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MLS Expansion - The Future?
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AllTideUp Offline
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Post: #1
MLS Expansion - The Future?
We know MLS will be expanding to 30 within the next few years...I suppose that's assuming all the finances are still on track after COVID.

Austin FC will begin this coming season. Charlotte, Sacramento, and St. Louis will be the next to come on board.

There has apparently remained an open channel with other cities though. Las Vegas, San Diego, Indianapolis, Detroit, and Phoenix are all in the hunt according to SBJ.

Now, the next logical number is 32, but let me propose for a moment that MLS may have 40 as their ideal number.

You can divide MLS into 2 leagues at that point. If you have 20 teams in each league then they can play the traditional double round robin. That's 38 games and then perhaps you can create a playoff system that pits squads from either league against each other. Of course, 36 could be a reasonable number as well. You could divide into 2 separate 18 team leagues and still play the double round robin. Germany and some other quality leagues have 18 as it is. That would be 34 games before playoffs begin.
01-19-2021 05:20 PM
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Nerdlinger Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
Detroit and Phoenix seem like no-brainers to make 32, given the size of the metro areas.
01-19-2021 05:27 PM
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Nerdlinger Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
What I wonder is when they're finally going to subdivide further than East/West. Here's an NFL-style 8-division setup with Detroit and Phoenix added to make 32.

Eastern Conference
Northeast Division: Detroit, Montreal, New England, Toronto
Atlantic Division: DC, New York, New York, Philadelphia
Midwest Division: Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Nashville
Southeast Division: Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Orlando

Western Conference
Central Division: Colorado, Kansas City, Minnesota, St. Louis
Southwest Division: Austin, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix
Northwest Division: Portland, Salt Lake, Seattle, Vancouver
Pacific Division: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Jose

4 games x 3 division opponents = 12
2 games x 4 opponents in 1 rotating division of same conference = 8
1 game x 8 opponents in other 2 divisions of same conference = 8
1 game x 8 opponents in rotating pairs of divisions in other conference = 8
36 games total
01-20-2021 11:16 AM
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Renandpat Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
(01-19-2021 05:27 PM)Nerdlinger Wrote:  Detroit and Phoenix seem like no-brainers to make 32, given the size of the metro areas.

Neither city has SSS plans to meet MLS's standards. The recent Detroit bid was to use Ford Field and Gores/Gilbert brought in the Ford family into the bid group so that the ownership "controlled" the revenues, but it would be the only non-retractable NFL stadium used.

Phoenix really doesn't have an MLS capacity stadium plan anymore as they even have a new location in Chandler.
01-20-2021 11:37 AM
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BePcr07 Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
One major reason the promotion/relegation works so well in Europe is geography. Everyone is significantly closer to each other. The U.S. is so spread out in comparison, even excluding Alaska and Hawaii. Seattle to Miami and San Diego to Boston are long hauls. Add in Canada and it’s even more spread out.

Two leagues of 20 works. Not a P/R but a Western/Eastern setup. Do it like baseball and set aside a couple crossover games. The champion of each meet in the finals.
01-20-2021 11:41 AM
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BePcr07 Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
(01-20-2021 11:41 AM)BePcr07 Wrote:  One major reason the promotion/relegation works so well in Europe is geography. Everyone is significantly closer to each other. The U.S. is so spread out in comparison, even excluding Alaska and Hawaii. Seattle to Miami and San Diego to Boston are long hauls. Add in Canada and it’s even more spread out.

Two leagues of 20 works. Not a P/R but a Western/Eastern setup. Do it like baseball and set aside a couple crossover games. The champion of each meet in the finals.

To supplement this post...using the Premier League as an example. For the 2020-2021 season, the furthest travel from one team to another is between Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion which is a 345 mile trek. Seattle to San Diego, is 1,255 miles. Seattle to San Francisco is 808 miles.
(This post was last modified: 01-20-2021 12:52 PM by BePcr07.)
01-20-2021 12:52 PM
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Nerdlinger Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
Per Wikipedia, there are 6 current expansion candidates: Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Louisville, Phoenix, and San Diego. Suppose all those efforts succeed, bringing MLS to 36 teams. Then each conference can align into 3 divisions of 6:

Eastern Conference
Northeast Division: Montreal, New England, New York, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto
Southeast Division: Atlanta, Charlotte, DC, Miami, Nashville, Orlando
Midwest Division: Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville

Western Conference
Central Division: Austin, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, St. Louis
Frontier Division: Colorado, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake, Seattle, Vancouver
Pacific Division: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose

The Frontier Division is a bit awkward, but I didn't want to break up the California teams.

Schedule:
2 games x 5 division opponents = 10
1 game x 12 other teams in conference = 12
1 game x 12 teams in 2 rotating divisions of other conference = 12
34 games total
01-20-2021 03:05 PM
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chargeradio Offline
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Post: #8
RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
The only thing I see happening in the near future is RSL relocating. Las Vegas would probably be the most likely destination, but the stadium issue would have to be settled. At least the Raiders play on grass, so there's a viable temporary venue.

Here in Louisville, there just isn't the high net worth owner that MLS requires. Indianapolis should be ahead in that regards, but I'm not sure Indy Eleven's primary owner even has the means to pull it off. RSL relocating east likely pushes Chicago to the West for good:

West
VAN, SEA, POR, SAC, SJ
LAG, LAF, DAL, HOU, AUS
CO, KC, MN, STL, CHI

East
NYR, NYC, NE, PHI, DC
TOR, MTL, CLB, CIN, (RSL)
MIA, ATL, ORL, CLT, NSH
01-24-2021 09:34 PM
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ClairtonPanther Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
I totally wished that Pittsburgh was in these expansion plans. MLS has a far greater growth potential. Trade the MLB for the MLS and I think it would work. Could always play in Heinz Field until a new stadium is built and play larger draw games at Heinz.
01-24-2021 09:49 PM
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BePcr07 Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
(01-24-2021 09:34 PM)chargeradio Wrote:  The only thing I see happening in the near future is RSL relocating. Las Vegas would probably be the most likely destination, but the stadium issue would have to be settled. At least the Raiders play on grass, so there's a viable temporary venue.

Here in Louisville, there just isn't the high net worth owner that MLS requires. Indianapolis should be ahead in that regards, but I'm not sure Indy Eleven's primary owner even has the means to pull it off. RSL relocating east likely pushes Chicago to the West for good:

West
VAN, SEA, POR, SAC, SJ
LAG, LAF, DAL, HOU, AUS
CO, KC, MN, STL, CHI

East
NYR, NYC, NE, PHI, DC
TOR, MTL, CLB, CIN, (RSL)
MIA, ATL, ORL, CLT, NSH

Assuming RSL doesn’t relocate, I’d be in favor of a 3-conference system. Play each team in your conference 18 times (9H/9A). Play each other team 1 time either home or away (switch every other year). That’s 38 games. Maybe make it an even 40 with 2 choose-your-own-adventure games.

West: VAN SEA POR SAC SJ LAG LAF RSL COL KC
South: DAL AUS HOU STL NSH DC CLT ATL MIA ORL
North: NE NYR NYC PHI MTL TOR CLB CIN CHI MN
01-24-2021 11:32 PM
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Erictelevision Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
Nerd: I might flip LV and Phoenix, but otherwise, pretty good.
01-27-2021 11:57 AM
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Bronco'14 Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
I'd love to see it, but I don't see MLS working in Detroit. The state's 2 Big 10 schools, plus Tigers & Red Wings, are what most sports-fans here in MI get enthused about. It helps MLS is a summer league, tho.
01-27-2021 01:28 PM
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schmolik Offline
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Post: #13
RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
(01-24-2021 09:49 PM)ClairtonPanther Wrote:  I totally wished that Pittsburgh was in these expansion plans. MLS has a far greater growth potential. Trade the MLB for the MLS and I think it would work. Could always play in Heinz Field until a new stadium is built and play larger draw games at Heinz.

You'd give up the Pirates?
01-29-2021 11:03 AM
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ClairtonPanther Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
(01-29-2021 11:03 AM)schmolik Wrote:  
(01-24-2021 09:49 PM)ClairtonPanther Wrote:  I totally wished that Pittsburgh was in these expansion plans. MLS has a far greater growth potential. Trade the MLB for the MLS and I think it would work. Could always play in Heinz Field until a new stadium is built and play larger draw games at Heinz.

You'd give up the Pirates?

Yup. Refer to the mlb hot stove for why.
01-29-2021 01:45 PM
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chargeradio Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
(01-20-2021 11:41 AM)BePcr07 Wrote:  One major reason the promotion/relegation works so well in Europe is geography. Everyone is significantly closer to each other. The U.S. is so spread out in comparison, even excluding Alaska and Hawaii. Seattle to Miami and San Diego to Boston are long hauls. Add in Canada and it’s even more spread out.

Two leagues of 20 works. Not a P/R but a Western/Eastern setup. Do it like baseball and set aside a couple crossover games. The champion of each meet in the finals.
The only way I could see promotion/relegation being viable in the US is to tie it to each of the conferences/leagues in MLS. The USL would then have to divide its competition in a way that is compatible with MLS, i.e., top 2 teams in USL Championship Western (Eastern) Conference get promoted to the the Western (Eastern) conference in MLS. I just don't know if there's enough depth out west to support 12-20 independent second division teams, especially if MLS keeps expanding.

Assuming MLS stops at 30 (hehe), this would probably be what USL Championship needs to look like in the last pre-P/R season:

West - Oakland, Orange County, New LA-area team, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, New Mexico, El Paso, San Antonio, Austin FC, Rio Grande Valley, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Colorado Springs, Boise, Tacoma (Sounders cut ties with the Defiance), Des Moines, Tucson

East - Buffalo, Providence, Hartford, Queensboro, Indy Eleven, Louisville, Memphis, Birmingham, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Miami FC, Charleston, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, NY/NJ (independent of the Red Bulls), Baltimore

Obviously the bench is a little deeper in terms of the size and number of markets available.
01-30-2021 05:21 PM
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Wedge Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
(01-20-2021 11:41 AM)BePcr07 Wrote:  Two leagues of 20 works. Not a P/R but a Western/Eastern setup. Do it like baseball and set aside a couple crossover games. The champion of each meet in the finals.

MLS teams each played 34 regular season matches in the last "normal" season. 34 matches is what you get from an 18-team league when each team plays home and away against each other team in the league.

That could be 36 teams in two 18-team leagues.

Even getting MLS to 36 is something for the long term, not the short term. There are rumors that some of the newer expansion clubs already awarded have been negotiating with MLS, because of the poor economy, to delay some of the payments due. It may be awhile before more ownership groups show up with enough cash up front to buy in to MLS. Enthusiasm and petitions alone won't pay those expansion fees of $150 million or more.
01-30-2021 06:21 PM
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AllTideUp Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
(01-30-2021 06:21 PM)Wedge Wrote:  
(01-20-2021 11:41 AM)BePcr07 Wrote:  Two leagues of 20 works. Not a P/R but a Western/Eastern setup. Do it like baseball and set aside a couple crossover games. The champion of each meet in the finals.

MLS teams each played 34 regular season matches in the last "normal" season. 34 matches is what you get from an 18-team league when each team plays home and away against each other team in the league.

That could be 36 teams in two 18-team leagues.

Even getting MLS to 36 is something for the long term, not the short term. There are rumors that some of the newer expansion clubs already awarded have been negotiating with MLS, because of the poor economy, to delay some of the payments due. It may be awhile before more ownership groups show up with enough cash up front to buy in to MLS. Enthusiasm and petitions alone won't pay those expansion fees of $150 million or more.

Also, with looming talk of a work stoppage, you can bet that some fans would walk away.

I cannot fathom the stupidity it takes to halt a league with lesser popularity simply because it's been in a growth phase and seems to be ascending.
02-01-2021 04:12 PM
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chargeradio Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
Sacramento has had an owner pull out, so their expansion bid may now be in jeopardy.
02-27-2021 01:27 PM
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Wedge Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
(02-27-2021 01:27 PM)chargeradio Wrote:  Sacramento has had an owner pull out, so their expansion bid may now be in jeopardy.

Looks like there was a fundamental disagreement about stadium cost. MLS was apparently insisting on a brand new stadium in Sacramento that would cost over $300 million to build, on top of a $200 million expansion fee. In contrast, MLS permitted Inter Miami to back out of its commitment to build a brand-new stadium before beginning MLS play, instead letting Inter Miami play in a renovated stadium 30 miles away in Fort Lauderdale while pretending that they will eventually build something new in downtown Miami.

Sucks for Sacramento soccer fans, but can't blame Burkle for not wanting to get jerked around by MLS.
02-27-2021 03:24 PM
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EPJr2 Offline
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RE: MLS Expansion - The Future?
probably LV, PHX and Indy in that order (at some point).
03-02-2021 03:05 PM
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