- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On January 22, 2008
- 2 Comments
Sometimes MLS Commissioner Don Garber is a sneaky guy with his words. Last week at the MLS SuperDraft the ol’ Commish threw out a nugget of information that will greatly impact a number of hopeful expansion cities.
“Both Philadelphia and St. Louis are making progress in their plans, and one of them will be our 16th team…”
“If Philadelphia is able to finalize their plan, they have been leading the charge and have a step ahead of St. Louis.”
This simply eliminates potential sites like Miami, Montreal, and Portland no matter what they are able to come up with in the new few weeks in their own stadium plans. And for Philly it pretty much all but gives them the expansion bid if they get everything that the need.
Best of all the so-called deadline that the Commish put on this expansion has been extended by a month or two.
Organizers in Philly have strong ownership, but no deal to build a stadium. St. Louis has a stadium deal, but lacks what the league considers a sufficient number of wealthy investors.
With the league giving each city a few more weeks to work with was smart. I think they know they have to get at least one of them in this round of expansion because it would be silly to go to another unbalanced schedule next year with only 15 clubs in the league.
Philly has been led by an investment group that includes iStar Financial chief executive officer Jay Sugarman, Wilmington developers Christopher and Robert Buccini, and James Nevels, chairman of the Swarthmore Group financial advisers.
Delaware County officials have agreed to contribute $30 million toward construction. The investors say they need $45 million from the state to proceed, which as of last week should come soon after the Governor Pennsylvania said the money would come.
I think we will be seeing Philly in the league soon enough. I know some people out there will be upset that the league won’t even consider their town’s for this round even if there are deals in place. Listen, as good as some other city’s stadium deals sound, the league wants either St. Louis or Philly right now. It is as simple as that.
Montreal, Miami, New York (2), Portland, and everyone else will just have to wait.
The thing is, the loser in this round will have to be the biggest front-runner for the next round and to me the league will have to place a club there no matter what the other deals are out there.