- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On June 7, 2011
- 1 Comments
- Apostolopoulos Family, Detroit Expansion, MLS Expansion, Silverdome
A crowd of 25,000 is expected to be at the Ford Field in Detroit for the Gold Cup match between the US and Canada tonight. While the crowd number sounds pretty good, the owners of the facility have a bigger goal in mind from hosting this big match in the Gold Cup.
According to MLive.com, Triple Sports & Entertainment, the new owners of the Silverdome, have plans to bring a Major League Soccer expansion team to the newly-resurrected facility.
Triple Sports and Entertainment, the owners of the Silverdome, have taken the next formal step toward acquiring an expansion team by submitting an application to MLS with the goal of fielding a team in the next few years. However, they will have to get in line as bringing a second franchise to the New York market is currently front and center according to MLS officials.
“We’re in discussions with the league, and we’ve met several times,” said Steve Apostolopoulos, the director of sports at the Silverdome. “There is a process that potential ownership has to follow and we’re very happy with how things are progressing.”
“MLS is aware of the interest from the Apostolopoulos family in securing an MLS team in Detroit,” MLS spokesperson Will Kuhns said in an e-mail. “The League maintains its current focus on New York as a possible home for the 20th team.”
The article also mentions that the league looks for four items in their expansion process: (1) Committed long-term ownership with deep pockets, (2) Approved plan to build a soccer-specific stadium where the team would control revenue streams such as parking and concessions, (3) A healthy media market and (4) A strong soccer fanbase.
Apparently this group in Detroit covers the first three just fine. The last item will be discovered a bit more tonight.
Of course this all still means that the Silverdome needs a little work done to it to become MLS-ready. At 80,000 seats, its far too large for a MLS team. The Apostolopoulos family still hope to renovate the Silverdome into a three-section facility. The soccer part of that would only host 30,000 fans. A pretty big number if you ask me.
I still believe Detroit is a solid market for MLS to look at though. They’ve always supported sports very well there and would do the same for MLS. I know it isn’t a sexy market but sometimes you can’t be sexy at these things. You have to be realistic. If they’re able to work out the stadium stuff and get the proper amount of fans on board then it certainly can work there.