MLS Expansion To Montreal Too?

[url=http://sports.yahoo.com/mls/news?slug=ap-mlsexpansion-montreal]http://sports.yahoo.com/mls/news?slug=a ... n-montreal[/url]

Sounds good to me, but for sake of the US other than Portland next season, the MLS ought focus on shutting down about five teams or so not doing well at all in the US other than expanding to Atlanta or anywhere in Florida.

Either is a downright awful idea either way I can tell you from having lived in Atlanta as well as the MLS's adverse experience in Florida during even prosperous times with two failures down there already. Atlanta's an awful sports town full of fair weather fans for all sports except for college football, which will pack the stands there for it is the mecca in that regard. In 2007 they had trouble filling seats for even the Final Four mind you.

Note nowadays almost half of homeowners in Florida owe more on their houses than they are worth, so those folks are going to pay to watch pro soccer? Uh-uh, and even the Dolphins and Jaguars consistently can't fill their stands with the situation in Tampa full of fairweather fans.

Only college and high school football pack the stands in Florida with all pro sports doing usually horribly.

The South is an awful nut to try and crack during an economic boom let alone foolish during a recession. Talk about misplaced priorities in the MLS if that is their focus aside from Portland, Vancouver, and Montreal. :roll:

According to the podcast below, Saputo expects an announcement by the end of next month. He says the delay has been due to some small 'philosopical' issues (probably has to do with youth development/signability) that they're ironing out, not dollar and cents issue. I guess the stadium expansion money from the Quebec government is already in the bag.

[url=http://www.team990.com/sound_bytes/view/session/oranges_halftime_podcast/7/]http://www.team990.com/sound_bytes/view ... podcast/7/[/url] (expansion talk starts at 23:00)
Sounds good to me, but for sake of the US other than Portland next season, the MLS ought focus on shutting down about five teams or so not doing well at all in the US other than expanding to Atlanta or anywhere in Florida.
Some of the teams may not make the league look good in terms of attendance but they're not hurting the league or themselves too much financially. Some of the them will move into their own stadiums soon; some just need different, less conservative ownership groups, some need a different approach to marketting (out with the soccer-moms/kids, in with the young adult fans) etc. It's still too early in this long game (that will no doubt have lots of twists and turns with new rules and opportunities and level upgrades) to tell who will end up in what place in terms of contribution to the league. The new youth development/cap allocation rule, for example, could lead to one or more of these teams being motivated enough to develop a killer academy that churns out a lot of quality youth players that they can sell for huge sums of money and offset their losses and have enough left for better marketting, signing quality foriegn players to attract more fans (esp, the ethnic fanbase that exist in both countires) at the gate and on TV. The expansion of the DP rule is another that we don't know how it will change which teams. We'll just have to wait and see. Better to be more patient and cautious than do something that might cause irreversible damage.

Atlanta probably will not have great attendance but they may be able to help with the TV viewership (maybe not now but later when the league has a lot of marketable designated players) and with the sponsorship. Florida is one market I hope the league stays away from for a while. They don't lack soccer fans but most of them only support the leagues back home (Brazil, Argentina and Mexico). Until MLS reaches the level of those league it will be very hard to get them to adopt a team here. I know it's a false hope but I'd like to see Melnyk and the Hunts group forget their past quarrel and launch a join bid to bring the 20th team to Frank Clair stadium for the 2013 season. The rivalry they'll have with TFC and Montreal will be amazing and will add value to the league.

From what I was reading lately, Garber and the MLS isn't so much into soccer specific stadiums anymore, obviously with them fully wanting Vancouver in at BC Place. So maybe there is some hope there in Ottawa for Hunt's group and Melnyk to get together. Who knows.

This is what I meant by false hope. The league doesn’t require SSS anymore if they want a market or a deep-pocket owner badly enough, as long as they have some control over the facility. That in theory should bring Melnyk back into the expansion picture, if he can somehow put his old plans behind and approach the Hunts group after all they went through last year. I’m sure he has been explained well enough by the MLS people how a team near the city is likely to succeed more than one way out in the suburb. On one hand he knows this is probably the best time to get into the league before the expansion fee skyrockets (even more), or before the league goes up another ‘level’ that by then the BOG might hesitate letting a smaller market like Ottawa in. If he can get a franchise soon it will also prevent other Canadian MLS franchises from getting too big of a headstart. His ego and stubborn-ness with the old plan will most likely be in the way though.

By the way, I forgot to give an example of a ‘useless’ team ending up contributing a lot to the league in my previous post. Earlier this decade, New York’s MLS team was doing so badly in terms of attendance (much of which used to be padded by foriegn team doubleheaders), atmosphere in a huge, mostly empty stadium and in terms of costing the league money that a lot of people wanted this team gone. But then they developed and sold two great players in 5 year span for a total of $20 million, a third of which went to the league (i.e. other teams). Nearly seven million dollars is a serious contribution to the league of this stature and helped the league become more solvent. They also went on to build the best soccer stadium in this continent, improving the image of the league. So you never know who will be useful later for what even though they’re not doing that well at the moment.

TFC great point on the successful experience of New York financially despite awful attendance to the MLS games per se`, but I disagree with you highly that such a model would work even with some similar transactions by the teams that are lagging in MLS cities like those I list below chiefly because that is New York, sort of a country into itself if you have been there many times and met enough usually arrogant and obnoxious New Yorkers.

No to expansion to Ottawa or any smaller market or to awful Atlanta or proven failure anywhere in Florida, and for that matter even with such strategies that have worked in New York and LA so far, no to the following teams continuing from what I can tell when attendance just is not going to cut it well after the off-the-field financial gains: :thdn: :thdn:

Dallas
Salt Lake City
Colorado (metro Denver, the Atlanta of the West)
San Jose (already failed once and ailing again)
Kansas City

Yes to expansion to highly promising hotbeds like Montreal, Vancouver, and Portland so far for now. The Philadelphia team already has started with great success and appears to have enough local interest to sustain it with extreme rivalry against DC, New York, and New England. I have to say given what I have seen at the amateur level on the ground and in general here, I am surprised compared to my experience as a DC United fan when the team started in DC. :thup:

Great recessionary times are no time to be taking as much risk as the other markets mentioned require any more, but that won't stop any given billionaire(s) I guess from blowing away "fun money" on what is often ultimately for the teams losing money an entertainment tax write-off and mitigation strategy for the rest of his financial empire. :?

And for the uncommon MLS soccer fans in those towns or states with bad amateur scenes that are not solid as I've noticed also living here in Metro Philadelphia unlike the rabid scene in Metro DC, I sure as heck would not listen to those few fans in those towns posting online on that count. :thdn:

His ego and stubborn-ness with the old plan will most likely be in the way though.

That's exactly what I've heard about Melnyk. Which is too bad since I think the CFL and MLS can not only coexist but feed off each other. I don't know soccer but if my owner here in Hamilton offers a great deal for season ticket holders for the new USL team which we will surely get, season ticket holders for the Ticats that is, I just might go to some soccer games here and see what the game is about.

Let's face it, for the most part both gridiron and soccer football play on a similar type of shape field, like hockey and basketball.

The odd man out is baseball I would say.

Agreed Earl. Having 2 teams co-existing would definitely help along getting a new stadium/drastic renovation project going in a city like Ottawa for example. Also, as you mention, the cross-promotion potential is also there although the crowds for the 2 sports are quite different, there are at least a few that enjoy both sports. Finally, if both teams share common ownership and both teams turn a profit, that makes the CFL team that much more financially stable which only strengthens the entire league.

Yes East and here’s the key for me as a total person who didn’t grow up with soccer albeit I did play a bit in grade school competetively I will admit, didn’t know what I was doing but I could run fast so they took anyone in grade school who could run track and play baseball and say we have a game of soccer again’t this school. It was weird and cool playing a sport I never played on the sandlots, at all) : I respect the sport because I know gridiron’s roots are from soccer (and rugby as well of course). So I have to give it respect as such. I don’t for baseball. Baseball is historical in North America. But has no roots connected to any form of football as far as I can tell, please anyone, correct me on this if I’m mistaken. I think baseball is the most misplaced and mistaken sport on the North American continent, bar none. I think and actually hope it dies completely.

If it came down to it ever, and this is totally weirdly hypothetical, if the Grey Cup ever went to the winner of a soccer championship in Canada vs a baseball championship (and I grew up with baseball way more than soccer and played a lot of baseball as a kid, soccer was just for those kids in the neighbourhood whose parents didn’t speak English, honestly), well, I hope the Grey Cup is for the soccer championship. That is if gridiron ever went by the wayside completely, and please, god forbid. I have to respect the relationship between all the forms of football over baseball if it came down to it. For Canada’s football champions, whatever form that should take in the long run.

And here's also what's happeniing on the Canadian football (soccer) scene which I like which baseball can't even touch and is a main reason why, as a spectator sport, baseball is going down the tubes, and fast. And of course the CFL is the master as we know, but soccer is right there, and I like it, so if Hamilton is in the USL and in the running for this, I'll take notice even if I don't really understand the strategy of the game:

[url=http://www.redpatchboys.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=22093]http://www.redpatchboys.ca/forums/showt ... hp?t=22093[/url]

I mean I'm a baseball guy from my past and don't care about the game but am starting to care more about soccer, a game I didn't grow up with, as it synergizes with gridiron I say. Same basic field shape and the ball, well, just a bit more pointed in gridiron's case, but it still gets kicked. Both blown up balls when you get down to it. Footballs.

Baseball, well, odd man out.

Definitely in Kansas City, the MLS has its work cut it for it and how I wish they would ditch that sorry franchise along with the others I mention below so that the rest of the successful league does not end up having to feed these perennial losers and townfolk who could care less anyway.

[url=http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/blog/sow_experts/post/The-latest-worst-miss-ever?urn=sow,236778]http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/blog/sow ... sow,236778[/url]

Here's a video of the shot missed heard 'round the world today. As even this usually awful author of this blog at Yahoo! neglects to mention, irrespective of the miss, most any amateur soccer player can see that the player missing was offside anyway when you see when the ball was shot originally, so poetic justice in that the player's wrong made the situation right anyway because the linesman missed an easy call in that regard.

Mind you also as you can tell from the commentary I can understand a non-player missing this point, but unlike in football circles outside of North America, it still bothers me here that even amateur players largely still don't know the rules of the game amongst other nuisances. And then these are the folks to whom the MLS tries to pander and wonder why the league is not more successful? :roll:

Sure such an awful miss both by a player and official for that matter could have happened in any town in any game in MLS, but it happened in woeful Kansas City as is definitely NOT a soccer town. Certainly this sort of woe does not help draw new North American fans to soccer either, but hey the World Cup always helps. Also this sort of deal makes the MLS look worse than it does already outside of North America.

On to successful expansion in Montreal and otherwise, NOT in Atlanta or in Florida either, and to heck with these losing franchises in towns that for the most part have too many sports alternatives relative to their population such that the franchises unlike in New York cannot make things up off the field.

I cannot even understand why in these tougher economic times than we have had in at least 28 years why folks would take for granted that weak links and markets in ANY league can be subsidised and carried on for very long at the expense of those managing to succeed despite the challenges.

[url=http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/blog/sow_experts/post/The-latest-worst-miss-ever?urn=sow,236778]http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/blog/sow ... sow,236778[/url]

New link to the item reference in my previoius post …

That has to be one of the worst 5 misses in any soccer leagues I've seen and I've seen plenty of soccer bloopers on YouTube!

As for moving Kansas City, I'll admit if I was forced to move any team in MLS it would be this team. They've constantly been at the bottom in attendance department. Many blamed the ownership group, the same conservative group that now owns Dallas, that were operating on bare-bones model and they seem to have a point. But the new ownership group is very enthusiastic about the team and its future although their small minor-league baseball stadium anchored them back the last couple years. It's too late to move them now anyway as they're building one of the best stadiums in the league (2nd only to Red Bull Arena, IMO). Construction is already 25% or so complete so they're well past the point of no return. We'll hope for the best and see how it goes.

New renderering of the stadium, in case you have not seen it: http://photos.imageevent.com/kcphotos/s ... tadium.jpg

I'm not sure why Real Salt Lake is in your list though. They've always had above average attendance if I recall correctly. And now with the new stadium they're also turning a profit. DC United on the other hand has to be the biggest money loser in the league (thought they'd be in your 5 to move/fold) now that the Red Bulls have their own place. Unlike San Jose, who's stadium decision now rests completely on the owners' hand, DC's stadium situation looks very bleak as their negotiation isn't going anywhere with any town. It would be very painful to move a team with a big and passionate fanbase like DC has but they may eventually have to.

Great points TFC. Hey don’t overlook either that the linesman as well as the media and commentators missed the call that the player getting the rebound off the post was offside in the first place.

Hey Salt Lake’s attendance has been skewed high due to a massive local base of fair weather fans due to their success even as a young franchise, but all the same if they are turning a profit with the new facility so I stand corrected and they’ll be around awhile.

I guess nothing will change with Kansas City due its ownership hoping for better with the new facility, but mind you that same ownership are suffering badly with woeful Dallas too! Just keep throwing good money after bad? Maybe they’ll go bankrupt first?

DC United no doubt could be on its way out only due to the now subpar stadium situation with RFK, which actually had been an awesome venue for some time but now is just plainly too old and not as many folks will make the trek to it any more with now an ailing and crappy Metro (subway/underground) system for the first time in history in that area. As a percentage, fewer of the fans who are out of their minds who live in that area actually make the awful drive to RFK mind you. And what a shame you are right, as aside from the larger markets of Toronto and LA plus Seattle one would be hard-pressed to find a more committed fan base than in DC (including me even though DC is no longer what it was before 9/11 and remains sort of a police state in limbo now).

And so I guess out with San Jose, Dallas, and Colorado if I had my way, out with DC United before too long as is not my way but likely as it appears, and in with Montreal on top of Portland and Vancouver.

If the MLS are going to expand further beyond Montreal, I have no idea which market it would be with a high enough population that is also ethnically diverse enough to have the strongest chance to sustain long-term interest in an MLS team.

Looks like it will be made official tomorrow

Montreal set to join MLS
Thursday, May 6, 2010
By John F. Molinaro, CBC Sports

It looks as though Montreal is slated to become Canada's third Major League Soccer club.

The Montreal Impact have called a news conference for Friday morning, when it is expected they will announce they will join MLS as an expansion franchise.

MLS commissioner Don Garber and Impact owner Joey Saputo will be on hand to make the formal announcement.

It's believed that the Impact, who compete in the USSF D2 Pro League (one level below MLS), will enter the league at the start of the 2012 MLS regular season.

Toronto FC became the MLS's first Canadian franchise in 2007. The Vancouver Whitecaps, who currently play in the USSF D2 Pro League, are scheduled to join MLS next year.

Friday's announcement is the latest chapter in a soap opera that has been going on for some time.

Montreal was one of the front-runners to enter MLS in 2011 as one of two expansion franchises, but the team pulled out when Saputo and former Canadiens owner George Gillett hesitated to pay the $40 million US expansion fee (later dropped to $35 million).

Last August, Garber said the Saputo family must secure public funding to expand the capacity of their stadium before Montreal is granted an MLS team.

The Impact currently play their home matches at Saputo Stadium, a 13,034-seat venue that opened in 2008.

Garber tipped his hand last month about the possibility of Montreal joining MLS.

"We're confident that we'll be able to announce a 19th team shortly, and our hope is that 19th team will be in Montreal," Garber told the Associated Press.

The addition of a Montreal team will be a big boost for MLS, according to CBC Sports soccer commentator Jason de Vos, who used to play for the Impact.

The Impact "have continually been able to attract 10,000 fans or more for second division soccer, and one has to believe that they will be capable of much more when the move to MLS occurs," de Vos wrote in a recent blog pubished on CBCSports.ca.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/story/2010/...#ixzz0nB5ok5Aa

Oh yeah great news! And they saved themselves $5M for the expansion fee already at that.

Now it's anyone's guess whether out will go any of the following:
Dallas
San Jose
Colorado
DC United

I watched part of the DC United - Kansas City game the other night with nothing else on, and I was surprised to see the amount of folks in the stands sure looked pathetic there at old RFK too. I suspect that the now woeful Metro (subway/underground) riding experience keeps way more folks away than ever when in the past that transit system was amongst one of the best in the country.

Metro Washington DC as a sports market is highly overrated relative to its metro area size lest it involve the Redskins or Capitals. Metro DC is about the same as Metro Philadelphia in population but far more congested and with the worst traffic on the entire East Coast.

The scene in the the congested SF Bay Area with San Jose looks great for the Sharks and Giants on top of the two NFL teams to make the Earthquakes quite the dicey proposition as are the Golden State Warriors.

In Denver it seems basically like the Broncos getting so much of the attention no matter what with all the other teams there with fair-weather fans though all well ahead of the Rapids in attendance. However, I am not sure about how the Avalanche have been doing in the past five years or so.

And in Dallas it seems there is way too much competition almost any given time of the year from the highly successful Cowboys, Stars, high school football, and Mavericks for the MLS to succeed.

Also I understand New England's Revolution have had some major attendance challenges considering high interest in the four other major pro sports that dominate the scene in Greater Boston.

I don’t know … with the 3 mil or so profit Saputo likely would’ve made in 2011 and $2 mil cut of expansion fee from the 19th team he would’ve recieved it’s probably a wash. The last time he didn’t suffer as much as he did for his earlier decisions though (every time he refused to join for one reason or another not only the fee doubled but he also missed out on all the expansion money from the new teams).

Anyway, it’s all in the past. I’m glad they left their differences behind and made this happen. Soccer in Canada should grow at a much faster rate from here on and the national team will benefit greatly. If freaking Honduras can make it to the world cup, no reason Canada can’t.

Yes, let's hope that this is a sparkplug, another one, to help Canada get into the WC sooner rather than later, as I've said I know it's tough with so many countries involved but say 1 out of every 3 or 4 would be good.

PT Barnum said there is a sucker born every minute.
Saputo and Montreal just proved my point to buy into a dying league.

About four dying teams yes but dying league -- NO when you re-examine the average attendance figures by team provided previously.

I'll give you a conservative, approximate worst case for one team today in an overall woeful game I flipped in and out of on ABC.

Philadelphia were playing Salt Lake in front of "only" 14K plus fans.

Normally I would cry awful for that attendance as for the play, but there is a larger picture here to make it somewhat respectable all things considered:

  1. The Jazz play the Lakers tonight as well. Very few fans in Salt Lake City would go to both games no doubt.
  2. It is the Saturday of Mother's Day Weekend, which in Salt Lake City and here and in other areas is akin to a holiday weekend where not as many folks go out such as Easter weekend.
  3. Due to the NBA game tonight, the game was played in the afternoon on a Saturday as opposed to a Saturday night. Saturday daytime is usually absolutely the worst time for sports media ratings on a weekend. Even for college football media ratings are low for games at such times though for the big programs the fans fill the stands.

If in the US by contrast that game were on a Father's Day weekend or 4th of July Weekend with no NBA distractions with such attendance by contrast, such attendance would be subpar all the same. This year however we won't have a regular Father's Day weekend, for the World Cup will be in progress and much of the MLS games about which few will give a rip are rather staggered during that time.

MLS is bleeding no hemorrhaging big time as only TFC and Seattle have made money.
It remains a niche sport only in Toronto and no one watches it on TV as the numbers are horrible.
So I don't know what Garber is smoking.
But he did bash the CFL and MLB last year big time and he is a big time jerk.
It is a known fact in MLS circles how last years overall league average around 15,000 is made up of one third beeing freebies.
There is no TV contract in the US and in fact ESPN will not be renewing, so the house of cards are lining up in this current ponzie scheme of selling franchises while Rome burns.