We have an MLS Expansion update for Nashville, Tennessee, Miami, Florida, Cincinnati, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan and LAFC.
If you aren’t aware, I’m somewhat obsessed with the idea of MLS Expansion. This is partly because the major expansion in MLB, NFL and the NBA all happened either when I was very young or not yet alive.
The other thing is the idea that Sporting Kansas City could finally get a cross-state rival in St Louis. If you are interested in St Louis MLS Expansion, your best bet is still news from three weeks ago. Otherwise, we have a few updates below.
David Beckham and his ownership group have been in process of getting an MLS team for now over two years. There was optimism that things were finally moving in the right direction. Word is now that there are bumps in the road. Miami-Dade County and Beckham’s group got clogged up based on some terms. Despite the slow down, Beckham’s group issued a statement to the Miami Herald stating:
“We expect to reach an agreement with the County soon, at which point our team will enter the public [land-use and zoning] process en route to developing our privately financed MLS stadium in Overtown.”
It sounds like this is more of a technicality than anything that will stop this project from moving forward. The Herald also reported that a recent poll shows that 57 percent of respondents are in favor of the prospected Overton neighborhood. It sounds like things are moving forward.
MLSSoccer.com had an interesting piece on if Cincinnati is the new Orlando City. Getting the leagues website writing articles like this about your club has to increase your odds of gaining expansion. Cincinnati have essentially pushed their way into the conversation based on their amazing attendance. The broke their own USL attendance record this past weekend by bringing 23,375 fans to their game against Pittsburgh.
To give you an idea how impressive that is, the average attendance in the league was 3,369 in 2015. Cincinnati are averaging 17,462 four games into the 2016 season. For comparison, the second best team in 2016 is Sacramento Republic FC, which are averaging 11,569. Sacramento are thought to be a lock to be the 25th expansion team after Miami. The key will be to see if they can keep up this pace over the years they’ll have to wait to gain expansion.
Detroit surprised nearly everyone when they suddenly emerged as a potential expansion location a few weeks ago. Now word is that expansion is contingent on getting the exact location MLS wants. It looks like they want to build on a failed jail site. Everything appears to hinge on if Wayne County wants to restart construction or sell that land to the new ownership group.
I personally feel like Detroit may be getting used by MLS. Although they would be the 7th largest media market in MLS, Detroit is saturated with professional sports as they have a NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL team already.
Los Angeles, California
It’s no secret that LAFC are entering into MLS, though there is some question as to when. It seems like 2018 is the date most people are set on, which could set the stage for up to four teams (Atlanta, Minnesota, LAFC and Miami) to all join between 2017 and 2018. LAFC fans received good news when it was announced construction has been approved for their stadium location.
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As a part of that approval, LAFC also released some new renders of the stadium. I have to say it does look quite good and much like their cross town rivals, the LA Galaxy, they are sure to draw some stars to their club.
Pro soccer looks to be coming to Nashville, but it likely won’t be MLS. Currently the USL and NASL are eyeing Nashville as a potential location for an expansion club. The reason I mention them here is that many of the teams that come into MLS start in a lower league. It shows MLS if there is support for a club before committing to bring expansion to an area. Expansion for Nashville will likely be a long shot, but there is always the chance that MLS could decide to go up to 30 or 32 teams.