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MLS Expansion List

The following cities have filed formal applications to bid for the two MLS expansion teams that will begin play in 2011:

*Atlanta (Arthur Blank)
*Miami (FC Barcelona, Marcelo Claure)
*Montreal (Saputo and Gillett families)
*Ottawa (Eugene Melnyk)
*Portland (Paulson family)
*St. Louis (Jeff Cooper group)
*Vancouver (Greg Kerfoot, Steve Nash, Jeff Mallett)

Nothing from Las Vegas or New York.

The applications will be reviewed by the league office and the expansion committee. An announcement regarding which markets will receive the next expansion clubs will take place during the fourth quarter of 2008 or the first quarter of 2009.

By Steve Goff  |  October 15, 2008; 5:06 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Comments

Are Vegas really going to go after Columbus and not expansion? What say you, Insider? :-)

Posted by: Kev | October 15, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Ok, let's toss out Atl and Ottawa.

So we have 5 real contenders for 2 (or 4) spots.

Posted by: Chris | October 15, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Arthur Blank (Home Depot) also owns the Falcons....don't discount it...

Posted by: frank | October 15, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Wont mind seeing Montreal and Portland... already have fan bases and would set up good rivalries with Seattle and Toronto.

Too bad they cant get Rochester.

Plus... it would continue to poach the USL :)

Posted by: RIP General | October 15, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Which one of those cities will build a stadium for DC United?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 15, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Why would they want Rochester?

Rochester had a VERY small window to get into MLS and it's passed.

Atlanta & Miami + Summer + Day Games = Empty Stadiums. We already have enough of that in Dallas... hell, Dallas can't draw on Spring and Fall nights with perfect weather.

Of the remaining bids, I still say Portland and St Louis are the best for MLS.

I know that the Vegas investors who have purchased part of the Crew have repeatedly said that they don't plan on moving Columbus to Vegas, but I can see it happening, even with the vast improvement in attendance in Columbus, and even if Columbus manage to win the Cup, which they won't.

Posted by: AlecW81 | October 15, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

@frank: why on earth MLS would want to grant an expansion franchise to one of the very few NFL owners whose team can't consistently sell out home games is beyond me...so I'm gonna go ahead and discount it.

Posted by: EdTheRed | October 15, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

*Atlanta - Can't help but think this is another FC Dallas in the making. Shrink rap the product and market to new batch of tweeners each year ignoring 12k attendances because you've landed 10 sellout concerts to make up your money.
*Miami - All the demographics point to success, which is why we have continually scratched our heads at the failures there. Even baseball, football, & basketball have struggled at times.
*Montreal - LOCK. Next...
*Ottawa - I sincerely believe they are being used to bait Montreal into action.
*Portland - my cinderella pick. They may get something done at the 11th hour. Strong fan base and cosmopolitan city that is usually forgotten by the country's pundits.
*St. Louis - been hanging around for too long with no action. a last minute deal would wreak unless the league needs a reason to move KC - I fear another FCD. See Atlanta.
*Vancouver - it's either these guys or Portland in my book for the 2nd spot. They've got the inside track on land, financing, and a SSS - supposedly. Good team, and, from what I understand, a good population ready to support.

Posted by: El Pichichi | October 15, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

NO: Ottawa

Close to NO: Atlanta - Great owner for sure, but does the market want it (and I mean 10,000 season tickets want it) and can the location of a stadium be somewhere that is proximate to Atlanta, not 30 miles outside so the kiddies can have 50 tournament fields.

Want to say NO: Miami - Barca is a great partner and hard to turn away from. I get the feeling that they have cultivated a relationship with MLS that they could be successful and run a club so that it could stand on its own feet rather than being the red headed step child of the corporate parent who just wants to brand in America. Miami should be a gimme market in America - but it's not. I'll pass unless I see something compelling in the next 6 months.

No reason to say NO or YES: Portland - I like the ownership group and the stadium plan. However, what is the support level going to be like and does this team have the ability to be a well capitalized contributor to MLS or a drag on the other clubs?

REALLY want to say YES: St. Louis - what a tradition of soccer in the United States - but again - is the market really screaming for the product in a mid west city that is already saturated by the NFL, MLB, NHL? Jeff Cooper has been at this awhile so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, but my guess is he needs some serious InBev backing.

YES: Canada - Vancouver and Montreal bring USL supported cities with a stadium ready/about to be ready and owners that are both well capitalized and understanding of what the product means both domestically and abroad. The markets seem to have a strong desire for the product and to me, the only big hurdle is Vancouver's stadium plan and a rule change to make Canadians and Americans count as one lump of domestic players so that you're not handicapping those clubs from the get go. If the CSA is worried about building up the Canadian National team, perhaps they need to take the pucks and the lacrosse sticks out of kids' hands.

Posted by: Virginia Blue Blood | October 15, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

AlecW81 - The Vegas group hasn't purchased anything of the Crew. Discussion continue to buy a minority share, but that's about it.

Posted by: Fid | October 15, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Barca bid for Miami is my pick...I still can't believe we don't have a club in Miami, it's a freakin futbol powerhouse.

(Ok I know we USED TO have one but still)

and besides having a deal with Barca is a big, big plus.

Posted by: ajani | October 15, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I'll probably get flamed for saying this, but MLS will grant Miami a franchise. They need somebody in the SE and Garber has mentioned this fact many times. Now they have the opportunity to have a team there with an ownership that has boat loads of cash and rep. During the Tampa/Miami days they had two ownership groups (thus splitting the market) that didn't have nearly as much rep or cash as FCB/Claure. Miami is a "tap-in". Montreal will get the other team. They have an ownership group flush with cash, a stadium (that was built to be enlarged) and a great fan base. Plus, it'd be great to have an MLS team in the French speaking market, non?! Montreal is the other "tap-in". Portland is a dark-horse candidate for sure. St. Louis is a long-shot, but Ottawa, Atlanta and Vancouver have no shot at all as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: BigWave | October 15, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

It's going to Miami. The league will see Barcelona and wet its pants.

Posted by: Hacksaw | October 15, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I think St. Louis is a sure thing this time...

http://www.stlouissoccerunited.com/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/

They have the land and support for the staduim.

They have a solid fan base for every sport...even when the teams are awful.

The area keeps producing our nations best players.

It will help KC and Chicago with a new rival.

They already have a women's team.

Posted by: St Louis | October 15, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Anywhere but Atlanta.

Posted by: Wes | October 15, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Sporting Ottawa sounds pretty cool

Posted by: andrew | October 15, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Miami - Lock
2nd spot - one of the canucks

Posted by: EBM | October 15, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I would like to play for Miami because it is close to the beach.

Posted by: Lothar Matthaeus | October 15, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

It's a shame that the St. Louis group is targeting a suburban location. It would be a lead pipe cinch if they could find a way to get a stadium built near Busch Stadium, maybe in the air rights over the railyards.

Posted by: Eric in Baltimore | October 15, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

in the interview mls president mentioned that strength of ownership, own stadium, and marketability were most important...

if we can somehow win the olympics, we can win an mls team as well

VAMOS BLANK!!!!!

Posted by: Atl | October 15, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

here's hoping for montréal. already a large fan bse, built-in rivalries with toronto (and perhaps new england), a metro-linked stadium, and an incredible, cosmopolitan city with no other major league sports during the summer. plus i need more excuses to visit that awesome place.

Posted by: hogmesh | October 15, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

As has been said, we need more specifics...but I'll take the 2 out of 7 chance for Atlanta!

Posted by: RK | October 15, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Say what you want about the Goats -- ESPN seems to think they're on the right track:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/hispanicheritage2008/news/story?id=3642048

Posted by: SportzNut21 | October 15, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

in the interview mls president mentioned that strength of ownership, own stadium, and marketability were most important...


Posted by: Atl | October 15, 2008 6:53 PM
-----------------------------------------

That's got Barca Miami written all over it

Posted by: Barca FTMFW!!!!!!!! | October 15, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

No way, no how, no Miami.

Give the other markets a chance.

Florida is a failing proposition. It has been proven again and again.

Montreal (imagine DP Thierry Henry) and Portland (Major League Soccer NEEDS the Timbers Army) should be the 2011 expansion teams and then the league needs to stop its expansion for awhile.

The dilution of the player pool and the archaic salary rules need to be addressed before Miami is even considered.

Posted by: DemonJuice | October 15, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Based on this list, I think St. Louis is in the lead. I think Miami should be as well, but it's based primarily on FC Barcelona's involvement.

Other options are Montreal, Portland and Vancouver.

I'm not a big fan of Atlanta nor Ottawa.

*Atlanta (Arthur Blank)
*Miami (FC Barcelona, Marcelo Claure)
*Montreal (Saputo and Gillett families)
*Ottawa (Eugene Melnyk)
*Portland (Paulson family)
*St. Louis (Jeff Cooper group)
*Vancouver (Greg Kerfoot, Steve Nash, Jeff Mallett)

Posted by: Anonymous | October 15, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Miami and Montreal or Vancouver

MLS won't say no to Barca and Canada is a lock. Between the two is a tough call. Vancouver would be a nice rival for Seattle and (kind of ) Toronto.

Posted by: Nogra Rover | October 15, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

I live in Mtl and have been to 80% of their games.The stadium is awesome and they always draw over 10,000.The team is still playing in the CONCACAF club tournament in which they have the most pts out of 16 teams with 2 games to go.So I think Mtl will get a spot guarenteed.

Posted by: kidbishop | October 15, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

st louis and miami

why? st louis: has what it takes, pure and simple

miami: marketing and viability of barca and claure

portland and atlanta should be next

as for canadian expansion, the CSA will finally figure out, hey, instead of dealing with MLS's foreigner limit, scheduling, roster concerns, why not make our own league?

at least i hope so, and toronto can defect, and we can add our last round of expansion with carolina/NY2 and LV/san diego

Posted by: DCSharksFC | October 15, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Now, thoughts on the CURRENT expansion topic:

I'd lean towards Miami and either Portland or Vancouver.

Yes, I know the Fusion went tango-uniform. Yes, I know the Latino community there, while diverse, leans heavily towards Cubanos and beisbol. Yes, I know Miami fans are quite possibly the biggest front-runners in the country. I know summer in Miami is hot and sticky, and you have a distinct chance of schedule interruptions from hurricanes. But, I also believe in second chances -- look at San Jose for precedent. And, you have one of the world's top clubs prepared to invest heavily; if they're smart, they will likely study the lessons learned from Chivas GDL/Chivas USA.

Portland or Vancouver give a boost to Seattle with a built in rivalry. Vancouver also brings a Canadian derby into play for MLS. Portland would bring in a strong supporters group, and they have established infrastructure (stadium, mass transportation).

Plus, these cities would continue to maintain the east-west balance in franchises and the existing conference setup; while a single table may be desired by some, it's much easier to do when you have a smaller geographical area to cover (Germany, France, England, Spain) and don't have to worry about the effect of cross country travel.

18 teams in a two-conference, four-division setup:

New England
RBNY
Philadelphia
DCU
Miami
-----
Columbus
Chicago
Toronto
Kansas City
=====
FC Dallas
Houston
Colorado
RSL
-----
LA Galaxy
Chivas USA
San Jose
Seattle
Portland/Vancouver

Posted by: SportzNut21 | October 15, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I think it's hilarious that people are pointing to Montreal for great support, while questioning the support in Portland.

Le Impact are highly subsidized by the local government, and the vast majority of fans in the stands didn't pay $1 for a ticket.

Meanwhile, the Timbers have averaged over 9k each match to watch a team that placed LAST in USL. The Timbers Army would be on par with the best supporters groups in MLS.

As I said before, Miami? Hell no, the fans won't go.

Miami a "futbol" powerhouse? Hahahaha, on what planet?

Posted by: AlecW81 | October 15, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

lets hope that the Miami franchise will not pick a retarded name such as BarcaMiami or FCB Miami (actually that doesnt sound bad) or my all time favorite...Barcelona U-S-A...

geez..
damn Chivas USA
such a horrible name..im sorry it just is..granted they are a sister club..but come on...

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | October 15, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I just got back from Quebec City, three hours from Montreal. The Impact is receiving at least a bit of coverage in that city's papers. I wonder what sort of coverage a Montreal MLS team would receive throughout the province.

Posted by: The Jeff | October 15, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Wherever they give make it a single table damit.

Posted by: single table | October 15, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Anything but Miami please. Even Atlanta.

Posted by: Max J. | October 15, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Are Vegas really going to go after Columbus and not expansion? What say you, Insider? :-)
------------------------------

The Vegas group isn't going after a minority share of the Crew. Noorzai, the lead member of the Vegas group is heading up the Crew effort along with a group of other investors that includes some local Columbus people.

Posted by: Doug | October 15, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Following up with what The Jeff said, Toronto and Montreal could become the MLS Celtic-Rangers rivalry. Instead of Catholics vs. Protestants, it'll be Francophones vs. Anglophones... wait a minute, that's still Catholics vs. Protestants!


yes, I know there are people of both religions in each group, its a joke

Posted by: CACuzcatlan | October 15, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I know the Latino community there, while diverse, leans heavily towards Cubanos and beisbol.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | October 15, 2008 7:31 PM

Wrong again -- they don't even come out for beisbol. Ever see the "Crowds" when the DC Nats play the Fish? There are more crowded Metro trains.

Miami is a lousy sports city.

I suspect Montreal will get a team, because of the city and the ownership. However, there was a compelling point made in an earlier thread. Where will they find the Canadians to fill out the domestic roster slots? If Montreal comes into the league, MLS might have to revisit whether or not North Americans shouldn't be all be treated as domestic players on both sides of the border -- which, I believe, was the way the NASL did it. Vancouver would pose a similar problem, though I'm sure MLS would love to get Steve Nash involved.

They love them Timbers in Portland. Makes me think they're a good choice..

St. Louis, though, has a head start on all these cities, so I wouldn't rule them out.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | October 15, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

I am disappointed that the Wilpons did not submit a bid for NYC, but I guess they're waiting for the next go-around. Maybe, they took too big a financial hit in recent weeks? Or maybe they knew MLS wanted to expand to other cities first...

Posted by: Fisch Fry | October 15, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

The Barca bid is interesting making this bid better than it looks but I doubt the S. Florida area would really support a team. The immigrants there are still tied to their home country teams. Its just a relatively poor $$ market. Montreal and Vancouver offer expansion to a hungry Canadian market. A big plus for MLS.

Posted by: sbg | October 15, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

I didn't read any of the comments so sorry if I said something already said.

Miama during the summer is hotttt. Who'd want to watch a game in the heat?

Posted by: christiannn | October 15, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

IF MLS moves to a Spring-fall single table..

in Miami..

it will be...


warm.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | October 15, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

IF MLS moves to a Spring-fall single table..

in Miami..

it will be...


warm.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | October 15, 2008 11:13 PM

Excellent, optimistic point. If I had a pick a city to hop on a plane to catch a DCU road game I'd pick Miami over every city on the chopping block. Granted I'm living in the DC area...
I've never been to Miami in say July or August... Is it worse than DC? The pacific northwest in the summer is paradise.

Posted by: dadryan | October 16, 2008 12:03 AM | Report abuse

or, for the sake of argument, how about no expansion at all? given that only 3 current clubs are profitable, why expand the league? TV revenues -- small as they are -- would just be divided more ways, and the league would have to pick up two more teams' worth of salaries in exchange for...ticket sales at the two new locations. Does any team's ticket sales cover their salary and operating costs?

Since that isn't an option, I vote for Montreal and St. Louis, provided they get urban stadia. If St. Louis insists on the exurbs, replace with Portland or Vancouver.

Posted by: troy | October 16, 2008 3:50 AM | Report abuse

I say screw it - give 'em all a team

Posted by: ef | October 16, 2008 5:00 AM | Report abuse

There seems to be a theme here...people with no idea about the soccer culture in Atlanta bashing it's bid to land MLS. The fact is that 99% of you people have no idea and are basing your opinions on the fact that Atlanta has not been as visible as some of the other applicants. Not that I blame you, but the reason you have never seen Atlanta host a world class game is because there has never been an appropriate venue to do so...and that is the ONLY reason. Fault of the fans? The fans are there.

You all probably saw US qualifiers in Birmingham and friendlies in Nashville with 30k+ in attendance. What you didn't see were the dozens and dozens of charter buses and thousands of supporters from Atlanta making those trips. Something else you never heard about was a game between Honduras and Guatemala at Atlanta's dilapidated Herndon Stadium that draw 15,000 hispanics despite ZERO promotion in English speaking media.

Just because you haven't heard Atlanta and professional soccer ever mentioned in the same sentence doesn't mean there isn't a good foundation for it. And enough of the "Atlanta's a horrible sports town" or "the Silverbacks can only draw 2k fans a game" arguments. While true, there are countless examples of why MLS is different from USL and all other pro sports leagues for that matter.

Posted by: BK | October 16, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Looks like multi millionaire Bolivian Marcelo Claure and Barcelona are going to push hard for Miami.

Posted by: CheMatador | October 16, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Add St Louis and Vancouver, making either 3 by six team divisions, or 2 by nine.

All other expansion thinking should focus on MLS and the USL getting together to create a USL Premier League.

A USPL could play either as an MLS div 2 (with promotion or relegation between the leagues) or play as a parallel league that would contest a shared post season (maybe eventually with some regular season regional interleague, not needed yet).

This would protect the status of MLS, control expansion, give every viable new franchise an opportunity, and give MLS a chance to share in and build on the foundation of the USL regional and development programs.

Posted by: oz4dcu | October 16, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Have to think Miami is close to the front of the line with the backing they now have.

How many times has the MLS front office mentioned Miami even when they didn't have an ownership group? Seems to me that the league wants to be there and were just waiting for some deep pockets to make it happen.

Given that, I think it's likely to me either Miami and Montreal or Miami and Vancouver.

Portland has great fans and deserves a shot, too, but I think a lot of these decisions are being made on possible TV markets and the size of the pockets of the owners. The first one makes it difficult for Portland and the last makes it difficult for St. Louis.

I figure Atlanta is on the outside looking in at this point, having not even thought of a stadium plan yet. And Ottawa is never going to be a serious threat, I don't think. There are two much bigger cities in Canada ahead of them in line.

Posted by: scott47a | October 16, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I figure Atlanta is on the outside looking in at this point, having not even thought of a stadium plan yet.

Posted by: scott47a | October 16, 2008 12:47 PM

--------------------------------------

Huh? How ya figure? Arthur Blank and his people have been actively looking at at least two stadium locations. "Not even thought of a stadium plan yet"? Where do you get your information?

Posted by: BK | October 16, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, if I'm a big time DP where would I rather go play and live? MIAMI or (portland, st louis, ottawa, montreal, atlanta, vancouver)

hmmmm.....tha'ts a tough one, NOT

Barca Miami it is =P

Posted by: DP heaven | October 16, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I live in Atlanta, I love Atlanta. I can confirm Atlanta is a big sports town and Blank is a great owner. But I have to admit that the MLS plan I've seen is a very bad idea.

What I read didn't involve putting a team in Atlanta, it was to put a team in Kennesaw, GA which is 25 miles north of Atlanta and is entirely the wrong demographic (white, protectionist, paranoid).

If the plan was to raise the Silverbacks to MLS, I think there might be a chance. They are in a decent location with a good soccer demographic nearby and already have a stadium that could be built out. I really wish this was the situation.

Who do I like? I want to route for St. Louis but with AB getting sold I can't help but think that town is in trouble. Miami strikes me as twice bitten how many times shy? Still, if the bid's finances are really good you it would be another market that would appeal to high priced talent like LA and NY does.

I'd go with the USL cities, probably Montreal and Portland. I'm not sure if there are any issues with MLS raiding USL but those cities seem proven to me.

Posted by: DCU-ATL | October 16, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I live in Atlanta, I love Atlanta. I can confirm Atlanta is a big sports town and Blank is a great owner. But I have to admit that the MLS plan I've seen is a very bad idea.


Posted by: DCU-ATL | October 16, 2008 1:09 PM

---------------------------

Haven't seen the plan yet. Can you post a link?

Posted by: BK | October 16, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Admittedly all I have access to is the conjecture, but as reported in the AJC:

"Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank is seeking a Major League Soccer franchise. Cobb is a likely location for a proposed 20,000-seat stadium but Gwinnett County is being talked about, too. A 50-acre site under option by the Kennesaw State University Foundation would be the ideal location, said Cobb County Commission Chairman Sam Olens."

Posted by: DCU-ATL | October 16, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Here's the Miami Herald's look at FCB's MLS bid:

http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/soccer/story/727684.html

I did a bit of nosing around and it looks like Florida International's stadium holds about 23,000, and it's scheduled for ongoing upgrades to roughly 45,000. I think it's better located than Lockhart Stadium is, too.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | October 16, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

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