Wednesday, January 30, 2008

MLS Expansion - No Miami team means no Miami stadium

Miami Mayor Manny Diaz is trying to brunt a lawsuit that would force a public vote on his $3 billion city/county project that includes baseball and soccer stadiums at the current site of the Orange Bowl. Although the $100 million for the soccer stadium is not getting much notice (compared to the $525 million baseball stadium), Diaz wanted made a definitive statement designed to defend the plan.

He says that the city will not build the stadium unless MLS assures him that they will get an expansion team. He added that it has not happened yet, "but they're very interested."

This should come as no surprise since building a stadium for a team that might not come would be a very stupid move and it will be very interesting to see how this plays out.

With Philadelphia all but there in terms of getting a team, it appears the race now turns to St. Louis vs. Miami for spot 17. Both offer really promising opportunities for the league, but is MLS ready to make a choice on the next expansion side so soon?

In the past league reps have said they would pause a little while after expanding to 16 teams, but it appears that if they want either of these deals, they will need to change their stance on this issue. In addition, they have also said they want to hold the league to 18 teams, so with a number of options out there for additional teams (Las Vegas, Portland, Vancouver, Montreal, New York, Atlanta, etc.), landing one of those last two spots might be even harder then getting a stadium deal.

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