- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On May 1, 2008
- 4 Comments
I ran out of time yesterday in getting to this but felt it was necessary to post on today. It must be that time of the year already where MLS wannabe-expansion cities are all lining up with their reasons for expansion down the road. It seems like yesterday was full of the northwest (Portland) and the western part of Canada with Vancouver.
Vancouver’s situation isn’t as easy as some others out there that want to be in MLS. Some cities have stadium deals (St. Louis), others have things in place but will need to improve them (Montreal, Portland) and then there are those like Vancouver who have a lot of work to do.
The biggest hurdle is the stadium situation in Vancouver. If you are new to this whole deal I will fill you in. The USL-1 Vancouver Whitecaps and their owners have wanted to build a new stadium in downtown Vancouver on the waterfront. Things haven’t been as rosy as the renderings of the stadium however. Some people got angry over the location, the rail system near the stadium would have to get redone, and Port Authority badly wants some of the land that the owner bought to build the stadium.
Now a Senator is stepping in to help out the two sides who have been in negotiations for over a year now over the land swapping. But the thing about someone stepping in to try an resolve this issue is tougher than what it sounds like.
Vancouver is wanting to build a stadium, plus some condos. The condos would be on the land that the Port Authority currently owns that the Whitecaps need to get. Neither side is working well with the other here and honestly it doesn’t help the case for the city to get a MLS expansion bid anytime soon.
MLS wants an expansion city to have it’s own stadium or at least the ball rolling in place for a stadium to be built within a certain time frame (see Real Salt Lake, San Jose) if they don’t come into the league with a stadium in place. I bring this up because now they are thinking of using B.C. Place Stadium on an interim basis until something can get done on the waterfront stadium.
Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi said Tuesday the club is still 100 per cent committed to building a soccer-specific, natural grass stadium on the Vancouver waterfront, but would consider B.C. Place as a temporary venue if major renos are announced shortly as expected.
Look, as nice as it would be to see Vancouver in MLS, it won’t happen this way. Its either get the new stadium in place or stay where you are in the USL.
Vancouver is in a long line here of expansion hopefuls and their chances don’t sound all that great to me event with the league saying they could use B.C. place as a temporary home. We all know the league is going to cap expansion at 18 clubs and that means there is only room for two more hopefuls. Vancouver’s place in that line is just not as good as some other cities like fellow Canadian Montreal, potential front-runner St. Louis, or Portland.
I’ve said before, the league should be in a place like Vancouver but it will be a long ways down the road before it will happen. Maybe the next round of expansion after this next round of expansion for the 17th and 18th cities. If that makes any sense.