Spinning The Expansion Wheel

Spinning The Expansion Wheel

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 18, 2007

Yes it is once again time to take a spin on the MLS Expansion Wheel. Over the past week things have been heating up on the expansion front as MLS Commissioner Don Garber has came out and spoke about various cities that are being looked at.

We all know the more recent cities that the league is heavily looking at: Las Vegas, the Pacific Northwest in either Portland or Seattle, the re-birth of the San Jose Earthquakes, and other notable mentions from Phoenix and St. Louis.

This time the Commish has decided to speak up more again about a second team in the New York market. It is no secret that the originally intended to have two teams in the Big Apple, much the same way that they put two teams in the LA market.

When the league began in 1996, Metromedia, which operated the MetroStars, was assigned the option to run a second team in the New York area. Those rights were transferred to the Anschutz Entertainment Group when it bought the MetroStars. Later on those rights were transfered to Red Bull when they bought the Metrostars. To get the rights to the second team, the league would have to pay Red Bull an fee to put a second team in the area.

In my opinion it is looking more and more like the league is going to put a second team in the Big Apple if their hopeful deal with baseball’s New York Mets (and their investors) goes through.

Garber’s latest comments on the expansion subject have been pretty much summed up like this:

“The league’s original plan always was to have two teams in New York,” Garber said. “Our goal is to have 16 teams by 2010 or ’11.”

It wouldn’t be the MLS if they didn’t push back an expansion date (got to love the 60 – 90 day quotes that we are all used to). I say the reason why Garber is now saying either 2010 or 2011 is to give the Mets and their group a little more time to get something worked out to build a stadium to house the team. It doesn’t look like they will share a stadium with the Red Bulls like Chivas does with the Galaxy. Something I think is key for a good derby in any league.

It is also looking pretty good for the league to return to San Jose next season and resume operations there again. Owner Lee Wolfe is said to be fairly close to a stadium deal with the city of San Jose. It has been reported that Wolfe is expect to ask the league to allow them to begin playing again as a club next season.

I think these two deals are fairly good for the league. We all knew the league would return to San Jose eventually and again, it was no secret that the league has always wanted a New York derby (and so do I). This all means it leave probably one western city a chance at getting a team in this round of expansion. We all know the Vegas group has been working hard to get something going, while the Pacific Northwest group is very close in picking a city (my bet is Portland).

It all makes perfect sense in the end for the league to expand in this kind of manner too. Even up the west with the east next year and have a balanced schedule again. Then in 2010 (or 2011) have the other two clubs begin play. I would assume that the league will keep 16 teams on the books for the next five to eight years once they are all up and running and then they will begin expanding once more until they probably reach about 20 clubs.

What are you thoughts on a second New York club? Good idea or bad? Plus, which cities are you hoping to get in on the MLS expansion?

  • Kenny

    It's hard to say whether or not NY should get another team. I mean, they can't even get a good turn out to their games with jsut one team.

  • Kenny

    It’s hard to say whether or not NY should get another team. I mean, they can’t even get a good turn out to their games with jsut one team.