MLS Expansion: Beckham, Chivas and More

MLS Expansion: Beckham, Chivas and More

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On May 17, 2013
  • 2 Comments
  • Carlos Slim, Chivas USA Relocation, Chivas USA Sale, Features, MLS Expansion
Kind feel bad for these guys now. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

Kind feel bad for these guys now. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

I haven’t hopped on the MLS Expansion train in a few weeks so here it goes.

So let’s do a little recap shall we?

Orlando:

The bill in Florida for stadium money fell through a couple weeks ago. It wasn’t something that was absolutely vital for the expansion plans of this group but it certainly slowed the progress down.

Orlando City is still pushing for a stadium and will more than likely get it. My bet is that it just take a tad longer than they wanted it to in the end. Before, they would have had shovels in the ground this year but now I’m not so certain that happens.

New York:

Everything is still pushing forward as far as this one is concerned. MLS still states NY is a priority for club number 20. No new word on Manchester City’s owners being the new owners of this club yet though. We’re still in that four-to-six week period though on the stadium news and everything else it seems.

Now for some new stuff that will certainly make this fun.

David Beckham’s retirement:

Okay, we’ve always known that Becks would be able to own a MLS team or be an investor in one someday. Given his retirement from the game we can easily expect those MLS-Beckham-Expansion talks to really heat up soon. His contractual rights from his first MLS contract allow him to invest and operate an expansion side for $25 million. Given how the last expansion club (Montreal) was in the neighborhood of $40 million, you can figure he’ll exercise those rights. He wants to, and other groups will want to line up with him on it since there will be a bit of a discount involved.

The big question is where will he land with a club? Miami? Orlando even? Atlanta? Somewhere else?

We know it won’t be New York, that has always been the case from day one according to his contract.

Chivas USA pending sale?:

Naturally MLS will deny anything from this situation in Southern California but it looks like Chivas USA may be gone sometime soon in the form of either relocation, new owners, re-branding or all of the above.

MLS desperately needs to address the Red-and-White’s situation, but it must do so carefully. It is all just a matter of time before investor/operator Jorge Vergara dumps this sinking ship in LA. He already has his Mexican team for sale and we know that it is Carlos Slim, one of the world’s richest dudes, that is lined up to buy. The thing is, Slim doesn’t want the MLS outfit. Nor should he.

I’ve been hearing plenty on this and a couple of my sources say that should a sale go through on Chivas USA, they’ll be relocated. It all comes down to who would buy the team though. MLS will likely assume the ownership of the team and could even do so very soon. From there they’ll be on the look for potential buyers.

Where would they go if they get relocated out of LA? A shortlist from my sources include: Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Atlanta, Nashville and Charlotte. But don’t sleep on San Antonio or Minnesota either.

Lastly, there is Sacramento. That’s my dark horse candidate for you all. They’ve been making real strides in that city to get soccer going on the lower levels (new team starts up next year I believe). Nothing is definite on that one but just a small hunch.

I know there are talks that relocation could happen but league sources has told me before that they are committed to making a second club in LA work no matter what. I’ve been told many times before, the league does not want to relocate a club unless it is the only option.

I’ve always been vocal on relocation of this franchise. I’ve stated before that I don’t like the idea of the league losing their second club in LA but the more we get into this the more it looks like they will. Just too many cities out there that want a MLS team and that will do a better job with it than what Chivas USA has been able to do over these last few years.