- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 11, 2011
- 0 Comments
- Don Garber, MLS Expansion
For a while now you know I’ve been pumping New York as club number 20 down your throats nearly as much as Major League Soccer has. But now it seems there could be a twist in the story. While Commissioner Don Garber still says a second team in New York is the main candidate it seems recent comments made by him suggest the league could be pulling away from favoring New York as much as they have.
A lot still rests on how the New York Cosmos will work within the league structure.
“The Cosmos today are a very exciting re-launch of a retro brand,” Garber said. “But it’s very preliminary. We need to get further with them about how they would get capitalized, how they would fund a privately financed stadium, their view on the MLS system which requires a real committment to the single-entity concept. The best way I can describe it is that discussions are prelminary but positive.”
Now Fred Wilpon and his group could have something to say about it. From the sounds of things MLS is either just interested in the land that the Wilpons own or they want the Wilpons involved with the Cosmos re-launch in some fashion.
“I have been talking with Wilpons for a number of years,” Garber said. “These guys are deeply committed to being partners off the field and competiiors on the field. There is a real commitment to growing the sport.
“I think Wilpons fit very well with our owners in terms of who they are and their values and ehics. I don’t think whole story has been told about them. I believe they’d be a great ownership in MLS and think they have a pretty darn good site for a stadium.”
Honestly, based on how much debt the Wilpons are in right now over the whole Madoff scandal, the league would probably be wise to stay away from them as owners, no matter how good of an owner Garber believes they’ll be in the league.
For the first time in a while though Garber mentions that New York is a high priority even if it isn’t at number 20. Weird. He then threw out a boat load of cities that are interested in a team. Among the cities that Garber mentioned as possible contenders were Atlanta, San Diego, Arizona, Orlando, Las Vegas and Detroit.
“It’s possible that another market could jump in there,” Garber said in Friday’s annual media teleconference call leading up to First Kick. “If that happens, we’ll just move our efforts and our plans in New York to a later time period.”
As for Miami, his comments are pretty much in line with what I’ve been saying on here for over a year now.
“We’ll run down to Miami and Fort Lauderdale,” he said. “I would lvoe to be there. I just don’t think they have the support to be viable right now.”
A lot still needs to happen for a second club in New York and thankfully members of the media pushed Garber pretty hard today on that subject. At the end of the day fans out there have to realize that Garber and the league will ultimately do what is in the league’s best interest as far as finding that next expansion market. Obviously the league is interested in expansion beyond 20 clubs, something I’ve mentioned before will happen (I firmly believe they’ll expand to 24).
(H/T to Jeremiah Oshan over at SBNation for grabbing these quotes during the media call earlier today. He’s a life saver!)