Soccer Business Bits: Texas Rivalry, Portland/Seattle & Vegas

The Cascadia rivalry gets most of the attention in MLS, but Dallas and Houston are doing their best to promote the matches between the two teams.  The Dynamo recently purchased a billboard mocking Dallas’ lack of championships and prominently showcasing the two Dynamo trophies.  Houston is not the first MLS franchise to purchase an ad in opposing territory, but this represents the first battle in what promises to be a season long PR war between the teams.  According to the linked article, Dallas is already planning its revenge and both teams plan to ramp up the pranks and hijinks as the season moves forward.

Elsewhere, the weekend saw the first installment of the Seattle/Portland rivalry over the wekend and the atmosphere was as advertised.  Qwest Filed was hopping, the game was nationally telecast and the soccer was entertaining.  Major League Soccer needs more of those days, but the last few years in Portland, Toronto, Vancouver, Philly and Seattle show that such evenings are possible and becoming more frequent.  While some of original MLS franchises are still searching for some of the magic shown by these newer teams, league and team execs hope that the atmosphere will become infectuious.  Regardless, Saturday night was special and the league hopes that it will become the new normal.

Finally, The Sporting News is reporting that MLS is continuing to pursue the dream of a franchise in Las Vegas.  While most leagues have been reluctant to be associated with the gambling capitol of the United States, the possibility of a team in the desert has been talked about for years.  A stadium is a necessity, but the idea of a team in Las Vegas is definitely intriguing.

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3 Responses

  1. (I acknowledge I may be biased as I want a team in my town)

    My concern is that Vegas is not stable enough to support a team. The population is notoriously transient (tough to build loyalty). The city has grown too fast for it’s resources, and there is a serious question of whether there is enough water to support those that are already there. When I would visit my grandparents (residents of Boulder City) as a kid, Lake Mead nearly went over the top of Hoover Dam. The lake has shrunk immensely in the last decade. The local economy is troubled, prompting people like my brother to move elsewhere for work.

    In short, it’s the fundamentals that bother me. Other major leagues do not have a team there, and I doubt that gambling is the sole reason. And the AAA baseball has also faced some issues. The only benefit that I can see (that is not available from other markets) is that travel costs would be low, and the team may end up as Extras in Hangover III.

    I think MLS can work in most markets, but making it work in a troubled and geographically isolated market will drain resources league-wide.

  2. You, sir, are what they call ‘smart’. You should send this explanation to Don Garbage at MLS HQ. I pray that they’ve had someone stand up in the board room and voice this very same concern. Let’s stop the expansion and focus on the quality. The ghost of NASL is rattling the window.

  3. I do think expansion is the way to go to build the league, and generate revenue to attract quality players as I posted last week. But MLS history shows us that each expansion effort requires comitted owners (previous sports ownership strongly recommended), a soccer-specific stadium (or soccer-friendly in the case of Qwest), and a market without red flags. And Las Vegas has red flags due to its unique demographics.

    I have my own history with the Las Vegas area due to family, so its troubled nature sticks out for me. Even its largest college, UNLV, is a commuter campus that doesn’t lend it self to passionate fans. But I do think expansion is wise as a larger footprint (of well-run teams) will be tough for the media to ignore.

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