- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On August 21, 2013
- 3 Comments
- Chivas USA Relocation, Features, MLS Expansion, Sacramento Expansion
I get asked from time to time to write about relocation of a MLS team, particularly Chivas USA. Funny seeing that considering how for years the talk was always about relocating Dallas, Colorado or Kansas City. Thankfully those days are long gone and those clubs are doing well.
But these days it is all about what to do with Chivas USA.
For good reason too considering how pathetic things have gotten for that club in the Los Angeles market. They have no English broadcast partner and no visible marketing campaign going on according to those close the team. Let’s not forget that they can only seat a smaller portion fans at the StubHub Center’s and yet they still manage to not even come close to that smaller capacity (average attendance is lower than 9,000 this year). Not to mention all the off the field events that have taken place this year with that franchise.
I get the idea of relocating Chivas USA out of Southern California. Believe me, I do.
The thought of this for me today came out of an article from Sacramento, a new budding soccer market on the scene. A writer there argues that instead of going the expansion route to get into MLS by 2020, that the city should concentrate on getting an existing club to move there, with Chivas being that team.
It certainly is an interesting thought if someone has the money to buy this club. Jorge Vergara seems intent on getting at least $100 million for this club, due to it being in the LA market. Vergara saw that New York City FC went for $100 million as an expansion fee and he believes his club should earn at least that sum, if not more. Naturally everyone is calling him crazy for asking that price but his club is in the LA market so there is some value there. Seriously.
I’ve always argued that the league is better off having two clubs in LA for a rivalry-based reason. But having another California market on the list isn’t a bad idea either. Not to mention the relocation of a team to that area would also mean that the pending expansion spots could still go to a Midwest or Southeast city that wants a team too. Two birds with one stone in some ways.
I will say this, I am against relocation of a team and I know most within MLS are against it as well. But given how poorly things have gone this year for Chivas on and off the field, and how bad the ownership is with this club I am starting to think that the league would cut their losses and move them before long. If they could move them within LA they would do so first but if a good enough bid came from a town in California like Sacramento, I think they would be hard pressed not to give it serious consideration.
I’m sure most of you will say to relocate them right away. But relocation is a serious matter in sports. It is a tread lightly kind of matter. Sports leagues hate doing it, owners hate voting for it, and there are always going to be fans that are upset over it. But in this case, Chivas is certainly making it hard not to want them out of their current situation in a hurry.