“Expansion interest” in MLS, always a swell topic worthy of discussion, can usually be categorized in one of three ways:
There are what I call the “real estate dandies.” That’s where someone who needs to fill dates in a new behemoth stadium says, “MLS? Uh, yeah … let’s get us one of them soccer teams in here. How many dates a year does that cover?”
Clearly, MLS needs that like it needs a good deal on size 4 soccer balls.
Next, there are serious soccer guys who have grand designs, men or women who dote on the game and would love to add to the professional, domestic soccer community – but may not have enough financial weight to get there. That’s what we saw previously in St. Louis, where the passionate, sharp effort petered out for lack of high-level financing. (They were rich guys, just not mega-rich types MLS now prefers.)
And then we have serious expansion interest from groups that have the will and the ways. We see that right now in Orlando, and David Beckham’s expansion initiative appears to be coalescing into an increasingly serious player.
In all honesty, we don’t know enough yet about the burgeoning Sacramento efforts, other than that the region appears bullish on the idea, from the soccer community to local business leaders and even to the local press. That’s always a great place to start.
(Oh, by the way, cool bridge, guys! We wanted to show everyone a picture of it.)
And there is certainly some innovative thinking going on. This story from the Sacramento Press suggests that Sacramento abandons the idea of gaining an expansion team for now – and focusses on buying Chivas USA instead.
From a standpoint of dollars, it makes perfect sense. The logic is that purchasing the mess of a franchise that is Chivas USA would be roughly equal to the going rate for expansion fees. The difference: No waiting around. You could probably get Chivas USA as soon an adequate venue was up and running, even a temporary one.
And while it would be sad for the small-but-loyal core of Chivas USA supporters, most MLS fans would love to see the Goats in a better place, literally as well as figuratively.