We’ve spoken in the past about the impact and overall effect that expansion teams have on Major League Soccer, and even just in the last few days we’ve been questioning how much further it can go. A series of different markets are sniffing around with the hope of landing an MLS team in the not so distant future, and following an announcement by the league yesterday, it seems like some of them may not be too far away from making that a reality.
As reported by ESPN.com, the intention is for the league to expand to at least 30 teams – with the 28th and 29th teams being set for an expansion fee of $200 million. This was announced by Don Garber, the commissioner, in the wake of a Board of Governors meeting. We were expecting news of some kind, but it’s fair to say that this revelation has certainly rocked the boat.
Some folks may argue that this isn’t really that big of a deal, mainly because it already seems like we’re well on our way to 30 as it is. There are currently 24 franchises officially plying their trade in the MLS on a week to week basis, but before you know it, that will quickly expand to 28. In the next few years we’re set to see Austin, Nashville and Miami enter the conversation, with the latter being led by none other than David Beckham.
There are bound to be a few questions that are raised in the immediate aftermath of this news, and we’d be concerned if there wasn’t, to be perfectly honest – because there’s good and bad that comes with this. The bad news for current teams is that things could get a lot more competitive in the years to come, but for the fans, that isn’t really a bad thing.
The good, though, is that the likes of Sacramento and St. Louis have had their MLS hopes increased, as reported by STL Today. The keen observers out there will know that it looked like Sactown were leading the way in the race to become the MLS’ next official team, with STL tracking behind. Now, though, the league is set to enter further talks with both, with it seeming like they’ll be signing on the dotted line sooner rather than later.
From an outsider’s perspective looking in, this really does seem like it is a tremendous time to be a fan of Major League Soccer, and American soccer in general. Gone are the days when we had to worry about whether or not new franchises would fold within a matter of years, because we finally seem to have some honest to god stability.
The saying goes that new is always better in the modern era, and we’d say that applies to this situation.
Does anyone know whether or not these teams are going to find extensive success within their first few years of existence? Of course not, but that isn’t the point. The point is that they’re going to at least be given a chance to do so, which is an incredibly exciting thought.