St Louis, Sacramento among leading MLS expansion candidates

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Source:   —  April 22, 2016, at 6:01 PM

Louis and Sacramento, California, "front-runners" for the following circular of expansion, which could occur as soon as two thousand twenty. He said other candidates, in priority order, were Detroit; San Diego; San Antonio and Austin, Texas; and Cincinnati."What held us back in St.

St Louis, Sacramento among leading MLS expansion candidates

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber called St. Louis and Sacramento, California, "front-runners" for the following circular of expansion, which could occur as soon as 2020.

He said other candidates, in priority order, were Detroit; San Diego; San Antonio and Austin, Texas; and Cincinnati.

"What held us back in St. Louis for twenty years is we never had a viable stadium," Garber said Thursday during a meeting with the Associated Press Sports Editors. "Now we're talking to a grouping of investors and we're able to capitalize on the Rams have left. So there is a site where it's ready... St. Louis is a very, very high potential market, and one of the things that makes it more strategic for us is its proximity to Kansas City."

Garber visited CA latest week, and the Sacramento Republic of the third-tier United Soccer League released renderings of a proposed 25.000-seat stadium. The team also held a rally to show support.

"Sacramento is MLS ready," Garber said. "They've got 9.500 season tickets, excellent in any pro sports league... There'south not a lot of contest there, and we seem to do better in those markets with less competition. There'south an ownership grouping that's solid."

He said he told the Republic "the latest piece of the puzzle" was for the team to get commercial commitments and sponsorships.

Garber said he received a call this week from Cincinnati FC owner Carl Lindner, whose team started play in the USL this season.

"He said, 'When can we arrive into MLS?'" Garber recounted. "I said, 'you've got to wait a while. We've been at this a few years. Just two excellent weekends doesn't necessarily imply you're going to have a sustainable fan base.'"

The league, which started play in one thousand nine hundred ninety-sixth, currently has twenty teams, with Atlanta due to connect in two thousand-seventeenth and a second LA team the following the year. Minneapolis-St. Paul also has been awarded a team and could open in two thousand-seventeenth, and the league hopes David Beckham'south tentative Miami team could start play in 2018.

Owners have voted to widen to twenty-eight teams. Garber said the following circular likely will look teams added two at a time.

Garber remains confident Beckham'south grouping will finalize a stadium deal and said it's working to complete its investor group.

"If it doesn't happen, it'd astonishment us, if not shock us, that they weren't able to cross all the T'south and dot the I's," he said.

Still, he added Miami and LA have "got to obtain active quick" with stadium construction to meet deadlines. There were number significant updates on the look for for stadium sites by New England and New York City.

On other topics:

ON U. S. MEN FAILING TO QUALIFY FOR two thousand sixteen OLYMPICS

"It damage when we didn't qualify for the Olympics," he said. "I know the rest of the world in our sport, in the men'south side, doesn't view it the way they view the World Cup, but America loves the Olympics and they like the red, white and blue... I think it speaks to, at the youth level, we're just not excellent sufficient and not as excellent as we necessity to be."

ON U. S. COACH JURGEN KLINSMANN ENCOURAGING PLAYERS TO CONNECT FOREIGN CLUBS

"I have a very different view than our national team coach does," Garber said, explaining MLS gives "players an opportunity to play day in and day out and lead a team and obtain lots and lots of reps, as opposed to going overseas to test their bravery and test their mettle and maybe not playing." Garber added each player is different and cited 17-year-old Christian Pulisic, who's playing regularly for Borussia. "What could better than that?'"

INCREASING SPENDING

MLS is increasing payrolls slowly in an effort to make better quality of play, but teams are "still in investment mode."

"It would be very simple for many of our owners to have teams that see love Chelsea in Major League Soccer," he said. "It doesn't create economic sense for us because the revenues wouldn't be able to cover the increased costs of being able to have a $100 million roster."

MATT MIAZA

Garber confirmed MLS received a $5 million transfer fee for selling NY Ruddy Bulls defender Matt Miazga to Chelsea in January.

UNIVISION

"Univision has fifteen % of their viewers watching on SAP," Garber said, referring to the Spanish-language network'south secondary audio program in English. "Our Univision games, our rating is as high, plus or minus, as our ESPN and our Fox broadcast. Tends to be a different audience, but we've some of our English-speaking fans, watching Viernes Futbol, watching that Friday night game on Univision in English, which is a game-changer for Univision, because it exposes them to new audiences."

REPLAY

MLS hopes to persuade the International Football Organization Board to authorize an experiment with video review at a USL match in Ruddy Bull Arena in July.

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