Expansion Update

scorpionsMiami is in the news again, as David Beckham is still pushing to locate his MLS franchise in Florida.  Despite statements from Commissioner Garber suggesting that the lack of a stadium plan is a detriment, plans are moving forward.  There has been talk that a major announcement is scheduled for next week to discuss the future of MLS in the Sunshine State.   The plan is apparently to start play in 2017 at a Soccer Specific Stadium in Miami.  Beckham is just one of the luminaries to be involved in the effort.  MLSSoccer.com quotes Lebron James, “I think it could be great. We’ll see what happens,” James said. “I think Miami is a great place for soccer. There’s so many great athletes that come from South Florida, Florida in general, and you know, the lower coast. Hopefully we can make it really good.”  Remember when Barcelona combined with Marcelo Claure and Florida International University to submit a bid to bring MLS back to South Florid?  As MLS fans well know, the Miami Fusion entered the League as an expansion team in 1998 and were contracted just four years later.  That background, combined with South Florida’s rather weak history of supporting its teams (Florida Marlins anyone?), has lead many to scoff at any move back to the Miami area.  However, Beckham and friends look to be serious and willing investors (James already owns a small stake in Liverpool), so perhaps the future is bright.

We’ve talked about San Antonio and the NASL’s San Antonio Scorpions, including their almost 10k average attendance, new stadium (Toyota Park), on the field success.  The team has boasted an over-the-air television deal for thirteen matches  in 2013.   Three of the games were broadcast on KSAT in prime time while the rest were on derivative channels.  This is a great accomplishment for a team set to unveil an 8k stadium for the start of the 2013 NASL season. Earlier this week, Commissioner Garber met with the mayor of San Antonio and Scorpions owner Gordon Hartman about potential expansion.   The team averaged just shy of 7k in their 8k venue in 2013.  Can a third Texas team succeed in MLS?