4 Potential Cities involved in the MLS Expansion Puzzle
With the hype for Soccer growing year after year in the United States, Major League Soccer is moving towards a 28 team league by 2020. The original goal of 24 teams by 2020 looks to already be achieved with the additions of New York City and Orlando this past year, and two more additions coming this next year. However, the easy part is make the decision to expand, the hard part is selecting where to do it. Here are 4 of the front runners for the newest MLS franchise sites.
Indy Eleven, a member of the North American Soccer League has made significant progress towards establishing themselves in the soccer world. Last year the club lead the league in attendance with more than 9,000 fans per game and that number is growing. Currently there is not an MLB team to compete with in the summer making them a prime choice for expansion. The only area of concern seems to lie within the renovation plans for IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium. If Indy Eleven can verify renovation plans they could be set up for success.
Currently Austin is the largest city in the United States without a major professional sports team. Many studies have been conducted that show that Austin can support an MLS team from a financial aspect, only adding to the list of reasons as to why the MLS should go there. However, the major soccer team in Austin, the Aztex are more focused on their current ventures and have made little progress in expansion talks with the MLS.
St. Louis has been a frontrunner for an MLS team for quite sometime, however in the past year or so the MLS has taken been left out of mind as sports executives in the city are doing everything they can to assure that the St. Louis Rams do not move to Los Angeles. But, recent evidence, mainly a stadium plan debacle, shows that they are not winning that battle. On a non-professional level, St. Louis has become one of the nation’s hotbeds as more teams seem to be popping up in various leagues. So, in the event that the Rams settle into a stable location be sure to look for St. Louis in MLS news.
The Sacramento Republic has made the case for an MLS team fairly easy for the city in operational terms. The team averages more than 10,000 fans a game and has investors ready to pull the trigger for the expansion fees. At this point in the game, Sacramento is simply waiting for the okay to go ahead and begin the expansion process. The main obstacle to overcome is the building of a new stadium and that process is already in development making Sacramento as ready as ever to become the next MLS franchise.