" city will all help the league.

It has to be handled correctly, though. Miami fans have proven that they are fickle, whether local fans like that or not. Even in the Marlins' World Series year of 2003, the team averaged only 16,000 fans. I know that this is in part due to ownership and the facility, but fans are going to have to start attending games before that team is forced to move elsewhere. I think it can work, it just has to be handled correctly.

I'm still torn on the proposed ownership, though. I know that Barca would be very helpful in quickly and effectively establishing a team in Miami, but I don't like the idea of continuing to tie top-level American teams to foreign clubs, whether by complete association (Chivas USA), name (Real Salt Lake), or appearance (fishheatcats' proposed crest for FC Miami). I think in order to be taken seriously by both casual fans and soccer diehards, the league needs to establish itself as unique. I'm a Chelsea fan, but I wouldn't want an MLS team to wear the same kit or design its crest to match the Blues'.

And for the love of Pele, Kansas City needs a new name and logo. Or a new city. And then a new name and logo. New England, too. They can keep their team, but getting a real crest and ditching the pencil drawing would be a good thing. I don't know how either of those designs has survived this long when the rest of the league has made huge strides in its visual identity.

Hey, I don't like foreign clubs being involved anymore than than anybody else. However, since FCB has shown the interest and put forth the effort to bring MLS back to South Florida, I'll take it. As long as the name is not goofy I'm down with them being part or even full owners. Real Salt Lake is goofy. Chivas USA is even goofier. However "FC Barcelona Miami" or "Barça USA" would be way out in flat-out ridiculous town. Those two don't specifically mention the name of another city from a different country in their name. I think through a simple sharing of colors and maybe crest, coupled with strong advertising and marketing of FCB as well as the Miami club, they can get the brand exposure they want, without having announcers say "goal for Barça Miami!" every time they score.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Riding a high after winning the USL Championship, expect the Vancouver Whitecaps to push hard for the 2011 season in MLS. They do NOT want to lose the rivalry with Seattle, and the head of MLS has, apparently, been in town a few times over the past couple of weeks to meet with city and team officials.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Riding a high after winning the USL Championship, expect the Vancouver Whitecaps to push hard for the 2011 season in MLS. They do NOT want to lose the rivalry with Seattle, and the head of MLS has, apparently, been in town a few times over the past couple of weeks to meet with city and team officials.

I assume Vancouver would be competing primarily with Portland for that spot, as I doubt the league would add three expansion teams so close to each other while ignoring the rest of the continent. I'm also guessing that they're in direct competition with Montreal and Ottawa, as I doubt that that MLS wants to add two Canadian teams in one shot. Not any knock on Canada from me, I just think it's the reality of the situation. Both of those competing factors may ultimately make it much more difficult for Vancouver to secure a spot in the league.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting that Phoenix was brought up. There's a lot of talk--though it's yet to be determined how much action is behind the talk--that Pachuca CF of Mexico is considering creating a team in USL-1, perhaps with a future eye towards MLS. Phoenix, San Antonio, and San Francisco are the cities they're said to be considering, with Phoenix rumored to be the leading candidate. Were it to happen, it could come as soon as 2009.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From what I've read here is that the following locations will be considered:

- A 2nd New York team

- Atlanta (owned by Falcons owner Arthur Blank link)

- Miami (Barca)

- St. Louis

- Montreal

- Vancouver

- Ottawa

I'm no soccer fan, and only occasionally get interested in the league set-up of MLS, but from casually following possible expansion, it seems to make sense for St. Louis, not only because of the soccer craze up there, but also, they're not really hitting the Midwest much with expansion teams. It seems they've all been on one of the coasts and a few in the south (and north with Toronto). Why not add another to the heart of the country?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Riding a high after winning the USL Championship, expect the Vancouver Whitecaps to push hard for the 2011 season in MLS. They do NOT want to lose the rivalry with Seattle, and the head of MLS has, apparently, been in town a few times over the past couple of weeks to meet with city and team officials.

I assume Vancouver would be competing primarily with Portland for that spot, as I doubt the league would add three expansion teams so close to each other while ignoring the rest of the continent. I'm also guessing that they're in direct competition with Montreal and Ottawa, as I doubt that that MLS wants to add two Canadian teams in one shot. Not any knock on Canada from me, I just think it's the reality of the situation. Both of those competing factors may ultimately make it much more difficult for Vancouver to secure a spot in the league.

Normally, I would be against adding so many teams in one part of the country in such a short period of time. But the Portland/Seattle/Vancouver soccer rivalry has been around for almost three decades and has been more stable than the state of top flight soccer in (the upper 2/3rds of) North America itself. MLS would be smart to get all three of those cities on board as quickly as possible.

But this is MLS we're talking about. If they actually cared about stable fan bases, they'd have found a way to accommodate Milwaukee and St. Louis by now...

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.