- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On January 30, 2008
- 16 Comments
Sons of Ben rejoice! You will finally be getting a MLS club of your very own. A huge step in the right direction today in Philly, as the state is poised to announce an agreement to kick in $45 million to help fund a new stadium in the Chester, PA area.
It seems to me that the original MLS deadline of this week may have had something to do with this news in the first place. I think it helped get the state to push the deal into gear and get the stadium the proper funding that it needed in order to become a reality for the city and for the MLS.
Getting this money will all but clinch the expansion spot for the city, beating out St. Louis who was hoping a deal would fall through as they desperately searched for more money of their own in the form of an ownership group to assist lead man Jeff Cooper. Philly always had the right owners but didn’t have the money from the state for the stadium like St. Louis had.
Announcements for Philly on the state funding should come tomorrow if not by the end of the week. Once that happens expect the league to announce Philly as the expansion site.
But where does this news leave St. Louis?
Honestly the league still needs a team in that city and they would be foolish to not give them the proper look for the next round in a couple years. They already have a go-ahead for the stadium construction but don’t have a club to house in that stadium once it is built. The league needs to act quick on that because losing out on a stadium deal such as the one St. Louis was going to get would be a terrible thing to waste.
St. Louis could end up losing out again if the league isn’t careful in this thanks to how Miami is approaching new land in the downtown area.
Miami wants another shot at a MLS club so they can build a new downtown stadium next to the new baseball stadium for the MLB’s Marlins. But Miami won’t build the stadium unless the league awards the city an expansion club.
Unlike in St. Louis the money could very well be there for a good ownership group to fund a club.
MLS is very keen on returning to Miami in a stadium located close to Miami’s Latino population.
“The South Florida market has become very different in the past six or seven years with the influx of people from Latin America from soccer-loving countries,” said Dan Courtemanche, MLS senior vice president for marketing and communications,.
So if Miami returns, would they be the Fusion? The league still owns the trademarks to the name so it wouldn’t surprise me to see them get the name and colors back, that is if the city and its owners want that name again.
Along with Miami and St. Louis, Montreal has thrown their name in the hat for a potential site and by the time there is another round for expansion they could be able to tap in the Canadian player pool and share it with Toronto FC.
One thing is definite, New York City will remain a contender as well as the league has stated countless times how they want another club there and one to actually play in the city and not in New Jersey.
To me, once Philly gets awarded the 16th expansion club, the league must make proper decisions. All cities have their strengths and weaknesses but the league can’t fall into the traps of false promises. Miami failed before due to the club not actually being in Miami and no one in Miami caring about it. Plus, if you ask me Miami is a terrible sports market to begin with (be honest out there most southeast cities are terrible sports towns but that is another subject for another day).
Be honest and not biased here, after Philly where should the league go next? St. Louis and Miami? St. Louis and Montreal? Montreal and Miami? New York and St. Louis? New York and Miami? New York and Montreal? Somewhere else?