Further Thoughts On MLS Expansion

Further Thoughts On MLS Expansion

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On January 29, 2014
  • Features, MLS Expansion

It has been a little while since I did a full on MLS expansion post here. Ever since Orlando was awarded the 21st franchise in MLS, the expansion news hasn’t really slowed down. Several cities are beginning to show real interest, while others are getting left in the dust.

By most estimates, 22 of the 24 clubs MLS hopes to have by the end of the decade are locked up with David Beckham’s Miami group expected to follow NYCFC and Orlando City into MLS. Atlanta seems to be a sure bet for number 23, that is something that has been discussed for a while around these parts as well.

So once again, that leaves the open discussion about team number 24.

MLS commissioner Don Garber is meeting with the mayor of San Antonio today, among with the owners of the NASL Scorpions, who play at a soccer specific stadium there that can be expanded.

Other markets looking to join the expansion race:

Indianapolis: For a while I haven’t really given this new NASL team much of a chance with regards to MLS expansion. It just didn’t seem like they were that interested until now. The NASL club has not yet kicked a ball, and it has already sold more than 7,000 season tickets — more than the permanent seating at its Carroll Stadium home.  The club hopes to build an $87 million multi-purpose stadium with a capacity of 18,500 in downtown Indianapolis. Peter Wilt is behind this club, and we know he can certainly take it places.

Sacramento: The new USL-Pro expansion team announced partnerships with San Jose and Portland recently but the real news is also with their season ticket sales. The Republic FC have sold nearly 4000 season tickets with hopes to push that number to 8000.

Charlotte: Another USL team that is beginning to make some noise.  Jim McPhilliamy, managing partner of the Charlotte Hounds, is about to take ownership of the USL team there from the Charlotte Eagles. That is a good thing for soccer fans in the Queen City. He has big plans of pushing ticket sales to 8000 by 2015. Last year, the Charlotte USL side averages just under 900 fans per game, so they do have a long way to go. But with a new owner that is willing to spend, I would expect this city to make a little more noise than others. Not to mention, Charlotte would be a great link between DC and Atlanta/Orlando.