Garber Gives New Updates On Expansion Favorites

Garber Gives New Updates On Expansion Favorites

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On February 21, 2014
  • MLS Expansion

Atlanta, Minneapolis, “Northern California”(aka Sacramento), San Diego and San Antonio. Those were the names thrown out yesterday deep in MLS commissioner Don Garber’s media call following the league’s purchase of Chivas USA.

Again, nothing new on any one city really but Garber did single two cities out more than he did the other.

Atlanta was first mentioned — Garber even using the word “bullish” — where Falcons owner Arthur Blank is heading group. Perhaps the best thing the bid has going for it is that Blank is planning to build a $1.2 billion stadium that could be reconfigured for soccer. This seems like an inevitability with Atlanta. Not an ‘if’ but a ‘when’. My guess continues to be 2017, when the new stadium is set to open in Atlanta. Though it could end up being 2018 for all we know.

The next city Garber singled out was Minneapolis.

“That opportunity is one that we’re excited about as we believe we need more teams in the Midwest,” Garber said. “I think if Minneapolis as a market can continue to show the support that they’ve had for the NASL club [Minnesota United] and if they continue to make progress on a number of different stadium opportunities, there’s a real opportunity there.”

What’s particularly interesting about this is that Minnesota United was referenced, but not the Vikings. To me, that is a good thing to hear as this group is going after a smaller stadium and not a NFL venue that will be configured for soccer.

Now this isn’t all to say that the other three cities mentioned aren’t favorites of the league right now. The league recently toured San Antonio and continue to have discussions with the group there. The San Diego mention seems interesting to me, as we haven’t really heard about a new owner stepping up in that city just yet that has the money MLS is looking for here.

  • ChrisC

    I don’t think there is any doubt who will be the 23rd team in MLS. On the heels of a new TV agreement, I believe it is evidently clear that Atlanta is next in line and I would think they would be announced it sooner rather than later. Once Atlanta is secured, that will give MLS teams in all top 10 TV markets in the US. Not only that, but they have 2 teams in the top 2 TV markets with New York and Los Angeles. MLS will keep Chivas in LA especially since you have reported the new LASC/LAFC logo patent.
    As for the 24th team: Detroit, Phoenix, and Tampa are 11-13th on the TV market rankings. I don’t think Detroit’s economy can host a team at the moment. Phoenix doesn’t look viable with Tucson FC not doing well and almost folded after it’s first year. I don’t think Tampa is viable either. I just don’t see MLS entering 3 Florida markets at the same time. Seattle, Minneapolis, Miami, Cleveland, Denver, Orlando, and Sacramento round out the Top 20. Of those only Minneapolis, Cleveland and Sacramento do not have a team. I doubt MLS puts 2 teams in Ohio and I think Sacramento might be a viable option but will ultimately lose out to Minneapolis with Minnesota FC already established and the Twins behind them, potentially bringing in a downtown stadium deal.
    This has to be (in my opinion) the most crucial year for MLS with a new TV deal and a new CBA agreement right around the corner. I hope MLS and Don Garber gets it right!
    What are your thoughts, Drew?

    • Drew

      Got to remember that Minneapolis’ Kare 11 was the #1 for Winter Olympic viewership. We like our sports up here! Come on Loons, go MLS!