- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On September 16, 2013
- 6 Comments
- Features, MLS Expansion
Ever since Don Garber announced back in July that Major League Soccer would be expanding to 24 clubs by the end of the decade, I was flooded with various emails, tweets, texts, etc. about potential markets.
And after last week’s news that three of the four spots are spoken for – with the likelihood of them being three Southeast clubs in Miami, Orlando and Atlanta – the race for the fourth and final spot appears to be heating up with everyone throwing their names in the hat.
Earlier in the day I noticed that a grassroots effort in Louisville, Kentucky has started up. The gang there was highlighted by some local press in the city about their desire to get a MLS club. It should be noted straight away that this effort isn’t being back by any big money groups like we’re seeing in Atlanta with Arthur Blank or in Orlando with their Brazilian-led group. So don’t get worked up by the thought of MLS going to Kentucky.
What it does bring up is the amount of smaller markets hoping to be that “next Portland” team for the league. We’re seeing a lot from Sacramento these days and for good reason. They’re just a large enough market that it would make sense to go to and yet a small enough market in their own right to have that “Portland-feel” to it.
I wouldn’t get too worked up over some of these cities though as MLS moves forward in their expansion game. We’re going to see a lot of these stories. Places like Nashville, Birmingham, Cincinnati, Buffalo, and Tulsa all seem like areas that fit this mold of smaller markets that could be looking to have some group or person that wants a MLS team in their city.
If anything these will be NASL or USL cities before it is said and done. Both of those leagues are really doing a good job at identifying smaller markets that make sense from a national footprint standpoint. Like the NASL with Indiana and the USL with Sacramento.
Like I said, I wouldn’t get too worked up over hearing stories like this from time-to-time for the next couple of years. I applaud the effort in Louisville to get the grassroots movement going. But MLS already has a number of ‘smaller’ markets like Portland, Columbus, Kansas City and Salt Lake, it doesn’t mean that they don’t need another or will even go for another. The league will expand where the money is, where the stadium will be built and where the fans are. Simple as that.
(By the way: I love Louisville as a city. If you’ve ever been there you understand how nice the area is. But saying that, it is not a MLS town at all.)