Thursday, September 20, 2007

MLS Expansion - The Vegas odds

The Las Vegas Sun offers up their odds for the 13 cities often mentioned in MLS expansion talks. They are looking at things in a 'how does Vegas' fit in kind of way, but they don't seem to let the homer symptom overly influence their thought process. Anyway, here are their odds:

Atlanta: 100-1
Cleveland: 60-1
Las Vegas: 10-1
Miami: 35-1
Milwaukee: 75-1
New York: 8-1
Philadelphia: 6-1
Phoenix: 20-1
Portland, Ore.: 40-1
San Diego: 100-1
Seattle: 3-2
St. Louis: 4-1
Vancouver: 70-1

They have a lot more information on the reasons behind these odds, so if you have a moment, you really should read the article.

As far as my thoughts on the odds, they look pretty much like they should, however I think St. Louis has better odds then Seattle. That said, it really doesn't matter much because both those cities would be my top 2 as well.

The New York odds seem a little high, but that might have to do with the article speculating not just on the 15th and 16th MLS clubs but also on the 17th and 18th. Fred Wilpon, an owner of baseball's New York Mets, is interested, but since the plan that seems to be out there calls for a soccer stadium to be built on the current site of Shea Stadium, they will need to wait till 2009 before they could even begin building such a project (that is when the new baseball stadium will open). That said, MLS wants a derby in New York and if there is a chance to have a stadium in the city, they will hold out for it.

It does seem like the Vegas odds are also a bit kind, but maybe they have some inside information (or maybe they are just hearing more about it and thinking it might come true). I would put their odds more at 20-1 with Miami and Portland a little bit behind them. The Miami bid really depends on Boca Juniors. If the club fully gets behind a bid, chances are good for them. As far as Portland, Seattle has very much climbed over them in the current race, but there is a good group of fans in the area and a Northwest derby would be a solid outing. Also, they already have a stadium that, with some improvements, could host games for the first few years.

The Phoenix option is very interesting and I'm guessing the reason heat was not listed in the piece is due to the talk of a stadium with a retractable-roof. There are two good groups going after this bid and both have good pedigrees. It might not have the glitz of a Vegas or the history of St. Louis, but they do draw some good crowds for big games. The problem is, most of those games involve Mexico and as has been proven in many other locations, international match draws don't always mean good local match draws. Still, I agree that they are the city most likely to surprise.

As far as the rest, I think Milwaukee has a slightly better chance then suggested while Cleveland has a little worse. Atlanta should be doing better but no local money seems interested, so their bid looks to be stalled. Philadelphia is probably the city MLS most wants to get into so if the stadium deal moves forward, it should happen. Vancouver seems like a natural fit, however with all the development issues that have been kicked up ahead of the 2010 Olympics, getting a stadium might be a little difficult. San Diego to me seems to be the longest shot due to stadium situations.

What do you think?

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Blogger Fred said...

I really figured that Merrit Paulson (new owner of the Portland Timbers) really just wanted the minor league baseball team and the naming rights for the Timbers for a possible MLS expansion.

Then, seeing that he can average ~6500 per match for USL-1, who knows what he might be thinking now. It certainly seems, tho, as if he might have realized that he found a silver mine next to the oil field he purchased (so to speak).

Just needing real grass and a east grandstand at PGE Park (and the Timbers' name) to pull in an already dedicated fan-base would seem to be a no-brainer decision for MLS and some prospective owner, whether that is the son of the Treasury Secretary or some other well-connected sporting goods/software magnate.

(now, what Andrea said buying into the debt of the MLS I don't know about...but how it would be different for Portland vs Seattle or Vancouver, I don't know).

Then again, maybe we could pick up some team without a stadium for next year, or one with a marketing scheme gone flat.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Mike H said...

Hello Fred,

I think that if the Timbers moved up to MLS, it would be a major success, but as your link to Andrea says, it would cost some money.

However, the good news for the Timbers is the MLS is getting much closer to making money then ever before so the whole debt part is not as bad as it once was.

Another aspect that could turn Paulson in favor of joining the league is the money that could be made from hosting international games (both club and nation) as well as the influx of fans that will happen when a top league team is in the city.

I think with the improvements to PGE you mention, plus its location; Portland has the chance of becoming the next Toronto FC.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

As long as they don't bring Toronto's scoring drought as well :-)

5:08 PM  
Blogger tedzsee said...

Living in Vancouver, I'd love to see the MLS come up here. It's been discussed before that perhaps Vancouver is more an event town than a soccer town, but I think that an MLS club could make a good showing in the Vancouver market, especially given how multicultural the market is.

Having attended U-League Whitecaps games for some time, I gotta admit that it would be weird seeing the 'Caps or another Vancouver club enter the MLS without having the Timbers and Sounders rivalry to play against.

Are all three Northwest clubs ready for the MLS? Probably not. Would it be awesome to kick that Northwest rivalry up into some sort of derby? Absolutely.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Reid said...

I think the last two home games by the Timbers with crowds of 15,000 and today almost 12,000. Must do a lot of good to the odds of Portland getting an MLS team.

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's Montreal?

4:15 PM  

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