Vegas investment group eyeing piece of Columbus Crew

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Las Vegas and Columbus. You’re probably thinking there couldn’t be two more different American cities. They actually have a few things in common. While they both have plenty of party-happy college students and both love college football (though in Vegas, the folks love betting on it more than actually watching it), Vegas and Columbus could soon have their own soccer tie.

The investment group that has expressed interest in buying an expansion MLS franchise and placing it in Las Vegas is in talks with the Columbus Crew about buying a piece of the Crew, Tripp Mickle at the Sports Business Journal reported on Monday.

“It’s pretty close to being in the final stages,” said Paul Caligiuri (yes, that Paul Caligiuri), the group’s spokesman.

While Caligiuri wouldn’t say what percentage of the Crew the investment group was buying, the news of a sale of a piece of the Crew still has to raise worried eyebrows among Columbus fans.

Before Crew fans head toward team heardquarters with pitchforks and torches, they should wait until more is learned about this potential deal. Caliguiri does go on to state that the sale will have no impact on the group’s pursuit of an expansion team for Las Vegas.

Crew fans should hope not.

While we don’t know exactly what this group, led by California businessman Mark Noorzai, is up to it has to be at least a little unsettling that the group’s spokesman is Caligiuri, who is the same player who sued MLS so he could play for the Los Angeles Galaxy instead of the Columbus Crew, which he played for during the league’s inaugural 1996 season.

What do you think of this development? Are you a worried Crew fan? Are you an MLS fan who likes the idea of an expansion team moving to Las Vegas? Would you have a problem with someone moving the Columbus Crew to Las Vegas?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Columbus Crew, MLS- Expansion. Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Vegas investment group eyeing piece of Columbus Crew

  1. Louis says:

    Question for those who have been following MLS since its early days? why did they think putting a team in Columbus, Ohio was a good idea? no offense to columbus residents but it’s not exactly a big market

  2. I asked the same question.

    The answer I got was it draws both Cleveland and Cincinnati markets to games. It’s not only a Columbus team, it is an Ohio team.

  3. cowtown says:

    HSG and AEG need to complete the scaleback to one team each, so I am all for a sale, but I don’t want to see anymore team relocations. Lets build some history here, folks.

  4. Richie B says:

    It’s a large enough market for an MLS team and with the location of the stadium, I’d imagine that the Crew were hoping they’d attract a large number of Ohio State students to games.

  5. KingSnake says:

    Way to unsettle the team in the midst of a title run …

  6. brett says:

    i heard that they were planning on attaching the field to a hotel being built in LasVegas, assuming LV got a team (not taking columbus)….

    geez, as a fire fan i hope there is no talk of moving them from columbus… if so, give us STL…

  7. SF says:

    It says in the 2nd paragraph that they won;t move the team so I wouldn’t there was much to fear in that regard. If anything a new cash influx and new, owners interested in a shiny new toy might be in the club (and fans) best interest.

  8. Brant says:

    Columbus is a bigger city than people realize ( link to en.wikipedia.org )

    It’s bigger than DC, Boston, Seattle, or Denver. And that doesn’t include all the ‘burbs around Columbus (of which there are a LOT).

    It’s also dominated by 1 sports “franchise” and that’s Ohio State. The only sports there that are successful are those that don’t directly compete with OSU, like the Columbus Blue Jackets. The problem of Columbus isn’t the size of the market itself, it’s that Columbus as a city identifies itself with Ohio State, first and foremost (and often exclusively). There are plenty of people you can find at Ohio State soccer matches that won’t go near Crew Stadium, b/c they’re Ohio St fans, not b/c they’re soccer fans. I know, I’ve met them.

    Now, there are other issues – there’s no good public trans to the stdium, despite it being right in the middle of the city, and the state as a whole is completely in the tank for football. The local TV deal isn’t a good one, and not likely to improve any time soon.

    But Columbus as its own city, media market, and sports town isn’t the base of the problem. It’s converting those fans from scarlet-and-gray to black-and-gold.

  9. Brant says:

    As an aside, if The Crew move to LV, I’ll find someone else to cheer for, and hope the Railhawks can move up from USL-1 to MLS…

  10. elopingcamel says:

    I love love love the idea of a team in Vegas. However, I wouldn’t want them uprooting Columbus for it. If that is what it took for me to get a team in Vegas than I guess it would be preferable to not having one here, but Columbus has a history and it is sad to think of it losing that history (even if it isn’t a stellar one).

  11. bgnewf says:

    wow…won’t games in Vegas be simply too hot?

  12. Brian says:

    No way should MLS ever move a team again…the Crew as a franchise definitely needs a shake up in the front office though. Hopefully this leads to the franchise being more viable as long as they stay committed to Columbus.

  13. kpugs says:

    bgnewf, they play in south Texas, don’t they?

    I could care less about this news but were I a Crew fan I’d be worried. MLS clubs just aren’t worth that much, relatively speaking. It seems very odd to me that a group targeting an entire expansion franchise would buy a only “piece” of another MLS club. I can’t really make sense out of it.

  14. John says:

    Actually, the question about “why put it in Columbus when there are bigger markets?” is downright silly and condescending. Attendance in Crewville hasn’t been great the past couple of years. That’s because the team mostly was lousy and the administration has been stupid. That said….

    –the Crew initially were won of the bright spots in MLS with fan support and attendence.

    –it was the Crew who really showed the value of a SSS (and major urban markets where real estate was more expensive and there were more multi-use stadia felt their teams could do just fine in a ….Meadowlands….Arrowhead….Rosebowl).

    Going with Columbus was a brilliant piece of MLS decision-making, just like going into Salt Lake City. Those cities that aren’t viewed a MEGA Markets (ala NYC or LA) have been quick to embrace the team, give it coverage and view it as major league. Now the reasons why Columbus hasn’t exactly torn up the league attendance-wise the past 4 years have almost nothing to do with the area and mostly to do with the team and management.

    Finally, when and FCD effectively draws about 5-6,000 fans for a game (that is what Steve Goff said they really had with announced attendance of 12,000), when RB has struggled to draw fans (and yes, I’ve heard all of the excuses), when NO team is MLS draws 50-60k on a semi-regular basis, it’s really quite presumptious for ANY set of fans to look down on one geographic area or another.

    And I’m not a Crew fan. Just calling it how I see it.

  15. Dave says:

    Columbus is in fact a bigger city than DC but if you think that it has a higher population in it’s metropolitan area than you are kidding yourself.

  16. Dave says:

    Columbus is in fact a bigger city than DC but if you think that it has a higher population in it’s metropolitan area than you are kidding yourself.

  17. Brant says:

    Well, yeah, Dave, b/c you can drive from Richmond, VA to Boston, and never leave strip-malls and off-ramps…

    My point being that Columbus isn’t some podunk 1-cow town. It’s effectively a 1-team town, but that can be rectified…

  18. BlueWhiteLion says:

    I don’t think Caligiuri’s group is moving Columbus to Las Vegas, as he has implied they are not (and he would be a pretty idiotic human being to carry out a conspiracy against Columbus from a spat in the 90′s), I also think it is unlikely that a move would take place with the SSS there, and as John points out was a trendsetter for the MLS. I suppose you could argue you get championship caliber team (Crew as they are now) to start the “expansion” Vegas enterprise (a la Dynamo, but that was different circumstances), but man oh man, what a knife in the back to Columbus–a HUGE PR fiasco that I don’t think the MLS would recover from for a long time.

    I’ll bet that the Vegas group is just getting their foot in the door a bit more with the MLS, and making a stronger case to get a team there.

  19. elopingcamel says:

    The Vegas expansion’s stadium plans include AC and a retractable roof. It won’t be too hot.

  20. Brant says:

    “the Crew as a franchise definitely needs a shake up in the front office though.”

    What would you shake up about front office, and why? (not trying to be sarcastic or contrarian, I’m legitimately curious…)

    They’re in 1st place, and spent most of last year with a roster full of injuries

  21. jon says:

    if they move the team i will not watch anymore of mls!!! why take away a team that was the 1st team to have its own training facility and its own soccer specific stadium! we also heard about this earlier this year, since supposedly the crew cant get any1 to put their name on the stadium. whats wrong with keeping crew stadium? if theres any teams that should be re-located how about the 3 teams in california? or the 2 teams in texas? shoot even kansas city, everytime the wiz are on tv at home theres prolly about 500 people in the stands, ur telling me that columbus is not generating revenue? come on, their the best team in the league and the fans here in ohio have been lucky to have such a dominating buckeye football program. ohio state lost 1 game and then the next week at ohio stadium there were empty seats. why? cause fans here only care about wins. since the crew have been down and out for a few years so has their attendance, but take a look at this year’s attendence. its up from the past 3 seasons, why? cause the crew are winning! so if the crew continue to win, then the stands will continue to fill!!! PLEASE DONT TAKE MY CREW AWAY!!!

  22. TheUltra says:

    Those who are saying Attendance in Columbus has been poor are just flat out wrong. Even with a piss poor team the last three years we drew numbers on par with the rest of the league. Not to mention teams around the league lie out their ass about attendance, hell I went up to NE for the game this weekend and they announced attendance at around 15,000. That was a crock of Sh*t it was pouring down rain and there we pry 8,000 there at most. The thought of moving the first team to build a SSS and a founding member of the league is almost sacrilegious. Not to mention would be a shake up to future investors who have to put down the cash for a SSS off their own.

    As for the “small market” school of thought, Columbus is the largest city in the state of Ohio and is the only major city in the state who has a population on the rise rather than decline. I.E. Cleveland and Cincy keep getting smaller while Columbus keeps getting bigger.

  23. mike says:

    the crew will remain in Columbus. the las vegas team will be a separate

  24. Hincha Tim says:

    RSL just signed a deal for its stadium naming rights with Rio Tinto for an estimated $1.5 million/year.

  25. mike says:

    the crew will remain in Columbus. the las vegas team will be a separate

  26. Curtis Spiteri says:

    Las Vegas is just a bad idea, period.

    Vegas isn’t any different than other tourist heavy economic locations (New Orleans, San Antonio and Orlando), which barely have enough interet/$$$ from their service industry heavy economies to support one major league level sports team. And for Vegas, soccer is NOT that sport. Basketball (a high scoring, indoor game) would fit perfectly . . . but soccer? Please.

    IMHO, Vegas wouldn’t draw anymore fans than Columbus, FC Dallas, RBNY, Chivas or Kansas City. MLS doesn’t need another bad soccer market. But hey, if Las Vegas wants to throw their money away, let them go for it, but MLS would be stupid to add Chivas 2.0 to our league’s already crappy attendance in 5 markets.

    Personally, I think the Las Vegas group should do what they do best, gamble. they should bet on the odds for the next real MLS market. One in which MLS has serious investor interest and an actual history of soccer support; Portlnad, Montreal and Vancouver.

  27. Carlos says:

    I am not a Columbus Crew fan, but my understanding is that the Crew still lose money each year despite being in a soccer specfici stadium because of an inability to generate sponorship money from the Columbus area. Profitability in a SSS has little to do with attendance as FC Dallas is in the black despite worse attendance.

    I would think the Vegas group’s investment is kind of a “kick the tire” thing. Lets say the Crew make a championship run, or even win it all, and the team is still losing money, they could then buy the rest of the team and move it to Las Vegas.

    If the Crew’s championship run results in more Columbus corporate sponsorshiops, then the Vegas group just go a good return on their investment.

    Not a bad deal either way for the Vegas Group.

  28. Chad says:

    DC is a poor example to choose when comparing population size of city (as it is borders are federally mandated not to exceed a specific point).

    When you include the surrounding areas of DC, where most people who work there live, its population rise to around 8 million, comprising a much larger metropolitan area than Columbus.

    Not that I am arguing that Columbus shouldn’t have a team, an argument which I also find ridiculous, just pointing out the straw man arguments people are throwing around all over the place in here.

  29. Felix says:

    As an MLS fan, I don’t have a problem with the Crew being moved to Vegas. I often wondered how Sin City would support a major pro sport franchise and think they would do a good job of it – if done right. Plus, Columbus despite their small but loyal fanbase, are one of the biggest money losers in MLS, and I would think that they wouldn’t have a problem with finding sponsors and making money in Las Vegas. If I was a Crew fan, of course I would be pissed. And wonder why the Crew are being picked for a possible relocation when Chivas USA are wasting away in LA Clipperdom.

  30. elopingcamel says:

    Agreed. It makes no sense to move Columbus when you have Chivas already in the West and already homeless, but please re-brand the team if it ever makes a move.

  31. Tim F. says:

    If the Ohio community is supporting the Crew, keep the team in Columbus!

  32. Fid says:

    Carlos, you couldn’t be more wrong when it comes to Columbus and corporate sponsorships. In fact, this season has seen the highest generation of coprorate sponsorships in the teams history – aside from the lagging stadium naming rights deal, which has been a sore subject for years.

  33. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Relocation is missing link in all MLS expansion speculation. I can see Vagas or St Louis circumventing the expansion sweepstakes by capturing an existing franchise.

  34. Jim says:

    “It’s bigger than DC, Boston, Seattle, or Denver. And that doesn’t include all the ‘burbs around Columbus (of which there are a LOT).”

    Sports franchises always look at metropolitan areas. The Columbus area is #32 in that ranking and is far smaller than DC, Boston, Seattle and Denver. It’s also the 32nd ranked tv market. Vegas isn’t much better, but it keeps drawing interest because of it’s ridiculous population growth.

    I’d love to say it only comes down to support, but the reality is that profitability will be the deciding factor (as Carlos pointed out above). ANY owner, Vegas-based or not, would begin to think about moving if the Crew keep failing to turn a profit while in a SSS.

  35. kco says:

    The only club that should be moving anywhere is Chivas.

  36. Peen Us says:

    Didn’t a guy from OKC just buy a sports team in Seattle, telling their fans he wouldn’t move the team? Just wondering…

  37. If you look at only the population of a city (as opposed to the metropolitan area, which includes the suburbs), you’re missing far more important information. Columbus is the second smallest MLS market.

    Does that mean it was a bad decision? Hardly. Columbus made a lot of sense and had great attendance for a number of years. They need to prove they can do it again, but it’s not like they’ve always been a failure.

  38. giaco says:

    as a Fire fan, I would be dissappointed if there was a move of the Crew. Look, I’ll drop the gloves of verbal pugilism here that we normally have on as supporters of our respective teams and say that it would be CRIMINAL and detrimental for the sport to remove/move that team. Despite their troubles (real or perceived), I agree that as a founding member of the league, the Crew is part of MLS history. Look, if the franchise performs so poorly, or the finance is run so ineptly that it folds, that’s another story.

    Besides, who else in the midwest do we get to harass the crap outta? :P KC? yeah right. When the STL gets in (whenever that may be), there will be some great rivalries born–and then maybe we can unload KC into the West.

  39. Chris says:

    This is great. I hope they move to Vegas and rebrand. Colombus is a USL city. Hope it happens sooner rather then later.

  40. DL says:

    Columbus is a USL city? Considering that they’ve been an MLS team since the league’s inception, and never had a USL team, that is a ridiculous statement.

    How does one define a “USL city” and an “MLS city”? Population? Average attendance? If so, I guess that makes Dallas (average attendance), Kansas City (population and average attendance), and New York (average attendance) “USL cities.”

    Or maybe it’s just an individual’s relative lack of knowledge about a particular city that makes it a “USL city”

  41. Lee says:

    Well if there has to be relocation, it couldn’t happen to a better place than Columbus!

    Go Las Vegas Crew!!!

  42. jeff says:

    They should move the team to Vegas. This team doesn’t draw flies and plays in a no frills erector set.

  43. John Leonard says:

    I can’t see how the Crew would be moved unless a massive indoor stadium deal was also in place, which seems unlikely even in Las Vegas. The national economy is in the toilet and only getting worse and I can’t imagine too many investors are lining up to take on a monster like that.

  44. Steve says:

    Jeff,

    If you need “frills” in stadium to go watch a soccer match I don’t know what to say to you. It’s about the quality on the field, not the stadium, and all I have to say is, have you seen the standings lately?

    I would love to know what team you follow Jeff that you you feel you have a right to criticize the Crew’s attendence.

    Sounds like a lot of hatred and jealousy is taking over this discussion instead of brains. Because anyone with a brain would know that moving one teams in this league, let alone one of the original teams, and a standard bearer, would be a stupid idea for a league trying to grow and establish itself.

  45. Ed says:

    Why do I get the feeling that if you switched Columbus for Chivas USA the talk would skew much differently?

  46. KingSnake says:

    Anyone who believes that the Calgiuri offer is not at least a pre-cursor to a potential Columbus hijacking — I mean “move” — is naive. Of course they are planning it. Does not mean they will, but I guaran-damn-tee they have plans to do it. Otherwise, making a money offer for a portion of teh team would be foolish.

  47. thumpjosh says:

    can somebody fill me in on the soccer market/situation in las vegas? i’m in the dark.

    also, since crew fans haven’t been showing up to watch columbus play this year, regardless of managment and past records, they almost deserve to loose their team.

    some pretty decent football is being played at crew stadium.

  48. Fumar says:

    It is funny to hear people anchoring their arguments to “history” when the league itself has only been around 12 years. If we look 50 years into the future we’ll see MANY MLS teams moving and around, as well they should. Allowing a free-market apporach to this will only help the league. Initial outrage will subside and the new city will not give two craps how they got their team. As long as the move is profitable I’m for it.

    @Brant

    I agree with others on this board. The city size is irrelivant. This country works on TV markets and they are based on metro areas (link to en.wikipedia.org) and Columbus is #32 on that list. MLS can’t expand indeffinately or else the talent pool will be severely dilluted. Relocation is the only possible answer to the growing deamnd from wealthy investors for a team in their city. And it’s a very good thing. It means that their is a demand for this league.

    The MLS started by focusing on smaller markets where the competion for the sports entertainment dollar was low. But the league has now realized that soccer fans are NOT general american sports fans and revised their strategy to tap into existing soccer fanbases. Thus the DP and a greater focus on ethnic/cultural aspects of the game. So its a natural progession to move existing underperforming (profit-wise) teams to cities with larger soccer fan bases (meaning lots of immigrants). Eventually, Columbus, KC, and possibly even Salt Lake will be relocated to larger metro areas and it is a GOOD THING for the league.

  49. LongDuckDong says:

    Salt Lake to be relocated???? – You are saying this about a week BEFORE they move into their brand new sss?

    Has to be the mindless post of the year nominee….

  50. elopingcamel says:

    Re:

    I can’t see how the Crew would be moved unless a massive indoor stadium deal was also in place, which seems unlikely even in Las Vegas. The national economy is in the toilet and only getting worse and I can’t imagine too many investors are lining up to take on a monster like that.

    Posted by: John Leonard

    The investment group already is set up with the investors who are willing to drop some serious cash on a Las Vegas team. Finding investors is no issue whatsoever.

    ——————————————-

    Re:

    Because anyone with a brain would know that moving one teams in this league, let alone one of the original teams, and a standard bearer, would be a stupid idea for a league trying to grow and establish itself.

    Posted by: Steve

    I actually agree with you Steve that moving one of the MLS originals is a bad idea if nothing else than because it is sad. However, it wouldn’t be the first time the league has done this (cough cough SJ to Houston). Luckily, for the SJ fans, they got a team back without too much time passing, but I think the league has shown that they are serious about teams meeting certain criteria and that may mean that no teams are safe (except LA of course) :).

  51. Brant says:

    @ Fumar:

    “But the league has now realized that soccer fans are NOT general american sports fans and revised their strategy to tap into existing soccer fanbases.”

    Then explain why Rochester, Milwaukee, and St Louis don’t have teams, but Salt Lake does.

    Look folks – anyone who knows anything about the Vegas economy knows that pro sports are dead in the water out there. Forget the gambling issue. When are games played?

    afternoon (hot as hell there, even indoors)

    early evening (not as hot)

    BUT, that population boom is there to support, what? The tourism/service industry. And when are those people busiest? When the tourists are eating dinner and gambling. And when does that happen? Same time the team is playing.

    Sure the casinos will buy a bunch of tickets and skyboxes and give ‘em away to their “whales”, but that doesn’t build you fan base. The people you need to build your fan base can’t attend your games because they have to work when you’re playing, unless you want 9am kickoffs.

    There’s a really good reason no other league has planted their flags in Las Vegas, other than the spectacle-obsessed XFL. It’s too hard to sustain a fan base there.

    And if attendance is the only barometer, then someone needs to explain Chivas to me.

  52. KingSnake says:

    Btw, speaking of “stability”, this is the same league that five years ago assassinated — err, “contracted” — Miami and Tampa Bay, and just 2.5 years ago “moved” San Jose to Houston …

  53. Don says:

    Anyone heard of the National Football League’s Canton Bulldogs. NFL Champs and in the dustbin of history. Canton did end up with the Football Hall of Fame. Welcome to PROFESSIONAL Sports. The history of all pro leagues including the greatest are littered with bodies. Grow, change or die.

  54. bc6 says:

    I want the source or atleast link to where people are getting information on whether or not the Columbus Crew is profitable. I hope its not Forbes because that is mere educated speculation…. furthermore it doesn’t take into consideration the Stadiums income from concerts or other events held their. The Stadium coupled with the team are a profitable fit. Please provide links to facts that state otherwise. Or just shut up you ignorant fools.

  55. undrafted says:

    Crew fans are right to be concerned.

    A bit of a wild theory I have is that this is leverage to get a Vegas expansion franchise. Right now the Crew are valued by Forbes a good bit under the $40-50 million an expansion franchise would cost. MLS is pretty close to the long-standing obvious goal of 1 team/investor (but for 1/2 of Houston and the Crew). MLS has a need for HSG to start divesting from the Crew and I’m guessing few have sent HSG bids. The Vegas group might not be ready enough to win a bid for expansion right now. In 5 years, the league won’t be so eager to expand and franchise values might be much higher. So by buying in now, they’ll somehow get an in towards landing a team some years from now.

    Relocation is obvious, of course. They might need to pull a Montreal Expos and start killing off the market first before MLS would go along. Crew stadium isn’t quite up to SSS standards nowadays and in a few years will be over 10 years old. I can’t quite believe MLS (and HSG or the future owner) would just leave the building standing, but it’s not like there’s some side development like in other markets.

    I’ve bought that Crew financials aren’t still quite over the disaster of Andrulis-ball but with a top team, things should start recovering more soon or the path to profitability looks muddled.

    I’ve sat through 1+ year of Crew games in person and think we’re far from giving up on the market. Hopefully Crew fans can figure out who everyone is behind this bid and get a clearer idea of the intentions behind it.

  56. undrafted says:

    Crew fans are right to be concerned.

    A bit of a wild theory I have is that this is leverage to get a Vegas expansion franchise. Right now the Crew are valued by Forbes a good bit under the $40-50 million an expansion franchise would cost. MLS is pretty close to the long-standing obvious goal of 1 team/investor (but for 1/2 of Houston and the Crew). MLS has a need for HSG to start divesting from the Crew and I’m guessing few have sent HSG bids. The Vegas group might not be ready enough to win a bid for expansion right now. In 5 years, the league won’t be so eager to expand and franchise values might be much higher. So by buying in now, they’ll somehow get an “in” towards landing a team some years from now.

    Relocation is an obvious concern, of course. They might need to pull a Montreal Expos and start killing off the market first before MLS would go along but once 20 or so teams are all in SSS, who knows what the league might agree to. Crew stadium isn’t quite up to SSS standards nowadays and in a few years will be over 10 years old. I can’t quite believe MLS (and HSG or the future owner) would just leave the building standing, but it’s not like there’s some side development like in other markets.

    I’ve bought that Crew financials still aren’t quite over the disaster of Andrulis-ball but with a top team, things should start recovering more soon or the path to profitability looks muddled.

    I’ve sat through 1+ year of Crew games in person and think we’re far from giving up on the market. Hopefully Crew fans can figure out who everyone is behind this bid and get a clearer idea of the intentions behind it. It’s too typical a story to not be concerned.

  57. DME says:

    Columbus does a terrible job marketing itself to the greater region. Cleveland and Cincinnati are only about a 2 hour drive from Columbus. Pittsburgh and Indianapolis are about 3 hours. And these are easy all-highway drives. Those four metro areas combine for about 8 million people, but (as a resident) you see no Crew advertisement in the areas. The OH/PA/MI/IN/KY area contains a LOT more people than is commonly thought, but you have to market to them if you’re Columbus management.

    If the Crew are failing and have to move, it’s a failure of the management, not of the market. Is Columbus a perfect market? No. Is Columbus even the best market in that area? Probably not. But the Great Lakes Region is a huge market with a fair amount of soccer fans and you can reach a lot more people cheaply than you would initially think. It would be short-sighted for MLS to abandon that market.

  58. Peter says:

    Relocation ????? I think for the leagues sake they need to keep the Crew in Ohio. Their team was awful in the last few season’s and now they may win the S.S. They’re talking about relocation. Come on the only team that needs to move is Chivas send them to San Deigo. If we were going to relocate poor att.then NY,KC,CHIVAS,RAPIDS,SJ,REVS,DALLAS

  59. AndyinSeattle says:

    COLUMBUS CREW DOES NOT OWN ITS STADIUM THEREFORE WAS NOT FIGURED IN THE FORBES ARTICLE.

    If Las Vegas gets a team, they’ll have to rely on bringing rich foreign money to the games (and suites). How to do this? Bring in old, retiring foreign stars, of course. All tourists will see is a Galaxy knock-off, and the continuation of the MLS being thought of as a gimmick will continue.

    If you want to bring the team legitimacy, keep the Crew where they are. Again, look at the Packers, they’ve done more for the NFL than the Falcons.

  60. huricano says:

    Has anyone, including Ives, speculated on why this group has bought into the Crew? What would the upside be for them?

  61. “Are you an MLS fan who likes the idea of an expansion team moving to Las Vegas?”

    No, I’m an MLS fan who _hates_ the idea of an expansion team in Vegas. I’m sorry, but the city has yet to prove to me that it can support professional sports. Yeah, we’ve seen various games like the NBA All-Star game and the ArenaBowl there…but for those games, you will get a lot of people to travel to that location, and that they are special events makes it hard to determine how the locals feel.

    A pro sports team has already failed in Vegas. I don’t want an MLS team to be the next one.

  62. ShaUn says:

    I’ve attended 8 games this season and I live 4 hours away. I know for a fact that I’m not the only fan who makes a long drive just to see OUR CREW play. I can tell you that for each game I went to this season, the stadium was at least 70-75% full (except for the Chivas game in early April but it was raining the whole time, so that’s completely understandable). If the team were to relocate, MLS would lose a lot of dedicated and loyal fans from not just my area but also the state of Ohio. It would be a shame. Plus, this is not what the CREW needs right now as they are trying to remain focused as the playoffs are only a month away. GO CREW!!!

  63. elopingcamel says:

    Re:

    A pro sports team has already failed in Vegas. I don’t want an MLS team to be the next one.

    Posted by: WeatherManNX01

    I’d be very interested to know which pro team you are referring to. If it was the old Las Vegas Quicksilvers from the NASL days, well you can hardly say that a failure here was any different than the failures across the board of that league. I know that the Utah Jazz played like 10 games here in Vegas in ’82 or ’83, but I don’t know if that really counts as a Vegas pro team (not to mention that much of the population boom in the area occurred after 1983).

    Vegas has had a few attempts at random minor league and tiny niche-sport teams, with the most notable perhaps being the AAA baseball team the Area 51s (formerly Stars). They have gone through a few ownership groups over the years and have rarely had much success on the field, but they have generally been well received and supported by us locals. I hate baseball, but have gone a number of times just for the fun of it.

    With the exception of three years (between ’02-’04), I have lived in Vegas all my life and to tell you the truth, most of these minor and niche-sport league teams that pop up and die out do so without us locals ever even hearing about them. For example, I didn’t learn that Vegas had an NPSL team until a year and a half after they had folded (due to a lack of a viable investment group). If you are referring to any of these minor league or niche-sport league teams then the best I can say is that niche-sports rarely do well in any market, and are almost guaranteed to fail when they aren’t advertised, marketed, or promoted.

    What you have with LVSEG and MLS is an actual pro sports league with national televised coverage (at least on ESPN2 and Gala) and an ownership group committed to succeeding. I repeat, I’d love to hear whatever great example you have of a pro sports team failing in Vegas and not “proving to you” that Vegas can succeed. Arena football and the XFL are lame examples of sports worth supporting.

  64. Ron says:

    The Crew have failed in Columbus. To the guy defending Crew’s attendance numbers, sorry but you have zero credibility. On DK Most Crew home games have been played in front of vast acres of empty yellow bleachers. It’s just embarassing. It’s too bad, too, because the Crew are good this year, and Schelotto is flat-out dazzling at times. Despite the quality of the team, no one goes to the games.

    The Crew probably ought to be relocated, cuz it sure ain’t workin’ in Columbus. But Las Vegas, even with a retractable-roof, air conditioned stadium, won’t be any better. Columbus may be a one-team town dominated by Ohio State, but Las Vegas is a one-trick pony dominated by gambling.

  65. Steve says:

    Ron,

    Again, if you want to relocate all teams with bad attendance start looking for places for NY, NE, Chivas, KC and others as well as Columbus.

    This bullcrap that Columbus is succeeding so they “have” to have great attendance is a joke because teams with more recent greater success are having troubles with attendance as well and no one comes on here kicking and screaming about them moving like they do Columbus.

    Just because you are in NY, LA, or NE doesn’t mean you are a better community for soccer because you are bigger and have more people. So, if those numbers are down what makes it so they should stay an MLS city and Columbus shouldn’t?

    Market size has nothing to do with it, but history shows that if the team is doing well and proves to be run correctly Columbus is a very good market for soccer. Just look at the prior history of this club not including the last 5 years or so.

    Everyone wants to blow off the history of this team as to why this team should remain in Columbus, but the history shows the fans will support this team.

  66. Steve says:

    Another thing Ron.

    Youi quote seeing yellow seats on DK as your “evidence” why Columbus is such a horrible market.

    Try coming to a game before you form such an idiotic opinion.

    I have been to every game at CCS this season and last. Sure,some games are more disappointing than others, but the crowds this year have been better than in the past. The only thing that cures bad crowd is competent management and winning and the Crew are showing both this season. And with a young team like they have there should be little doubt about the immediate future.

    If it stays this way after a few more years of winning then come back and talk to me. No one knows how bad management and this team has been here over the last 4-5 years like Crew fans and to have outsider fans like yourself come in and say we don’t support soccer in Columbus shows how ignorant you are about the situation.

  67. Mike says:

    So this is how MLS rewards what is arguably its most loyal franchise; the first to build a soccer-specific stadium? MLS is starting to implode, opting for marketing (Beckham, Vegas) over substance. The business model has to go, but this isn’t the way to do it.

  68. Ron says:

    Come off it, Steve. Over the course of games the camera shows most of your empty Crew stadium. It makes watching your games painful to watch, a good team on the field with some world-class players, but with a crowd that looks like a women’s college soccer crowd and sounds like three guys yelling at a high school game. Other than a game or two where maybe you have 10k or so people in the seats the Crew’s turnstile numbers have been obviously terrible, despite having a quality team. So much for your theory that a good team will bring the people out. It hasn’t.

    And pointing the finger at other poorly supported teams hardly helps your case. It just shows MLS’s vaunted strategy of “build the SSS’s and they will come” is too often not working. It is not working in Columbus, it is certainly not working in Dallas, it is not working for Chivas, and it is a horrible flop for Colorado, whose turnstile numbers are even worse than the Crew’s.

    Even more ominous for non-drawing teams like Columbus is MLS’s salary cap. This means that succesful teams on the field (like Columbus this year) have to get blown up after some brief success and trade away most of their good players to stay under the salary cap. So what happens when Columbus goes back to the basement after (presumably) winning an MLS Cup or two? Answer, your bad attendance gets even worse, and you are still losing money.

    So even the best case scenario is a picture of commercial failure. A number of MLS teams will likely have to relocate, and COlumbus is likely one of them.

  69. Steve says:

    What team in sports has ever gone through a long stretch of losing and absolute failure throughout the organization and gotten back attendance?

    Answer: Very very few if any.

    Why would you expect Columbus to just come back to watch an organization that has been horrendous through 1 good season when it doesn’t happen in precious places that are protected like NY, LA, and NE that you completely ignore are having attendance problems of their own, after having more recent success? Answer that while ignoring the good fan history of the Crew before all of the crap happened here. What a rediculous argument you have.

    I do wonder what team you support that you feel like you can look down on the Crew and their support and just think that they need to be relocated because you said so.

    I would also suggest you check attendance numbers for the season before you say a few good games and everything else around 10K.

    What is painful is listening to this rediculous argument you have made up in your head to need relocate the Crew when there are many teams who are having the same, or worse, problems.

    And telling me to come off it is not a good argument. You have no idea about anything Columbus Crew and are just talking out of your butt.

  70. Steve says:

    BTW that first comment should be: What team in sports has ever gone through a long stretch of losing and absolute failure throughout the organization and gotten back attendance right away?

    Plenty of teams have gotten back attendance after complete failure. But it takes time and earning back the fans trust and winning.

    The general rule has always been that the second year is when you see an increase in attendance.

  71. Justin O says:

    Steve

    Just a general comment, and not really relating to the specifics of the latest news, but the connection between attendance and team performance in MLS has always been tenuous at best. I’m not saying that isn’t changing, and I’m not saying that Columbus might not be an exception, but by and large, MLS has not shown much of a connection between winning and ticket sales.

  72. johnie says:

    Move Chivas to Vegas and rebrand them. that would put them half way between LA and RSL. It would give people in LA another reason to go to Vegas on the weekend too! Please, please, no Vegas games on Thursdays or Sundays.

  73. Ron says:

    Steve, again, as if comparing yourself to Dallas helps. OK, if it makes you feel better, Dallas has failed in Frisco, too. Chivas is doing every bit as bad as the Miami Fusion and look where it got the Fusion.

    Attendance figures from the league/club don’t mean anything. That is just tickets distributed, including the ones given away for free which still ended up in the wastebasket. The turnstile is everything when it comes to real attendance.

    It is funny to hear the rationalizations of the empty stadiums. “Oh, well, you see, there was no one in the seats, but wow there were lots of people on the mezzanine!” Or, “well, you see, the camera only showed the rainy/sunny/hot/cold/snowing/tornado stricken/bubonic plagued/ etc. side of the stadium! The 20,000 people were on the comfortable side of the stadium, which is always completely out of camera view, sitting on laps!”

    Puh-lease… Talk about fabricated arguments. If there really are all these tens of thousands of fans who show up at every Crew game, please tell them to stop coming dressed as empty yellow bleachers. And tell them to cheer louder than the chirping crickets.

  74. bc6 says:

    Steve, don’t argue with a moron. Ron is a scourge to this debate and has nothing of any value to bring to the table.

  75. Brant says:

    Just an FYI for those of you who haven’t been to Crew Stadium

    The vast majority of the season ticket holders sit on the same side as the cameras. The three sections right behind the bleachers are the premium “bucket” seats instead of benches, and the sun goes down behind that section, so it’s not in your face the entire second half like it is sitting on the opposite side (the side facing the camera).

    The west side of the stadium, where around the cameras, has been downright crowded for every game I’ve been to this year, except for 2: the game v Chivas (in the rain) and the game against Metapan (exhibition).

    .

    .

    .

    Again – if the only argument you have to make is that of attendance, then point your cannons somewhere besides Columbus, because Chivas, FCD, RSL, and others are doing far worse.

    .

    .

    .

    Note:I don’t count KC (right now) b/c they have a small park while they get their new one built, and their MAX attendance isn’t as big as COlumbus has been averaging.

  76. Justin O says:

    Brant

    As a completely and totaly neutral onlooker – going by admittedly less than exact appearances on TV – Chivas, FCD, Colorado, NY, NE, and Columbus really all look close to the same, when you factor in day of the week, weather, and the other usual factors. It really doesn’t look like any of them are doing “far worse,” or far better, than any of the others. Somewhat better or somewhat worse, perhaps.

  77. Steve says:

    Ron,

    One last comment and I am done because you have done nothing but make up facts and put words in the mouths of Crew fans.

    My argument is not that other teams have bad attendance, but that if those other teams have bad attendance why is no one calling for them to be moved like they are the Crew, especially teams in larger markets. What makes them so protected?

    Go to a game. It is a fact that one side of the stadium is always more full than the other, minus the supporters section on that other side.

    And to say the stadium has been quiet this year is a joke considering there is always constant noise and from the supporters section. Just a suggestion. Try turning up the volume on your DK. You know, the thing that makes noise? Or hell, try coming to a game at CCS before you make ignorant comments.

    Anyway, since I have asked 2 times now. What team is it you support that you are some expert on this opinion and think you are able to look down on the Crew.

    My guess. Not one that is at the top of the league. Oh wait that would be the Crew wouldn’t it?

  78. Brant says:

    Justin – you’re reiterating my point for me. If the issue with Columbus is the lack of attendance, then we should be talking about relocating 6 other teams, too.

    (not directly addressing Justin here…)

    If the issue is the lack of naming rights deal for the stadium, waaaah. We have a stadium not named after some idiot freakin’ company. Is that *really* that important? “Soldier Field” or “St James Park” or “Highbury” or “Craven Cottage” or “Olympiastadion” sure sounds a lot better than “Enron Field” or “Xcel Energy Park”. Yeah, I know that it’s still known as “Crew Stadium”, but that sounds better than “DIck’s Sporting Goods Park”.

    There’s been an underperforming team there for a while. 2004 they won the Supporters Shield, imploded in ’05 and brought Sigi in to clean up the mess. ’06 he started putting his players in place, and ’07 would’ve been much better had everyone not been hurt. Now that the players are in place AND healthy, look at what they’ve got.

    They’re still (at best) the third team in a one-franchise town, but they aren’t really competing for the same audience the Blue Jackets are. But is it really that bad of a market? I hardly think so. Crew fans are there, and they’re vocal, and they’re fun, and they’re passionate. Yes franchises move, but they usually move to better situations, and I cannot possibly fathom how Vegas is a better situation.

  79. elopingcamel says:

    I don’t think the argument is who should be traded, because if that were the case I think a fairly loud and resounding “CHIVAS” would be shouted from the rooftops. They’ve been around fewer years than the Crew, average fewer fans per game than the Crew, have no stadium of their own (unlike the Crew), etc., etc.

    In a perfect situation, the Vegas group would be in negotiations to buy shares in Chivas.

    What we have instead is a situation where Hunt owns two teams, while the guy that owns the Chivas mothership only owns one MLS team. The chances of him wheelin’ and dealin’ with a new ownership group are slim to none. So (and perhaps after researching and discussing options with the league and a few owners), the only real option was the Crew. You’ve got a new ownership group in KC (another team that “should” move before Columbus) that seems very committed to staying put, you’ve got RSL and NY finally getting their own stadiums (so they are definitely not going to move any teams within a few years of getting their own stadium) and both have solid and committed owners, SJ just came back (and thus won’t be moving), Colorado just got a stadium a few years ago, etc.

    The only other group (that i am aware of) that owns more than one team is AEG, but not only has Houston only recently moved to Houston (and probably unlikely to be moved), de la Hoya has already done what these guys want to do: he bought himself a stake in the team.

    My guess is that, despite Caligiuri’s “history” with Columbus, this is nothing personal; it may have been the only option open to them to not only bring a team to Vegas, but maybe just to get their hands on a team.

  80. Fumar says:

    “Salt Lake to be relocated???? – You are saying this about a week BEFORE they move into their brand new sss?

    Has to be the mindless post of the year nominee….”

    -LongDuckDong

    I’m thinking long term here. Like 15-30 years long term. Salt Lake is a small market, without many Latin American or European immirgants. That just doesn’t bode well for long term attendance. On the other hand, if the new stadium makes them profitable then so be it. Profitablility is what ultimately will bring in big-bucks investors and with it credibility. But thinking LONG TERM it just doesn’t look like small market teams like Salt Lake can support big expensive franchises. It’s fine for now, just not LONG TERM.

  81. Fumar says:

    To all those calling for Chivas, it seems they’re drawing in almost 1,400 more people per game than Columbus.

    link to soccernet.espn.go.com