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Blank Drops Bid for 2011 Atlanta MLS Expansion Team


Brian in Boston

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Arthur Blank has withdrawn his bid to bring a Major League Soccer expansion franchise to Atlanta in time for the league's 2011 season. The fact that potential partners in the bid, including a variety of metro Atlanta government entities, couldn't commit to a plan in time for a 2011 launch was cited as a significant reason for the decision.

Reportedly, Blank hasn't ruled out trying to land a franchise to begin play in 2013.

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How long before these new MLS franchises start going under? They keep expanding and yet the MLS is still a blip on the sports landscape. I just find it ironic that a league that can't get a blip of information on ESPN which it has a contract, somehow expands it seems every year and at this rate, every couple months it seems.

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How long before these new MLS franchises start going under? They keep expanding and yet the MLS is still a blip on the sports landscape. I just find it ironic that a league that can't get a blip of information on ESPN which it has a contract, somehow expands it seems every year and at this rate, every couple months it seems.

Wait, are you talking about the MLS or the Arena Football League?

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The Silverbacks are gone? They just built that little stadium for them a couple years ago.

I'm a moderate soccer fan, but I just don't see Atlanta getting an MLS team. There isn't a big buzz for soccer when the World Cup is being played, much less the MLS.

I guess Silverbacks ownership decided to sit out the 2009 season to "assess the soccer landscape"

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How long before these new MLS franchises start going under? They keep expanding and yet the MLS is still a blip on the sports landscape. I just find it ironic that a league that can't get a blip of information on ESPN which it has a contract, somehow expands it seems every year and at this rate, every couple months it seems.

Wait, are you talking about the MLS or the Arena Football League?

The MLS is not all wine and roses. I read this this afternoon.

ESPN cancels "MLS Primetime Thursday"

From the story:

Major League Soccer is not quite ready to carry its own night on TV.

After two years of anemic ratings that started low and finished lower, ESPN executives decided to cancel the league?s regular Thursday night telecast on ESPN2 this season. In its place, ESPN2 will carry an MLS game of the week, which will air on four different nights during the season. The weekly matches will occur on Thursdays (10 times), Saturdays (eight times), Wednesdays (six times) and Fridays (three times).

?We didn?t see the kind of ratings climb we?d like to, so we?re trying something different,? said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN vice president of programming.

The decision to cancel the regular Thursday night game marks a stunning turnaround for a league that two years ago believed it was creating destination programming that would increase interest in MLS. But even the 2007 arrival of David Beckham couldn?t boost MLS ratings.

MLS games averaged a 0.2 rating and 289,000 viewers on ESPN2 in 2007. Those numbers dropped to 0.2/253,000 viewers the following year. Its highest rating during that period was Beckham?s second regular-season game in August 2007 that earned a 0.6/658,000 households.

Canceling ?MLS Primetime Thursday? is a tacit admission that MLS is not strong enough to anchor a regular prime-time slot on its own. ESPN is entering the third year of an eight-year rights deal that pays MLS $8 million annually.

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