With the Fire off this weekend, I had a hunger for MLS news and have decided to pose a few questions about the league's apparent obsession about a "second" NYC team and other possibilities.
1) Why is the league so hell-bent on getting a team in NYC?
I just don't understand why the league wants this. Yes, I know NYC is diverse and theoretically people would go to it, but in this still struggling economy, why take a shot on an un -established club? Montreal, Portland and Seattle all prove you can take a team with a proven fanbase and transfer to MLS. Granted, I am not familiar with NASL or USL, but there has got to be a better option than materializing a team out of mid air. The Mets play in same area that they are planning to build the new stadium and this year averaged 2/3 capacity. Granted, the Mets have to compete with the Yankees, so this may be apples and oranges, but the new NYC team would have to compete with NJRB fans for attendance. The Cosmos are joining NASL, as they hope to eventually join Major League Soccer. The league have stated that they are shooting for the next expansion, I think, 2016. Are they doing this to give the Cosmos time to get established?
2) Has the league actually considered the effects of this on the rest of the league?
This move would add yet another team to the already unbalanced East. How would they resolve scheduling and playoff issues with this move? Move Houston to the West (which now that think about it would not be that bad of an idea)? Also, and this has been brought up before, how would this effect the NJRB? At the last game (which had huge playoff ramifications) it looked like the stadium was half full. This was a Saturday afternoon on what looked to be a nice day to be to out watching a soccer game. That stadium should have been packed. How many NJRB fans are from NYC? Granted, the hardcore fans will not change allegiances simply because a team is closer, but we all know the Fire could not survive on Section 8 ticket sales. The Red Bulls will likely lose fans that it seems they cannot afford to lose. Seemingly low ticket sales, three DP's and no silverware. Could NY2 be the death knell for NJRB? Maybe this is the league's penchant for trying to manufacture rivalry's taken to a whole new level, but creating a team so NJRB has an instant rival? Come on.
3) What about other proposals?
I have read of several other cities trying to lock up the 20th slot. This seems to be in vain, but there are still proposals.
- Miami and Orlando - I do not believe this is a good idea. The Mutiny and the Fusion both folded after the league was originally founded. This was in a better economy and I find it hard to believe there would be a better result
- Detroit - I read that there was a plan for the Silverdome to make it two levels with the second level soccer field open and other facilities underneath. Cool idea, but is there a fanbase for it? The Bucks can't break 1,000 average attendance according to Wikipedia. However, I don't know if this is limited by their facilities though, which we found out are awful.
- Minneapolis–Saint Paul - Interesting idea, the Vikings have exclusive rights for MLS in their new stadium. Seattle has proved that an NFL franchise can run a MLS team, and it would give us another decent bus ride for away trips. Personally, I would like another Midwestern franchise. However their attendance numbers are low, but on the rise this year.
- Atlanta - MLS has said they want to expand to the Southeast, but I don't know any details. The Silverbacks might play into it, but I don't know.
- Carolina's - Another Southeast option, with the Rail-Hawks being the local team. Again, I don't know details.
- San Diego - Instead of a new team, I have read comments somewhere about moving Chivas USA to San Diego. I like this, it would hopefully end the fake Clasico, not to mention give them their own stadium.
- St Louis - I had read that there was an expansion bid in progress, but have also read that AC St Louis and Saint Louis Athletica folded within two seasons of forming, so maybe the fan base just isn't there.
Personally, I'm glad that there's no immediate plans for expansion. Our roster has enough turnover as it is without another expansion draft.