More Miami & Trivia

bobby vRemember 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.  Add in the lack of a Soccer Specific Stadium (the team would share with the FIU Football team) and the idea once seemed dead in the water.  Yet now there seems to be increasing momentum towards MLS in Miami, and the reemergence of Claure as possible player is definitely interesting.  Claure has risen “to the top of Hispanic Business 500 with revenues over $3.6 billion and earning the title of the largest Hispanic-owned business in the United States.”

Of course the big story is the apparent competition for a Miami team.  According to the Miami Herald, a London-based investment group led by Italian financier Alessandro Butini made its pitch for MLS-to-Miami official on Tuesday, partnering with the University of Miami School of Architecture to develop ideas for a viable soccer-specific stadium, and launching a website — — to drum up fan interest.  It has long been understood that Beckham has  a contractual option to purchase a franchise at a discounted rate.  Does this mean that option is near expiration or that Butini is potential Beckham partner?  The move towards 24 teams will definitely provide fodder for MLS fans over the next couple of years.

Now on to trivia:

Who was the U.S. Open Cup Tournament trophy renamed in honor of in 1999?

The tournament has been around since 1914, almost as long as Lamar Hunt has been investing in professional soccer in the U.S.  Likely nobody has spent so much money on soccer in the United States.  Hunt, better known as the owner of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs (and the man who coined the term Super Bowl), owned the NASL’s Dallas Tornado, which was the league’s longest operating franchise in one city, lasting from 1967 until 1981.  When Major League Soccer began its organizational phase, Hunt was there again, becoming the lead investor in teams in Columbus and Kansas City.  He later bought into MLS’s team in Dallas and led the effort to build a soccer specific stadium for the Columbus Crew and F.C. Dallas.  For all that effort, USSF put Hunt’s name on the trophy awarded to the winner of the U.S. Open Cup.

Excerpt from The First American Soccer Trivia Book by Jamie Clary; Copyright 2007 FreeFalling Graffiti.

The Monday After

Another big weekend in Major League Soccer with the ESPN game of the week capping off the proceedings.  While attendance was disappointing (for the much hyped SuperClassico), the match presented a rare opportunity to see 3 US National Team members from the 2010 World Cup Team and David Beckham in a prime time special.  Although matched against the NFL ratings juggernaut, the Sunday night match up could prove an interesting ratings test case for the league.

Perhaps the biggest attendance surprise of the weekend was the 18k plus at Gillette Stadium to see the Revs and RSL.  A combination of a promotional efforts directed to local high school teams and a breast cancer awareness event, led to the biggest stand alone crowd for the Revs this season.  However, the biggest business news out of New England was the report in multiple sources that the Revs’ ownership has decided to change course on its pursuit of a designated player.  The Revs had previously limited their DP search to players that would move the needle in the stands.  With the limited budget restraints placed on that search, there appeared little chance that the Revs would actually sign such a “big name” player.  However, the Revs appear to have now changed their requirements and are more focused on success on the field.

One final attendance note.  An impressive crowd of over 24k at Red Bull Arena.  While many of those numbers can be attributed to fans with “use them or lose” tickets, it will be intersting to see if the team can continue generating big numbers during playoffs.