MLS Deputy Commissioner discusses expansion plans for the league

MLS Deputy Commissioner discusses expansion plans for the league

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On August 6, 2014

You have to love the MLS All-Star break. Each year outside of the game the league owners and front office folks all gather and have loads of meetings. Things that come out of those meetings usually aren’t seen right away but it is the discussions with MLS Commissioner Don Garber or his Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott that bring up loads of discussion points. They had a slew yesterday that I hope to get to here today, naturally I go towards the expansion thoughts first.

I’ve been discussing both Minnesota and Sacramento here lately as both sides have had plenty of press in the last week. Both sides have met with league officials recently, with Sacramento sending representatives to Portland for meetings this week.

“Obviously, there are a lot of really wonderful things going on in Sacramento,” Abbott said. “The market itself is a really great market. But what’s been happening with Republic has been a really good news story.”

Yesterday it was reported that league officials, including Abbott would be visiting the California capital at some point this year to explore stadium sites in the city. That right there is a very big development for the Sacramento expansion hopes.

Abbott also discussed one other market, one that has been getting some pub as of late. No I’m not talking Miami either.

“Las Vegas is a place I visited recently,” Abbott said. “There’s been a group there that has been public about their desire to bring a team and that’s a group that I’ve met with. There are people in San Antonio and Austin who have been public about interest in the league. Each one is different, but there are serious people who have serious interest in MLS.”

Naturally the two Texas cities get mentioned in there as well as the league doesn’t want to leave them out of things.

I’ve been ask lately by several people as to where I see things going for those final spots. There are still a lot of factors going on for most of these cities. Stadiums in some, ownership groups in others. I will say this, the plan for a team in Miami hasn’t changed due to David Beckham’s involvement and Chivas USA isn’t getting relocated to one of these cities. It continues to come down to an arms race of sorts here with these cities. Whichever one packages the most logical and best deal for the league will get that 24th spot. It doesn’t matter if another city deserves it more than the rest, it will just come down to what makes to most sense for the league. You have to remember the league put the deadline of 2020 to get to 24 teams. The last time I looked we still have five more seasons before that 2020 year comes up.