I’m not sure if there is anything to it but the following story came across this morning on MLS-Rumors.net. The following is reported to have come from a reliable source within US Soccer media.
It may be the same source as you already have but I heard yesterday that Miami Barca is a done deal. The announcement will be made separately from the other expansion team (s). Miami will enter with Philly in 2010. The other piece of news is that Jeff Cooper’s St Louis group is not being taken that seriously by the league and it is likely Portland enters in 2011 with Vancouver potentially in 2011 or 2013. Both cities according to my source are basically guaranteed entry in either 2011 or 2013, with Portland probably going first. I’m also told MLS is still interested in Atlanta for 2013 despite Arthur Blank’s withdrawal for 2011. The League will not be capped at 20 or 21 teams but my source tells me expansion may be put on hold for the next several years after 2013. The competition for number 20 is between Atlanta, St Louis and potentially Phoenix if they get their act together before bidding for 2013.
Time will tell but MLS should begin to announce the teams soon. I would expect the city’s to be names separately to get more bang for the buck. What do you think about Miami playing on fieldturf? Does Atlanta still have a shot at this thing?
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SundayPaper.com did an interview with Arthur Blank and Mr. Blank had this to say when asked if the cause of the failed MLS bid was due to the inability to get a group of partners together.
That wasn’t the reason. When you do a deal with MLS, it’s a very complex deal. And the general thinking in Major League Soccer today is that you need a soccer-specific stadium in order to be successful and offer the product in the right kind of environment for fans that are coming and supporting it, in addition to providing a financial model that makes sense for all parties concerned. Traditionally, those have been a public/private kind of partnership. In today’s economy, in this world we’re living in right now in 2009, maybe even 2010, that possibility is not real, and it’s kind of inappropriate to be thinking about those things right now, in my view. So I just think it’s a matter of timing in terms of when we’ll be able to bring that franchise to Atlanta. It had nothing to do with other people being willing to invest, it had to do really with the timing in the marketplace.
It is disappointing to see the opportunity pass but at the same time it’s difficult to argue his point need a soccer-specific stadium in order to be successful and offer the product in the right kind of environment for fans that are coming and supporting it, in addition to providing a financial model that makes sense for all parties concerned. Traditionally, those have been a public/private kind of partnership. In today’s economy, in this world we’re living in right now in 2009, maybe even 2010, that with the current state of the economy. Arthur Blank didn’t become the successful business man he is by making bad decisions. This bid will require a combination of public and private funds and though this project will have a significant economic impact the dividends will be down the road. The initial cost that would be required over the next two years would be steep and with the current budget cutbacks the decision would be inappropriate, as Mr. Blank said.
I guess we’ve waited this long, what’s a few more years. Hopefully we can bring MLS to Atlanta and the economy and league will be on better footing then they are today.
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Posted in Expansion News, MLS on January 15, 2009 |
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It’s a sad day as the hope of seeing an MLS team come to Atlanta has taken a significant hit. Arthur Blank has told MLS that the Atlanta bid would be unable to have a stadium deal in place and begin play by 2011. Effectively dropping out of contingency for the current bidding for two franchises that are scheduled to begin play in 2011. The slumping economy, lack of traction on a stadium deal, and the local government officials concern of taxpayer backlash were the primary drivers that killed the bid. On the bright side the group did say they hadn’t rule out a bid for a team that could begin play in 2013. More details are available at AJC.com
What do you think? Will Atlanta ever have a MLS team to call it’s own?
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