- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On May 2, 2007
- 2 Comments
No expansion talks in a while…what is going on? Well today changed that.
NEW happenings today in the world of expansion to the great northwest for the MLS. The talks have been rapid over the past couple months over either Portland or Seattle grabbing the next expansion club for the MLS.
Today it appears that a Californian real estate developer Michael Keston has announced that he has the exclusive rights to discuss with MLS the possibility of bringing an expansion team to one of the two cities.
Portland appears to be the city that Keston is leaning towards going with but he is yet to make a final decision on which city just yet.
The big issue with this is MLS wants the team to be ready to play within two years and a stadium solution might not be ready within that time.
Say this team plays in Portland, more than likely they will use PGE Park, which is nice but isn’t fully an MLS caliber stadium in the eyes of the league’s front office. Plus the city of Portland does not want to hurt their relationships with current teams that are housed in that stadium (USL-1 Portland Timbers and Triple A baseball club the Portland Beavers). But the city, is willing to make improvements to the stadium (new field, more seating, better locker rooms…), but Keston is also looking at other stadiums in the area.
Up north in Seattle, the team would probably head to Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks (NFL) and Sounders (USL-1). Playing in a NFL stadium is good for the short term but down the road (in a matter of a couple years) in the eyes of the league office this team would need a place to call their own. The league has learned that playing in front of 10,000 in a NFL stadium looks far worse than 10,000 in a SSS.
Keston is working on these issues and hopes to announce which of the two cities he has picked within a month. Once he has a city, he will present his plans in New York at the MLS league offices in hopes to get their final approval.
Now either city is a solid choice. One has to imagine it will probably be Portland. The biggest worry is if this team and city can get a stadium in place in the near future for the team. Same goes for Seattle if that is the city picked. I have my doubts with both cities finding a solid place to build a new stadium. Both have solid temporary solutions but the long term stadium issues are too much to ignore at this point.
Both towns are great choices in my book. I’ve always wanted a city in the northwest part of the country to have a MLS club.
We know the league has said many times that they want to add three more teams by 2010. Portland and Seattle have been on that expansion list for at least the last 10 years. Its going to be one of them and not the other, I cannot see the league working in both markets just yet. Maybe 15 or 20 years down the road the league can expand to the other city that isn’t picked. That I would be fine with.
For now, my money is on Portland. Its a very underrated sports town that would work well with the league I think.