Expansion Talk – Vegas and San Diego Style

Expansion Talk – Vegas and San Diego Style

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On May 9, 2007

I honestly didn’t expect much expansion talk this week but I was proven wrong yet again. Should have thought better since we are quickly coming to that time of the year before the all-star break where the league sits down and decides where to go next. I would guess in the next month or so we will hear something either way.

But for today we are treated with two new cities, one that I haven’t talked about in years and the other that I really could never see happening.

First in San Diego, a town that the league has had an all-star game in before is looking to get their name back in the expansion hat. Developers are pushing to build a professional soccer stadium in San Ysidro, thus getting an expansion side in San Diego.

The developers — Corey Barnette, a Washington, D.C.-based businessman and Fred McDonald of Michigan — are pursuing a new soccer team’s franchise rights from the MLS, and have discussed building a 30,000-seat stadium on land currently owned by San Ysidro School District. Wow, 30,000-seat stadium! For an expansion side!

This group has tried before at getting a MLS team, they failed a year or so ago at getting DC United.

I have always though San Diego was an idea for the MLS. Now this is a long term shot for a team. Possibly 10-15 years down the road I believe but this is a city the league does need to look at.

The other option for the MLS is a city that really has no shot in my eyes to get is Las Vegas.

I have to say that I was shocked by seeing Vegas on here for this. But to their credit they want a team and they want one in the next couple years, not 10 to 15 or even 30 years down the road, like a team by 2010.

Mark Noorzai is leading the Las Vegas Sports & Entertainment Group has been negotiating with MLS owners and Commissioner Don Garber for three months, during which Noorzai has made 10 trips to Las Vegas to involve local soccer officials and explore land options.

The stadium idea is probably one that people will either love or hate. The sports group hopes to build a high-tech, state-of-the-art stadium with a retractable roof that will be linked with a casino. Its Vegas baby, I wouldn’t expect anything less than something linked to a casino.

Former U.S. national team defender and Hall of Famer Paul Caligiuri serves as the sports group’s main spokesman and would play a major role in the soccer operations of Las Vegas Football Club. Interesting, but I really wonder if the club can meet the league’s expectations for ticket sales by having Caligiuri as their spokesman.

The article says that the league will be announcing the next expansion site in October (around MLS Cup as usual) and that this city could be it.

I honestly don’t know if Vegas is the right idea for the league. Sure the city has no competition with other professional teams but is it the right town for the league?  I think this is a long shot really but you never really know what to think with this league.