Report: MLS in “significant discussions” to create expansion team in Atlanta

MLSLogo2013

By DAN KARELL

Atlanta is looking more and more likely to be one of four sites that Major League Soccer plans to expand to by 2020.

A report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution states that billionaire owner Arthur Blank is in “significant discussions” with MLS and Don Garber to bring a new team to the capital city. Blank, who owns the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, received some good news on Thursday in his efforts to build a new stadium for the Falcons, and previous reports have stated that he’d like the stadium to house an MLS team as well.

The city of Atlanta found enough private money to buy a piece of property on the land that the Falcons would like to build their stadium on. The stadium is expected to be finished in 2017, and could cost an estimated $1 billion.

Atlanta is no stranger to soccer, and the summer of 2013 has been very kind to the city. The NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks won the NASL Spring Season title, while the Georgia Dome hosted a Gold Cup doubleheader this summer with an announced crowd of 54,229, a record attendance for soccer at the Dome.

Back in April, Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay said to the Atlanta Business Chronicle that the team and ownership group were open to a number of options when it comes to operating an MLS franchise in the city of Atlanta.

“We believe that a world-class city like Atlanta needs a Major League Soccer team, and that Major League Soccer will be very successful here,” , McKay said. “We are trying to facilitate that happening by configuring a new stadium to accommodate the requirements of professional soccer.”

Back to the Atlanta Journal Constitution report, even if there is no MLS team in Atlanta when the stadium opens, the report states that there have been discussions about hosting an MLS match there anyway.

On Wednesday, Garber told TSN while in Toronto, Canada that three of the four potential expansion franchises were “already spoken for.” Atlanta might just count themselves in that list.

——–

What do you think of this report? Do you like the idea of MLS in Atlanta? Do you believe they could support a team? Do you see the league expanding to multiple teams in the southeast United States?

Share your thoughts below.

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

332 Responses to Report: MLS in “significant discussions” to create expansion team in Atlanta

  1. Cameron says:

    Atlanta would definitely be able to support an MLS team. Would they draw 40k a game like Seattle? No. But who’s left who would? If the new stadium utilizes a similar technique to what they have in Vancouver (closing off the upper deck), the team should be able to draw relatively well and maintain a solid atmosphere in the state of the art downtown venue.

    • Jeff carter says:

      Attendance for the Braves and Hawks are consistently poor-to-average. Thrashers attendance was embarrassing. Bad pro sports town

      • jim in Atlanta says:

        I love the way people keep siting the thrashers as if more than 1% of the state’s population even played or watched hockey and a basketball team that has been bad for more than 20years as reasons for MLS to not come to Atlanta . Put 20+ years of bad hawks basketball in NY or California and tell me that those team would be well supported. GET REAL that argument is dead.

        • Steve Wise says:

          +1

        • Davy Crockett says:

          Ice hockey never had a chance in a city people call Hotlanta.

          I like the move, the noted TV exposure is huge, especially with the Turner family of channels. It’s possible that a lot of games get national broadcasts without NBC/ESPN covering them).

          Dallas, Chicago, New England, Red Bulls, etc. all have complaints about how far out the stadiums are from the city. This stadium settles that. I could see the younger demographic in Midtown really adopting this team. Silverbacks stadium suffers from this.

          Personally, I want a team in Nashville. But it’s about the same distance away as Atlanta, and I’ve actually lived in Atlanta, so I’m pumped. Maybe in the future Nashville and Charlotte or Raleigh (Carolina deserves one, too) will get a team too, and well have our own regional rivalry, but I know that’s a loooong-term dream.

  2. BKBOOGER says:

    Don’t know about the Atlanta market, but I still feel the league is expanding too fast. They need to focus on expanding television viewership first and foremost.

  3. bryan says:

    after the report that “3 of 4″ expansion teams have been locked in, i was wondering who, besides Beck’s and Orlando, was considered a lock. interesting that it’s Atlanta.

    • bbstl says:

      I was wondering the same thing. Are they including NYCFC in this?

      If not, I would agree that they are Beckham (Miami), Orlando, and Atlanta – 3 teams in the SE. Interesting, indeed.

  4. jim in Atlanta says:

    :) :) :) hehehehehehehehe

  5. Rob says:

    THANK YOUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE LET THIS HAPPEN!!!!

  6. Jimmy says:

    YES!!!!!!!

    MLS in SE!!! Do it!!!

  7. ELAC says:

    As long as it doesn’t involve Chivas USA, I’m for it.

  8. Roman Lewandowski says:

    Mixed feelings about this. Atlanta is an over-saturated sports market, and the suburbs are extremely far from downtown.

    On the other hand, soccer in the Southeast!

    Still not letting go of my pipe dream that some billionaires will fund a new stadium and a real team in Charlotte…

  9. Ron says:

    Not buying it – at least not yet. Do the Silverbacks have much of a following?

    Also, the NFL stadium works for the Sounders, it definitely does not for New England. Seems to me that Atlanta support would be a lot more like New England than Seattle.

    • jim in Atlanta says:

      Says the guy who knows nothing about Atlanta and has probably never been there. The silverbacks don’t get support because they are old, bad and have zero advertising or fan interest in a city full of transplants. A winning team of any kind is the only type of team in any sport that works in a city like Atlanta. A struggling team will never get great support because the transplants will just support teams of big cities or those from their old cities.

      • Roman Lewandowski says:

        Your comment seems to support his. At least that’s how I read it.

        • jim in Atlanta says:

          No it’s the exact opposite. Read it again. He claimed the lack of support for the silverbacks was a reason for Atlanta to not get a team. I pointed out how that argument was irrelevant, made no sense and therefore held no weight in regards to MLS in Atlanta. If you don’t know the city and its sports history then you shouldn’t comment.

          Most people just post the same dribble they hear on ESPN about Atlanta without actually trying to understand why things were that way and how things are now. Only winning teams work in Atlanta . If you have bad owners and a history of losing in a city full of people from other states, do you really believe they are going to support the local team(s)?

          The braves of the 90s go great support, the Dominique Wilkins hawks got great support, 97-98 Superbowl falcons got great support. But all these teams when through more tha. 10-15 years of losing and having bad owners. Meaning more transplants came to the city, had children and didn’t want to support the losing teams and children of course followed suit.

          Look at the falcons now or even when Vick was here for that matter. The braves have assembled a world series contending team for the first time a years and they are on the right track, the hawks finally have a GM who knows what he’s doing and are on the right track and fans are turning out to games.

          That’s the reality of Atlanta. Anyone who sits here and just spouts nonsense about how Atlanta is a bad sports town without providing any context or evidence shouldn’t be taken seriously. ESPN isn’t a valid source, they love big cities and big names, any chance they get they bash the little guy and have everyone believing their rubbish.

          • Roman Lewandowski says:

            So you agree that it’s a bad idea, but you think only an Atlanta native should be able to make that claim? That seems to be the crux of it.

            • jim in Atlanta says:

              Is reading comprehension a new concept to you or something or did you simply not read the reply at all. When did i ever say it was a bad idea? That’s the exact opposite of my argument, that’s the entire reason for my lengthy response to disprove any nonsense arguments that have no proof.

              Please read slow and carefully if you need too.

              • Roman Lewandowski says:

                You described, in great detail, a fair-weather fan city, something every pro sports league hopes to avoid.

                “Reading comprehension” quips on this site never fail to amuse me.

              • jim in Atlanta says:

                No a fair weather city is a city like Cleveland or Miami. Where the city is majority locals and natives who don’t support their teams because they are bad but do when LeBron comes to town lol. Atlanta is a lot like DC, their are probably more transplants than actual locals and natives. Atlanta is essentially a blank slate. If a competitive soccer is placed here it will succeed because their is no other team in region, mls is growing, their are thousands of soccer fans without a tram to support and the transplants who support other cities team. I don’t think they would continue to support the ”redbulls” or ”dc united ” over their equally if not more competitive Atlanta counterparts.

                Nothing you say will change the facts that you know nothing about Atlanta or its soccer fans. Your just spouting ESPN nonsense talking points.

              • Roman Lewandowski says:

                I know nothing about Atlanta soccer fans, either from your posts or these un-cited ESPN articles. I have no reason to change my opinion that Atlanta is a lukewarm sports town beyond football.

                Let me reiterate that I’m excited about the prospect of soccer in the true Southeast (even though I will not dump my adopted team in favor of an Atlanta team).

              • Roman Lewandowski says:

                I know nothing about Atlanta soccer fans, either from your posts or these un-cited ESPN articles. I have no reason to change my opinion that Atlanta is a lukewarm sports town beyond football.

                Let me reiterate that I’m excited about the prospect of soccer in the true Southeast (even though I will not dump my adopted team in favor of an Atlanta team).

              • jim in Atlanta says:

                You won’t dump your team lol. That’s the exact type of person that I have been describing and is part of the problem. If you are from Atlanta the irony here would be too much too take.

              • FRANK FROM SANTIAGO says:

                No a fair weather city is a city like Cleveland or Miami. Where the city is majority locals and natives who don’t support their teams because they are bad but do when LeBron comes to town lol.
                Can’t speak for Cleveland, never been there,BUT in Miami it’s because of beautiful beaches and women( don’t get me started on the heat) that people rather do other things than sit for 2-3 hours watching a game….Atlanta or Cleveland don’t compare,sorry

              • jim in Atlanta says:

                I know they don’t compare. I never compared them. Imwas using them as an example of a fair weather city which they are. If you denied that fact then you never watch a basketball game before, during and after LeBron lol

                Don’t act like there aren’t other things to do in Atlanta. With the hawks being bad generally people would be out doing other things in the city and then show up on Sunday to watch falcons. many athletes and celebrities spend their off time in Atlanta, yeah Miami has more but try to say we aren’t close or are closer to Cleveland is pure blasphemy

                Get real.

              • Roman Lewandowski says:

                I won’t dump my adopted MLS team because Atlanta isn’t THAT close to my city. And what kind of fan would I be if I chose a new team simply because it is four hours away (not really that much closer than DC)?

      • scb says:

        So “a winning team of any kind” is what it takes to get support, but the Silverbacks “don’t get support because they are old, bad”, etc? Are you aware they won their league’s Spring season and will host the overall championship this fall? Or that they do have a fair bit of support? Maybe you don’t know that much more about Atlanta than those of us who have “probably never been there.”

        • Roman Lewandowski says:

          Good post

        • jim in Atlanta says:

          Yes in a city full of transplants who support their old teams because the home teams have been bad for so long. Yes, a winning team or a competive team if that helps you understand needs to be in place in order to breed fans. That is more relative to basketball, baseball and football here in Atlanta who have well established teams and leagues with large fan bases. But when it comes to mls in the south least where their isn’t a team and an emerging league. A competitive and well managed team in Atlanta would not have to try and win over fans from say dc united or the New York redbull. They would support the local mls team.

          And yes i know the silverbacks won but that doesn’t mean they get great support, their is support though. Their are even more transplants here now and acting as though the silverbacks have been anything but a nightmare for years is complete misinformation, they are not a well known commodity to most transplants of even kids born after 95-97 for that matter.
          I was born way before that and I remember growing up a see the hearing about the silverbacks but they were always mentioned in passing or as an afterthought. The silverbacks have never been taking Seriously in Atlanta for one, as i previously stated. They don’t advertise, they are seen as novelty, they play under a highway, and when they started nit may people took NASL seriously anyway. With MLS here they would probably become the lower division of the team gaining them more support and credibility.

          Yes, i know more about my city and the silverbacks and soccer than someone who hasn’t even been here and is just spouting nonsense that the national media has everyone believing.

          • MyPurpleUnderCracker says:

            Jim,
            ATL will definitely get a team and than be neglected by fans just like every other ATL franchise over the past two decades. Terrible fans from that state. Damn people wouldn’t even show up for events at the Olympics in 96.

            Unfortunately, money will prevail over good sports people. Here’s hoping San Antonio gets a franchise. Great city that appreciates its teams and can connect with their athletes.

      • Steve Wise says:

        The Silverbacks’ stadium holds 5,400 approximately, and it often attracts 4,000+. In Doraville, a northeastern suburb. Not too shabby for minor league soccer. As I indicated earlier, the EPL vs. Mexican League matches and the recent Gold Cup doubleheader have drawn 35-54,000 in the Georgia Dome downtown. i have no doubt that a MLS franchise will do extremely well here in Atlanta, especially if it owned by Arthur Blank.

        • jim in Atlanta says:

          From Atlanta, went to Chamblee high, drive down Peachtree all the time, grew up in Lithonia, know 285 and 85 and 20 like the back of my hand , girlfriend lives in Atlanta. I know my city.

      • Tim H. says:

        You’re not giving a very convincing argument. Fact is fan support, through the bad times and the good, are what make a great fanbase and franchise. Atlanta and Miami are horrible locations and decisions for the MLS. It makes sense for the television sets. When the franchise is losing money due to empty statdiums and lacking merchandise sales, it will be another blight on the MLS.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      Read the linked article…Silverbacks games attract some folks

    • DG says:

      I have the same question. Do fans buy season tix when they know there is always infinite walkup seating available?

  10. Tim H. says:

    I’m all for the MLS expanding in the southeast. But Atlanta worries me. It is a transient city that has had troubles with attendance with their other pro sports teams. They’ve had not one, but two NHL franchises come and go. I hope the fans are there to support it. You could say the same thing about Miami, but it seems MLS is gung ho about giving Beck his franchise there. Those two markets are large but don’t deserve MLS teams based on their lack of support for other sports IMO.

    • Roman Lewandowski says:

      Great post. MLS seems to thrive in second-tier cities that have only 1-2 other pro sports teams. Think KC, Columbus, Salt Lake, Portland, even Seattle.

      At least in theory, cities like Charlotte, Indianapolis, Nashville, and Oklahoma City could be great for MLS.

      • Jeff says:

        Not a bad thought about smaller cities with only a couple of pro teams. I’ve only been to one match in Nashville, though, and wasn’t too impressed with the crowd. (Trinidad qualifier 2009)

      • bottlcaps says:

        Well the ownership of the team is a key issue. It seems like the MLS is forgetting it’s own policy of building a soccer specific stadium for its franchises. As I read the SBI article, it seems that the Atlanta stadium would be an NFL stadium first and host MLS games as a secondary revenue stream. This is EXACTLY what the MLS wanted to avoid; Having a 20,000 MLS crowd in a 60 thousand seat NFL stadium does not work well.

        Remember Seattle had a terrible fight with the owner of the Supersonics who wanted, in a bad economy, the City to build for the Millionaire owners, a new stadium at Taxpayers expense. When the City balked, the SuperSonics bolted to Oklahoma City and the City Embraced the Sounders, NBA fans in Seattle were disappointed but sports fans found a new sport and embraced it.

        Georgia is football county and their football is played with a pointy ball.

        For the MLS to acquiesce to an NFL wishes to a detriment of Soccer and the MLS is stepping backwards.

        Yeah, the Atlanta area has had a good record with lower division soccer but Georgia (Clint Mathis aside) is not a real hotbed of soccer..

        Again ownership is the issue. The Owner of the Atlanta Falcons is looking out for the owner of the Atlanta Falcons and not the MLS or soccer. Should the marriage not work out, the franchise would be worth even less as there is no soccer specific stadium as an asset for the franchise, A major asset of the team, it’s soccer stadium would be controlled by another sport. Again, Bad for the MLS!

        There is probably a lot going on with this than we know about, but what has been made public is really disappointing.

        It seems in it’s wish to have franchises in the south, it is willing to suborn it;s own policies that it has made other franchises follow. Not a good sign.

      • Tim H. says:

        Seattle is a second-tier city? Granted they only have two pro sports teams. But a city of four million folks and is that affluent is far from second-tier.

        Despite that rant, I understand Gerber’s thought process. The largest markets will help in the negotiations for the next TV contract. Being a college football fan and alum of a Big Ten team, this was the sole theory in expanding to 14 teams and adding Rutgers and Maryland. But the league will not benefit from a publicity standpoint, nor by ticket revenue and merchandise sales in two cities that will have stadiums that are half-filled with a disinterested fanbases. The Railhawks have shown they are rabid about their team in North Carolina. San Antonio would be an impressive site for a MLS squad. And St. Louis is a mecca of sorts for soccer in America. These are not major metropolitan areas. But they will have diehard fanbases that will gobble up tickets and gear on a continual basis. Which is something we need if the MLS and soccer is to grow in the U.S.

    • jim in Atlanta says:

      Hockey and soccer are two completely different sports my friend. Whoever thought hockey would work in Atlanta is an idiot. I would argue there are just as many soccer fields as football fields in the metro area.

      And who cares who you think deserves a team based on zero facts whatsoever

  11. Mark says:

    At least it’s not another Canadian team in the USA’s FIFA mandated “domestic” league.

    • downintexas says:

      Amen

      • EspinDOHla says:

        Amen x2

        I posted something similar in an article after the all-star game announcement.

        Canada is biggest enough to support its own league. It is strange that our domestic league has 0 teams in the SE while Canada has 3.

        Use the 3 Canadian spots on teams in the SE…how about ATL, Carolina (Charlotte?), Orlando. The 4 new spots can go to St. Louis? Minneapolis? Phoenix? Sacramento? Miami? Nashville?

        On the positive side, at least it seems like we are getting one team!!!
        (fingers crossed)

    • bottlcaps says:

      Actually, you would need the MLS to encourage more franchises in Canada. Winnipeg, Edmonton, Quebec, Calgary, Edmonton and a few more could be the genesis for a 10 team MLC (Major League Canada)

      • Pepe says:

        Yeah… I don’t think the existing Canadian teams would want to become North America’s SPL to MLS’s EPL…

        • Roman Lewandowski says:

          True. Hopefully we can use Canadian cities to get to our ultimate (and still far off) goal of two leagues with pro-rel.

        • Beto says:

          Lol, Canada already has a better third team (and currently second team) than the SPL! Maybe they will do it someday soon

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      There was a period of time when Montreal was competitive in CCL — in the minors — and pulling 12-13K, more than several MLS teams like New England and Dallas at that point. All of the Canadian teams are well attended and the irony is that the stretch was the first choice, Toronto, which has an incredibly loyal fanbase in spite of what the FO does. Chivas has a couple rough years, FO trouble, attendance tanks, and people want to move them by comparison.

      The real problem with Canada, as with much of MLS expansion, is the low hanging fruit is gone. You’re back to riskier choices like Edmonton, Ottawa, Calgary, etc. Similar to Miami, Orlando, and to me Atlanta.

      I think San Antonio is obvious and then I think we need to look at places like SD that have size and interest but would need the ownership and the stadium situation to match up with the latent fanbase. To me it makes more sense to find the markets and bring businesspeople to them, than to find businesspeople and try to foment interest in a soccer market. Atlanta to me is a NFL owner trying to justify his stadium more broadly than himself — like Minnesota — but not necessarily with the soccer fanbase to run with.

      People will of course point to modest support for minor league teams for several years but I see a big jump from 5K to 10K in terms of how that translates to a big league team.

  12. Jeff in St. Louis says:

    (sigh)

  13. EspinDOHla says:

    Nice!!!!!

    MLS in the SOUTHEAST!!!!

  14. ed - houston says:

    Still not sold on Atlanta or Miami, Carolinas -perhaps, Orlando -for sure

  15. DP in ATL says:

    I live in Atlanta, and all I can say is “Dooooon’t do it!”

    • jim in Atlanta says:

      I bet you think all people in Atlanta just like rap music, dredds and worldstarhiphop. So they will have no interest in soccer. As a person who was born raised in Atlanta has experienced just about every part of the metro area and surrounding areas. There are tons of soccer players and fans in the city limits alone. Fans who don’t like football and are diehard soccer fans.

      Stop listening to the naysayers on national sports stations and go out and see for yourself and i mean ACTUALLY go out and see for yourself.

      • Oculus says:

        I thought your comment cross the line. You seem to have ill feelings for people that wear dreadlocks and listen to hip hop music(us blacks folks). Dreadlocks originated with the Rastafarian movement. The Rastafarian movement was an African-based movement of spiritual ideology, which arose in the 1930s in Jamaica. It is more then a religion, it is a “Way of Life”. Hip Hop is poetry at its base, however like all modern music, has moved away from its roots. However if you listen to J-Cole,Lupe, Ab Soul, Joey Badass, Action Bronson or Kendrick, these new rappers reflect the roots of Hip Hop. Lauryn Hill, Tupac, Public Enemy and Erykah Badu, are examples of what Hip Hop is. Hip Hop is a way of Life. Since all music, has black roots, I suggest you pay more respect to another form of “black music”.

      • Michael Stypulkoski says:

        Did you miss the part where DP in ATL lives in Atlanta?

        • jim in Atlanta says:

          Lol I guess me being black, living in Atlanta and used to have dreads, braids and an afro a various points in my life means nothing here and makes me a bigot with out of line comments. Did I mention I was raised Muslim?

          • Oculus says:

            Then your previous comment makes no sense. If you are indeed “black”, and once had dreadlocks, then why is this not reflected in your previous comment. It is your previous comment, that led me to believe it was racist. Which is why I gave you a detailed history into Hip Hip and Rastafarian movement.You made it seem having dreadlocks and listening to Hip Hop, was some how negative, which is why I responded the way I did.

            • jim in Atlanta says:

              No that was your own assumptions I never stated anything about race until you started to lecture about hip hop. I was making a statement about the stereotypes of people in Atlanta. Don’t make assumptions. My comment made perfect sense when read without preconceived notions

              • Oculus says:

                Maybe your comment made perfect sense from your perspective, because you wrote it. However from an observer perspective, it came off differently. Your attempt to make a “statement about the stereotypes of people in Atlanta”, may have been in good nature. However the way it came across from my observation, was that having dreads and listening to Hop Hop music was wrong. Sometimes the perspective of a writer, can sometimes be viewed differently from the Observer. Which is why news papers have editors.

              • jim in Atlanta says:

                I quote.

                “I bet you think all people in Atlanta just like rap music, dredds and worldstarhiphop. So they will have no interest in soccer”.

                Smh, so your telling me that statement came across as being racist and meaning anyone who falls in that category is bad?? Rather than the person who might think those things I stated being ”bad” and or ”racist ”?? Hmmm interesting.

            • bk says:

              Oculus, you are boring. Go somewhere else to play the race card

  16. The Imperative Voice says:

    Bad idea, who cares if they have an ownership group and a stadium share and if it fits some abstracted notion of geographic balance if there isn’t enough fan interest.

    If Beckham gets his Miami franchise and Orlando and Atlanta get teams that’s three potential dogs. Someone will sit down and cry when they think we’re passing up near 5 figure crowds for minor league soccer in San Antonio, for pretend regional balance. What, do they think a USFL will spring up in the vaccuums? Pick the best cities each time and eventually the south will have some fans worth bothering with, probably when it’s time for MLS2.

    • Roman Lewandowski says:

      I agree with parts of this, but I can assure you the Southeast already has fans worth “bothering with.” I can say from experience that soccer has become extremely popular in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Tennessee (at least in the heavily populated areas). No one pays attention to MLS because no team is remotely close. DC and Florida never will count as the Southeast. Cities like Charlotte and Nashville would be great MLS cities, based on what we’ve seen from MLS cities so far. Of course those two, like all current non-MLS cities, have their problems. But if MLS insists on forcing it with places like NY2, Miami, and Atlanta, it should force it, with cities that meet the model.

      • EspinDOHla says:

        “DC and Florida never will count as the Southeast”

        ^this, this, and this again

        Every time I bring up having a team in the SE, people say, “Well, Orlando is getting a team…” Well, geographically, the are in the SE. Culturally…they are not.

        People in SE states would support an ATL team but Florida teams…no so much.

        • matt says:

          Orlando and Miami are further from much of the Southeast than are cities like Columbus, DC, or even Philly. Also, look no further than the Atlanta Braves – for a long time they were the only pro baseball team in the southeast so now they are the de facto “team of the south” they have fans everywhere down here. Lastly, “geographic balance” is important for TV market penetration. A 3rd team in NYC or LA draws 0 new TV contracts. Get Atlanta in, and there’s new TV markets. That’s how leagues thrive these days: if only 15000 lukewarm fans show up in Atlanta the larger TV deals will still justify it.

          • EspinDOHla says:

            Amen!!
            Born in Mobile, AL….life long Braves fan. My relatives in the Carolinas…life long Braves fans as well.

            • KCHog says:

              Me too! We had Braves days in school in the 90s in Mobile. I have family all over the SE and have lived in other states in the region. Braves fans are everywhere. A well-thought out team in Atlanta will draw interest region-wide.

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            They can’t sell out a 7.5K SSS after years of existence, many seasons they average 1-3K and right now it’s 5K. 15K lukewarm fans is too high. I think it’s a potential Miami.

            Meanwhile San Antonio pulls 7-9K in their HS stadium.

            We have several national TV deals that create the vast majority of exposure. That means MLS is already on TV plenty in Atlanta on networks everyone gets. That also means MLS is on TV in NYC and North Dakota for that matter. Heck, I watched MLS in England when I was there. The idea we are underexposed is a myth,

            Local TV deals are just a would-be cash cow. The league requires you to have one. That you have one does not mean people can see it — Houston’s airs on cable half the city can’t see. That you have one doesn’t solve attendance woes — if the ratings and by extension rights fee reflect similar disinterest. And even if they could get TBS to start, will that last if it’s a 90% empty football stadium? As either a relevance or economic concern fans in seats cannot simply be substituted by some hopeful “southern TV strategy.”

          • g-dub says:

            Right on about TV markets. TV market money and sponsorship potential is more of a driving financial factor than ticket sales.

            This sets up a dillemma for we true fans of the league and soccer in general. We want to see loyal fan bases and cities with passionate fans (ie San Antonio, Chatlotte) be rewarded with teams. But it’s large media markets that bring the cash – even if ticket sales and gameday atmospheres are weak.

            Also MLS needs local dollars to fund top rate soccer venues, so it must follow the cash to cities that can get stadium deals done. (Stern perfected this with the NBA – making localities compete to subsidize arenas).

            At the end of the day the passion of the fans, good turnout, and the history of the team don’t matter much in expansion decisions. Media markets and stadium deals do.

            One last point: I do believe MLS undervalues fan culture and the passion of its fans. A lot of the appeal of soccer over other sports is its unique fan culture and organized support. MLS is late to realize this aspect, and its competitive advantage relative to the other American sports.

  17. Reed says:

    I don’t know if people have seen this or not, but it just blew my mind:

    link to ajc.com

  18. jcalvert says:

    I would love to see the MLS in ATL because it would give me a reason to follow the MLS. I really have no team to call my own.

    For some context on the fan base in and around ATL, I live 90 miles SW of ATL. I have had season tickets to the Falcons for the last 5 years (my waiting list number came up after the Vick debacle, go figure).

    I have 5 seats – Falcons games and tailgates are a great family affair. I would do the same thing for an ATL MLS team, assuming the price was reasonable. The ATL area will support MLS, but as another person said, ATL metro area really only supports a winner. If A. Blank is the owner, there will be no issues building a quality team that will be fully supported.

    • John F says:

      I live in Birmingham, a twohour drive away. I’d buy tickets for sure; a couple of games a year at least. The ATL teams have a reach far beyond the metro area.

    • Connie Valenti says:

      Count me in as a supporter of an MLS team in Atlanta! I live in Greenville, SC & would be willing to drive 3 hours to support a team. That said, Charotte is only 1 1/2 hours away. Those saying teams in Florida are for the SE fans – are you kidding!?!? Orlando is 9 hours away & Miami is even farther!

    • Dog says:

      I would drive from Chattanooga for MLS games in ATL. Count me in.

    • Kejsare says:

      I like y’all’s enthusiasm

  19. Travis says:

    Kind of echoing a lot of what has been said already but I agree that MLS needs a presence in the SE however I am not sure Atlanta is the answer. From the Atlanta sports I have seen the attendance really has not been great, especially when teams aren’t amazing. I hope this works out well but I am not feeling to confident about it.

  20. rafavic says:

    Atlanta is not a good choice. Have you ever heard of a major city like New York, Boston or Chicago having to beg people to come to a playoff game when your team is in it or at least a contender? Atlanta did and has. I’d say go to Charlotte after Orlando and tell Atlanta thanks but no thanks or you’d be a great permanent MLS 2 team. I know that MLS made Seattle blow up but I’m just not seeing Atlanta copying that success at all. Someone above me said they’d be more Revs than Sounders and I agree.

  21. Brad says:

    Virginia Beach.

  22. AzTeXan says:

    The Atlanta Braves are the best team in the NL and only average 29,879 in their 50K statdium. The Hawks are perennially bottom five in NBA attendance even though they always make the playoffs. The Thrashers are now in Winnipeg. But hey, at least they support the Falcons!!!!

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    link to espn.go.com

  23. AzTeXan says:

    I can’t get my comments to go through, but just imaging a bunch a statistics showing how apathetic Atlanta sports fans are and links to various sites backing up those claims. Who knows, maybe it will work some how.

    • AzTeXan says:

      Highlights include the Braves filling just about half their stadium, the hawks being in the bottom 5 in NBA attendance and the Thrashers moving to Canada.

      • AzTeXan says:

        Because anytime you can expand to a city that only supports its NFL team you have to do it.

      • jim in Atlanta says:

        The guy states an awful team not having support, a hockey team in a state where about 1% of the population plays hockey, and a baseball team that DOES fill 60% of the stadium for a nighttime game against the offensive juggernaut the Miami marlins lol but just puts that in there to try and support his false and idiotic claims.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      And do you have the stats for all those folks filling up Pizza Hut Park (or Toyota Stadium or whatever it is now), one of the teams in the state you are from? The attendance is pathetic there…

    • Steve Wise says:

      The Atlanta soccer audience is somewhat different from the fan bases of other sports. The Gold Cup doubleheader drew 54,000. Summer matches between EPL and Mexican clubs typically draw between 35-45,000. If marketed properly — admittedly, a big if — an Atlanta MLS franchise should draw 25-35,000. (Most of the comments on this site seem to be uninformed about Atlanta.)

      • Cavan says:

        Attendence for one-off events are usually double and triple of average attendence for an 18 game season. Check out attendence for USNT friendlies at RFK vs. DC United attendence or most any MLS city.

  24. Todd says:

    Here is a question, does Atlanta have a supporter’s group big and loud enough to rally behind? I think that should be a major factor if or when Atlanta is given a an expansion franchise. Look at how the Sons of Ben made the Union relevant in Philly.

    • Todd says:

      Additionally, before MLS expands further, they need focus their attention on teams that are having issues with attendance and stadium issues. Im still not sold the DC will get their stadium. NE Revolution is having serious issues, Columbus can only fill their stadium once every 4 years for a World Cup qualifier, no one goes to a Chicago Fire match any more, and don’t get me even started on Chivas USA.

      • John O'Donnell says:

        Wow, that is a big surprise as all of them teams stink or are rebuilding. Just like in every other sport in the US, teams that aren’t winning, don’t draw well. The NFL doesn’t sell out every game in cities like Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa Bay, Oakland, St. Louis………………

  25. drew11 says:

    This is probably just a PR move by the Falcons to get their NFL stadium deal done. The Vikings talked up MLS at a similar stage in stadium negotiations. Later they designed a stadium not all all attractive for soccer. Even college baseball was given priority over soccer in MN. I think we are getting played here.

    • Steve Wise says:

      Not a PR move at all. The Falcons’ owner, Arthur Blank, has been talking for over 10 years about a soccer franchise. The issue had always been who would be responsible for building the stadium. He tried to get the Tea Party government in northwestern suburban Cobb County to pay for it, but that was a nonstarter. Now that he’s got his new Falcon stadium on the way, that’s not an issue. The new stadium will have different configurations for NFL football, soccer, big basketball tournaments, concerts, whatever. It’s being designed that way. It will not have to be retrofitted.

      • jim in Atlanta says:

        Thank you god. Someone who actually follows Atlanta sports and states facts about what is actually going on and not just spouting nonsense heard on ESPN and from friends.

    • jim in Atlanta says:

      Fail.

      The stadium is already a done deal. Find some other way to try and discredit this proposal.

  26. EspinDOHla says:

    I find it HILARIOUS that so many on here state that Atlanta should not get a team and cite the attendance figures of some other ATL professional teams.

    If having a sellout to near sellout every week is your barometer, then the majority of teams that are currently in MLS shouldn’t be in MLS because they sure aren’t meeting this qualification. I watch the games every week on NBCSN and almost always, there is a significant amount of empty seats. But, “ATL doesn’t sell out Braves/Hawks games” so there shouldn’t be an MLS franchise in ATL.

    KC, PDX, and Seattle can form their own little mini-league I guess…

    • Beto says:

      In your support, the reason i dont have too much faith in the Rev’s even tho Boston/NE is a huge soccer area is because the other 4 pro teams, even the minor league sports!, in the area have such strong support. Same can be said about Chicago.

      Im not a big fan of ATL but its a huge market where the four other leagues are exactly dominating.

      • O'Spud says:

        The problem the Revs have is they play in football stadium located deep in the sticks. Soccer fans throughout the greater Boston area are sitting on their wallets until the team builds a stadium inside the city. People don’t want to hike out to the middle of nowhere on a regular basis to see the Revs. Got nothing to do with other sports.

    • Roman Lewandowski says:

      The barometer in MLS clearly points to second-tier cities like KC, Columbus, Salt Lake, Portland, and Seattle. Atlanta does not fall into that category.

      • jim in Atlanta says:

        Are you incapable of any kind of logic? So Portland, Seattle and kc are second tier? Some what are dc, Montréal, third tier with la being the only top tier. Stop now please.

        • Roman Lewandowski says:

          Cities like New York, LA, Chicago, DC, and Boston have underwhelmed in terms of support (not talking about on-field performance). The cities I named have been phenomenal. How was I not clear?

          • Big Chil says:

            It’s interesting that you mention that. I’m not arguing either side here, btw. In the cities you mention (and by L.A. I assume you mean just Chivas), the ownership built/plays in stadiums that are poorly located to the city. (Chivas is a marketing/expectation problem and should probably be excluded).

            The best exceptions to the rule are probably SKC & RSL which are not central, but draw well in small-to-mid markets. Marketing lessons? Location lessons? Both?

      • EspinDOHla says:

        Lol! Columbus averaged 14K in attendance last year and that’s the barometer??

        I think ATL will do just fine!!!

        Crew stadium is packed/sells out once every four years. Only 3 years and 363 days to go!!!

      • O'Spud says:

        I’d say the barometer points toward urban stadiums rather than suburban/exurban stadiums.

        • Roman Lewandowski says:

          SKC and RSL call that into question.

          • O'Spud says:

            And Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Houston (which comprise six of the league’s top eight in attendance) answer your question.

        • Big Chil says:

          I would agree for the big markets. As Lewandowski pointed out, Chicago, NYRB, Chivas, DCU, and New England suck in attendance.

          But, a well-marketed, non-central/suburban location can do well in a small-to-mid market.

          Expect NYCFC to destroy NYRB in attendance.

      • Left Wing says:

        I agree with this. I know Sacramento is likely not getting a team but I’m confident if they did the city would go nuts. They would rally behind it and own it.

        In the big cities its just an eh.. Maybe I’ll go to a dew games with the kids. In “2nd tier cities” you get people adopting it as an identity.

        I’m in the Bay Area and nobody really really cares about the quakes they are a bout the giants niners etc. but in Sac people go nuts for the f’ing aaa baseball river cats.. They own it. Same mentality..

  27. Dog says:

    So happy. We need MLS in the Southeast. Soccer is an event sport. It is a real pain to make it downtown from the suburbs, but people will do it every other week. Atlanta will be fine, can’t wait to take my kid to see the Galaxy play live!

  28. Joe Dirt says:

    Too many fools on this board not seeing the bigger picture.

    It’s all about TV markets folks just like Conference realignment in college football. MLS can increase its negotiating power in next years TV rights deal if its gone ahead and announced an expansion team in markets like Atlanta and Miami.

    Folks, the league has gotten this far by getting enough attendance to stay operation thru collecting gate receipts, but to take MLS to the next level we need bigger TV Rights contacts.

    We took a major step a few years back when NBC Sports came over the top with their bid of 21 Million which was triple what FoxSoccer was paying. In contrast the combined TV rights of the NFL across all networks is over 1 Billion.

    To get more viewership to increase those TV Rights contracts MLS needs teams in bigger markets like Atlanta, Miami, St Louis, Phoenix, and Minneapolis instead of smaller markets like Orlando, Charlotte, San Antonio.

    MLS 3.0 is all about getting more eyeballs to watch the game on TV, which will give us more room to increase the salary cap, invest in an acadamey system. MLS 2.0 has been accomplished in getting most franchises into soccer specific stadiums, DPs, and living off gate receipts.

    Next years bid for MLS TV rights is also a double whammy because the ESPN contract and the NBC Sports contract expire at the same time combine this with Jan/Feb labor contract negotiations and it sets up to be a critical year in 2014.

    I have no doubt we are going to bigger and better things next year.

    Don Garber has shrewdly taken this league from the brink of going under and contraction of two teams to being on solid and growing financial footing, $100 Million franchise fees, most teams playing in SSS stadiums with no more gridiron lines thank God, solid TV contracts with more aggressive bidders, average attendence nearing 18k per match. When its all said and done and 30 years from when us old timers will be reminiscing about the early days of MLS, fans will regard Garber like NFL fans regard Pete Rosell of the NFL.

    • Mouse in Joe Dirt's Pocket says:

      So when you say “we” is that because you work for MLS or are you talking about the mouse in your pocket?

      • Joe Dirt says:

        I do not work for MLS. Sure it would be fun gig though.

      • Nick Chavez @NickChavezMLS says:

        It’s OUR league. OUR country. OUR soccer. (or football, whichever you prefer). Facts that are often ignored by a disappointing number of supposed soccer “supporters” in this country.

        And, no, I don’t work for MLS.

      • John O'Donnell says:

        So buying tickets, MLS live, Kits, hats, scarves……………. means you shouldn’t say we? But WE should cheer, watch games, buy products and Support? I think it’s okay to say we.

        • Left Wing says:

          Everyone investing their time and actually worrying or looking forward to Atlanta is a “We”. This is all of our baby.. And it’s about to move into jr. hiigh and we’re nervous.

          good points above re bigger picture tv rights.. etc. still worried about an NFL stadium and hot lanta fan base

    • Roman Lewandowski says:

      You make some good points here; but, for the record: St. Louis is not a major city or TV market by any stretch of the imagination; Minneapolis/St. Paul certainly counts as a mid-size market. On the other hand, San Antonio, which you dismiss, is a top-ten city.

    • jim in Atlanta says:

      I’ve not stated any of this in my previous post because they have been concentrated on pointing out nonsense arguments made by people who don’t know anything about the city but just want to recite Mike Wilbom and tony kornhieser. But yes I am fully aware of Atlanta’s national tv rating. People forget about Turner. That’s cnn, tbs, tnt, truetv, tcm, cartoon network, star!, ShowTime, boomerang, headline news, and TURNER SPORTS just to name a few.

      That’s money. Money that would go towards the league. People here watch the network and is the 4th largest tv market in the nation.

      • Roman Lewandowski says:

        Just curious–what are these ESPN articles and Wilbon/Kornheiser pieces you keep mentioning? I don’t watch ESPN, so I’m a bit baffled.

        I do know that:

        -The Thrashers unceremoniously moved;
        -The Hawks are a joke attendance-wise;
        -The Braves, consistently a good-to-great franchise, have underwhelming attendance figures; and
        -Driving from point A to point B in the Atlanta area easily can take over an hour. Who wants to do that twice on, let’s say, a Tuesday or Wednesday? All of the people who would drive from Charlotte/Charleston/Birmingham/Nashville, etc. would only do so for the Saturday games.

        • Joe Dirt says:

          Most matches are on Saturdays. Traffic isn’t as much an issue on Saturdays in major cities ya know. In general my point is not specifically about Atlanta but that for MLS to take the next step forward we need to fill out expansion in as large TV markets as we can. Atlanta, Phoenix, and Miami all fit this.

        • jim in Atlanta says:

          Are you from Atlanta? What are you taking about? You keep making claims that sound so much like word of mouth nonsense spread by friends to people who have never been to Atlanta.

          On a weekend it would not more than 30mins for anyone who lives outside the city limits and doesn’t have nearby Marta access to get to downtown.

          STOP MAKEING CLAIMS YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT.

        • jim in Atlanta says:

          For the UMTENTH time. The hawks have been bad for 20+ years of course they have bad attendance combine that with transplants makes their support even worse. 1% of the population plays or watches hockey in the state. To think that the thrash were going to succeed was completely naïve but more so idiotic. So it was hardly am unceremonious leaving when no one cared anyway. Their are thousands of untapped/unclaimed soccer players and fans in Atlanta who need a team and will support said team. Your claims hold no weight stop trying to use them

    • Joe Dirt says:

      BTW

      Shout out to the 309s and 109s.

      You know who are.

    • g-dub says:

      Thanks for this helpful post Joe. I wrote something similar in a response below with much less info.

      One point I’d looks to add though us that I believe MLS undervalues the benefits of a passionate fan base. Supporters culture is unique to soccer among American sports and is a competitive advantage over competing sports. So yes – TV markets are where the cash is – but I think there’s longer term less quantifiable value to be captured in rewarding passionate fan bases.

    • Joe Soccer says:

      “To get more viewership to increase those TV Rights contracts MLS needs teams in bigger markets like Atlanta, Miami, St Louis, Phoenix, and Minneapolis instead of smaller markets like Orlando, Charlotte, San Antonio.”

      While I don’t disagree with your general point, Orlando is actually a bigger television market than St. Louis, and Charlotte is almost as big as St. Louis. Without looking at the demographic numbers, I would guess that both Orlando and Charlotte are also growing faster than St. Louis, so it probably won’t be long before St. Louis is smaller than both of them.

      • Joe Dirt says:

        Then sub in Orlando or Detroit for St Louis. My point is to go with the bigger TV markets to fill the expansion gaps.

    • 91213 says:

      Sounds a lot like the same “plan” the NASL had long about 1978 or 1979. That went well…

      MLS 3.0 will be about the big TV deals as much as anything else, as the Hunt gentleman in Dallas said the other day. But the growth that produces the big TV deals cannot be forced by artificially plopping MLS franchises into top TV markets. That fake crap doesn’t work in soccer—unless you’re in support of MLS events suddenly masquerading as NBA games with PA announcers screaming “Let’s make some noise!” every nine seconds.

      Soccer and MLS aren’t baseball/MLB, football/NFL and NCAA, or basketball/NBA and again NCAA.

      Garber is no fool—the only place he’ll stick an artificial MLS franchise (read: no existing fanbase, no existing club, no existing stadium) is New York City, and he’s done that. He’s not going to risk the future of MLS 3.0 and the future-future for MLS 4.0 by having a bunch of soul-less, artificial franchises playing in NFL stadia and drawing 12,000 people in exchange for having those franchises located in these “top TV markets.”

      • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

        New England?

      • Joe Dirt says:

        Take the training wheels off buddy and put your big boy pants on. MLS is no longer a fringe league. MLS as an entity hauls in tons of money thru its SUM Marketing subsidiary. putting a few teams in big markets is not going to send them under. We need to stop comparing a single entity salary capped MLS with the wild west operations of the old NASL, apples and oranges now.

  29. Mikebsiu says:

    After a yr or two they’ll draw around 12-13k. Ehh whatever

    • jim in Atlanta says:

      Haters gone hate. I wonder what these haters are going to say in ten years when more Africa Americans start playing soccer and usa becomes even better, then finding out those kids decided to play soccer thanks to mls in Atlanta. Imagine if local athletes like Dwight Howard, josh smith, low Williams kids decided to play soccer.

      • Roman Lewandowski says:

        They tried the same thing with hockey in Atlanta. Outreach can work in so many ways, not just by putting a team in one city; and, frankly, the MLS has bigger priorities right now. The NFL can worry about outreach. With a few bad expansions or something like a lockout, MLS still could take a nosedive.

        • jim in Atlanta says:

          STOP STOP STOP, STOP!!!!!!

          What don’t you get? You keep saying hockey. Hockey was never going to work here anyone from Atlanta would tell you that. Unlike hockey there are actual soccer fans and players here. I’ve have stated this to you like a million times now but you keep bringing up hockey!

          Why? Are you trolling or just not reading?

          Jesus

          • Roman Lewandowski says:

            -Soccer is equally as “new” and “foreign” in the South as hockey. That’s probably a big reason why we don’t have a team yet. Another example–the SEC does not even sponsor men’s soccer.

            -I don’t recall you mentioning hockey in a response to me even once, let a lone a million times.

            =I’m trying to say things as tangibly as possible, as opposed to comments like “everyone says.” Call it trolling if you want. A lot of people agree with me.

          • Camjam says:

            Jim, I think you’re the one who needs to stop. There is plenty of credible evidence of ATL being a crappy sports town. 9th largest market in the country that consistently has bottom 10 attendances for TWO major sports, both of whom are regular playoff teams. And, yes, running the Thrashers out of town is relevant considering Phoenix manages to get enough attendance to scrape by, and that’s with the league owning the team .

            • quozzel says:

              Normally I would agree with you…but Atlanta is a weird combo of predominantly African-American communities and an endless sprawl of upper-end ‘burbs. White people in Atlanta, anyway, tend to have money, and they tend to be from somewhere else, and drawn heavily from the professions. Youth soccer is truly massive in Atlanta; when you add up the likes of the Concorde Fire, GSA, Norcross Fury, Chelsea, etc, etc…you see a huge chunk of the top youth teams in the Southeast, all in one town. So the Academy base is there, and honestly, the nascent fan base is there, as it wouldn’t be for a lot of other sports…in particular hockey! Arthur Blanks is a real sharp guy and I have no doubt he would use Seattle and CenturyLink Field as his model…if you’re looking for exactly how to combine NFL and MLS stadiums, the Clink is proof positive it can be done and done well. Could it work? I think so. As others have touched on, transport in Atlanta is sketchy at best – MARTA is horrid – and that might limit the fan base some but heck, even Georgia Tech manages to pull 60K into Bobby Dodd and the Yellowjackets haven’t done anything in college football for 20 years. As with everything else, execution and marketing are going to be the real key….

            • MLSatlanta says:

              Is it really that hard to understand that soccer fans are an entirely different group of people than the other sports? I live in Atlanta and I find baseball games to be painfully boring so I don’t go watch the braves. Ive hardly ever been interested in hockey so why would I support the thrashers?

              You bring an MLS team to Atlanta and I’m at every single game. Why? Because I’m a soccer fan. And there are thousands of people jus like me.

              Sorry but it’s just not that complicated.

              • Kejsare says:

                I think there is an argument to be made that because it is a new team and few Atlanta residents have adopted a MLS from where they previously lived, the city and recent arrivals can become more easily attached to a MLS team. Which is unlike NFL and MLB based on anecdotal evidence.

              • jim in Atlanta says:

                Its like talking to a wall. Ive tried tirelessly to explain this to them but they just won’t listen or choose not too.

        • Ryan says:

          This ignores the important fact that youth soccer has a strong tradition in Atlanta with some of the best high school and club teams in the country, producing multiple players (male and female, white and black) with national team experience.

          There wasn’t much of a hockey culture in Atlanta at any time.

          • Seriously says:

            They don’t understand this. It does not freeze here. People will never grow up playing neighborhood hockey, it isn’t possible barring an Ice Age. On the other hand people can and do grow up playing soccer in the south. My generation was the beginning of the explosion, I didn’t catch on until highschool, but I got interested because I played with neighborhood kids using swing sets as goals and watching games with them on tv. Comparing hockey to soccer in the South is a ridiculous comparison.

  30. arthur blank says:

    cap him

  31. Mueller says:

    MLS needs Atlanta. 9th Biggest metro in US. 5th Most Fortune 500 companies. Large African American population. Large international population. Hub city within 5 hour drive to Jacksonville, Charlotte, Birmingham, Chattanooga, Nashville.

    • Roman Lewandowski says:

      Long-term, of course, MLS ideally will appeal to all communities. But for now, soccer is popular among Hispanics and affluent whites (both of which, of course, are present in large numbers in the Atlanta metro area–we’ll see how it goes).

      Regarding the cities you mentioned: that’s a tough trip unless the game is on a Saturday night.

      • Joe Dirt says:

        Starting to wonder how many games you watch Roman. You do realize most MLS matches are on Saturdays.

        • Joe Dirt says:

          Or Sundays

          • Roman Lewandowski says:

            Sundays are tough when you get beyond, let’s say, a two-hour drive. Same with Fridays. MLS has to be strong enough to rely on days apart from Saturday.

            When I lived in Omaha, I sometimes drove two-and-a-half hours to watch SKC on Sundays, but it was tough. People on this board are talking about even more distant locations.

      • Mueller says:

        I think the current demographics need to change. People like seeing people that look like them on TV. If an Atlanta team (or any other team) started developing more African American stars it would open up young athletes in the inter-cities to soccer and give MLS a larger TV audience as a whole.

        • Roman Lewandowski says:

          The national team can and will do that far more quickly than MLS.

          • Mueller says:

            Agreed, but someone has to develop them for the national team. Right now the teams aren’t doing a good enough job.

        • Neruda says:

          Now your on a different topic altogether from Atlanta getting an MLS team.

          If Jozy develops into a star player and scores a bunch of goals in brazil WC and replaces LD as the face of US soccer do you think more young athletes in urban areas will turn to soccer? In other words can he become an iconic star for African Americans?

          • Mueller says:

            Do you think Lebron and Kobe grew up idolizing Magic and Jordan or Bird and McHale?

            I think when kids see people who look like them and have a similar upbringing as them succeed, they have more self-belief that can “make it” too.

            • Mueller says:

              I forgot your question.

              I am not sure if Jozy can be that guy because he is playing abroad and I am not sure if the accessibility is there.

              If he would have stayed in MLS and MLS made him the face of US soccer I think he could be an iconic star for African Americans, but I also think there needs to be more than one.

              • Seriously says:

                Eddie Johnson could be someone to look at. He has the background and he has the MLS star power as well as showing he has international ability with the USA again.

        • Ryan says:

          It won’t hurt when people are watching Sean Johnson, Shaquell Moore and Lagos Kunga perform over the next decade (all African Americans from Atlanta on US National Teams)

          That’s not to say that locals won’t enjoy watching local white products like Jack McInerney or Cody Cropper though. Just like they enjoyed seeing Josh Woolf and Clint Mathis

  32. Stewart says:

    Having grown up as an Atlanta sports fan, I’ll say that the Atlanta fan base is slowly changing. As before, many around here are college football fans. The SEC wins every year for a reason (they’re better than you are), but that doesn’t mean this place is a one-sport town anymore. Braves fans bring way more emotion to the park than they did in say 2001. The half-interested corporate suits that populated many seats of the past have been replaced by the generation of people who grew up with dominant Braves teams. That same younger generation has also grown up with soccer as something not merely played by Europeans.

    What’s more, the Hispanic population of Atlanta and the surrounding area has exploded over the last 20-30 years. I went to the Mexico-Trinidad game in the Dome this summer, and that place was packed and rocking with Atlantans of an even deeper southern flavor.

    In short, an Atlanta team will do just fine. They may not top attendance charts, as transportation is Atlanta’s biggest challenge, but they will draw on a huge potential fan base and generate media dollars. A savvy ownership, such as one run by Arthur Blank, will take advantage of that. If MLS wants to be a national sport, it needs to be in the South, and the capital of the South is Atlanta.

    • jim in Atlanta says:

      Holy heaven logic, reason and facts all in one post! I might shed a tear.

    • O'Spud says:

      Braves attendance is still terrible for the team’s market size (10th in the NL despite the league’s best record, behind Cincinnati and Milwaukee). The Hawks annually scrape the bottom of the barrel in attendance. The Thrashers were a disaster. I’m sorry, but the tangible evidence is Atlanta is a crummy pro sports town.

      Maybe that’s changing, but I’d want to see other pro sports start to do better in that market and I’d want to see a few years of how the Silverbacks do this time around before I gave a team from Atlanta a franchise.

      • Jason says:

        the Braves avg 31k despite being in a terrible location. Look at their weekend attendance numbers, a fairly big jump.

        look what blank has done o the falcons franchise in 10 short years.

        Please don’t cite the Hawks and Thrashers, they have one of the worst ownerships in professional sports history

        • O'Spud says:

          Most every MLB team experiences a healthy attendance jump on the weekends. The only ones that don’t are San Francisco, Boston, St. Louis and Detroit, which sell out all the time.

          And doing well with an NFL franchise is the single easiest ownership task in the history of sports ownership. Fact of the matter is that the only pro sport that thrives in Atlanta is football, which thrives everywhere.

          If I’m Don Garber, I’m not rushing to create that city’s next problem child franchise.

  33. el paso tx says:

    Wow, then why not do this in phoenix with their stadium, in san francisco for the earthquakes and even foe fc dallas in jerrys world. Garber needs to keep the momentum coming and not go backwards. I dont understand this, will this be a crazy tech stadium with GRASS. Another thing, if mls want nfl owners and stadiums, then u need to figure out how to recruit the hispanic and latino soccer population because they dont care about mls, simple as that. Also, i love the mancity yankee connection and we need more of that, just like becks n claure in miami. Maybe tell arthur, get me a soccer owner partnership like nycfc and we got a deal.

  34. Paul Miller says:

    I say we bend over backwards to give Fairbanks, Alaska an expansion team, and subsidize a soccer specific stadium there (natural permafrost, no less). Then we’d have a nice place to host Costa Rica from here on out.

  35. Mueller says:

    I think it is really smart that MLS is expanding in chunks. Also I think once they get to 20 teams, they will expand in multiples of 2.

    In 2016, they add Orlando and Miami.
    In 2017, they add Atlanta and Charlotte or Nashville.
    In 2021, they add Minnesota and Detroit.
    In 2022, they add St. Louis and Indianapolis.
    In 2025, they add San Antonio and Calgary.
    In 2026, they add Phoenix and Las Vegas.

    32 teams by 2026- PERFECT

    • Neruda says:

      32 teams is too many. That’s how the nba ended up with the Toronto raptors and the timberwolves. I think 24 is great but the don might be thinking bigger.

      • Big Chil says:

        I think the Don’s head is in the right place. We’d probably take a breather at that point and make sure the new 4 clubs thrived for 4-5 years before expanding. The expansion draft period is going to be murder, though…

        I am a bit worried about Atlanta & the “Beckham-Miami” markets though.

        Orlando has passionate support in place, they can follow the successful expansion trains of Toronto, Philly, Seattle, Portland.

        Atlanta & Miami-Beckham are empty stadium models to begin with. We shall see.

      • Mueller says:

        24 isn’t enough to cover the map. It’s about TV. It’s not this simple but 33% more teams —> 33% more fans —> 33% better TV ratings.

        • Seriously says:

          How does 24 not cover the map? The ONLY region in the US outside of Alaska and Hawaii that doesn’t have a team is the Southeast. Every other region does. 32 is too many teams because of how soccer works. It will force a stupid schedule or too many games. 24 on the other hand has a perfect schedule with a perfect number of games.

  36. Riggity says:

    First, before I get killed let me say that I have lived in Atlanta for the last ten years and I love the city and love living here. But this is a mistake, Atlanta sports fans already have a tough time supporting their local teams and as a huge soccer fan I just don’t see the demand for the sport in metro Atlanta.(I just feel there are other cities that would support a club much more than Atlanta) I hope I am wrong because it would be fun to see and I will finally have an MLS team.

    • Left Wing says:

      This would be my fear. Atlanta is notorious for fickle low attendance fans.
      MLS needs to go to a place where it’s a special commodity. Not as an addition to a portfolio of a billionaire.

  37. cps says:

    Can not wait to be a season ticket holder!

  38. O'Spud says:

    1. Unless MLS really likes what Bob Kraft is doing in New England, it would be wise to steer clear of Blank’s proposal to have an MLS sideshow in his NFL stadium.

    2. Atlanta is hardly essential to MLS making inroads in the south. TBS is well past its superstation days and MLS surely has learned that sticking a team near a big city does not guarantee success.

    3. On the bright side, would giving Atlanta a franchise mean that Winnipeg can look forward to getting an MLS relocation 12 years later?

    • Mister JC says:

      Ha

    • jcalvert says:

      re #3, ouch, but funny …

      I have posted several times that I think an MLS team in ATL would draw plenty of supporters. While I am only one person my point was that I buy season tickets to the Falcons. I know others outside of the metro ATL area that do the same.

      If the MLS puts a team in ATL, fans will support the team. Putting a team in Orlando (or where ever else in FL), doesn’t mean the SE has a team to call its own. B’ham would get my support, but I wouldn’t buy season tickets. Same for N. or S. Carolina or Nashville.

      Over the last 18 months I have participated in fan surveys (MLS and ATL season ticket holders) where I indicated that the MLS needs a team in the SE and that I would support a team in ATL. And yes, you read that right. There has been on-going of market research, including research by the Falcons to see if there is support for an MLS team.

    • fischy says:

      Basically right. I don’t imagine TBS has anything to do with the conversation. It’s about Atlanta’s size…and maybe it’s centrality in the South, both geographically and culturally. Florida, though, is probably a bigger deal, but neither market has proven to be a sure thing in sports. Football is secure and basketball has been successful. But, beyond the Atlanta Braves (who had some very lean years on the field and at the gate 30 years ago), baseball has struggled in Florida and every other sports venture in both markets has struggled or failed. College football just sucks up all the oxygen down South.

    • Quit whining about soccer in the Us says:

      Bring up Kraft, but not Paul Allen, 50-60k tonight in Seattle..you biased ?

  39. Travis says:

    Man there are a couple of people really going at it in the comments section here. Someone else asked it but can someone from Atlanta talk about any sort of supporters group that currently exists in the area? Do the Silverbacks have one and if so how big?

    • Cameron says:

      The Silverbacks do have a few supporters groups. The biggest one is Atlanta Ultras who probably draw around 20 people a game on average. Sometimes more sometimes less. What is impressive is the growth of the group as they were essentially non existent a year or two ago as far as I can tell. There’s a couple other smaller ones who are in different parts of the stadium and less “hardcore.”

    • jcalvert says:

      I’m not in metro ATL… I’m 90 miles SW of ATL. I can’t speak for specific supporter groups, but I can say that the Silverbacks do draw from the greater ATL area.

      This may be the same with other teams, but in my opinion the Silverbacks go out of their way to be be really good with youth soccer players – allowing for parties, training, and other events where the teams get to participate in pregame activities. After the games, the players stay on the field to talk, sign autographs, etc.

      It’s all enough for me to get frequent “… daddy, can we go see the Silverbacks …”

      I’m really excited about the prospects of an ATL MLS team. I have read this site for a long time, but this article finally gave me a reason to post.

    • RK says:

      There’s nothing like S.O.B. There was interest on bigsoccer, but nothing to rally around.

  40. Jimmy says:

    Man, some people here have their panties in a wad. Some people are just so bitter and/or trying to tr0ll because you can’t stand the fact that others are happy and delighted that their city or region is finally getting a long overdue MLS franchise.

    The Atlanta franchise is not 100% confirmed. However, based on the quotes in the articles, it’s seems that it’s not a question of if but when now.

    So, to all the Atlanta naysayers out there, I guess you are just going to have to DEAL. WITH. IT.

    MLS in ATL, It’s happenning.

    • O'Spud says:

      That’s some serious wishful thinking on your part. Based on the quotes, the Falcons are trying to pitch an MLS team to bolster their case for a new stadium and MLS has done nothing more than listen politely.

      And if three of the four new teams are spoken for that doesn’t bode well for Atlanta. Miami and Orlando are largely considered to be locks. San Antonio is a serious candidate (SSS, leading the NASL in attendance, large supporters group). Detroit has a major downtown development project on the table with an MLS stadium as its anchor. Ottawa, Pittsburgh and Sacramento all have MLS irons in the fire as well. Atlanta is a long shot, at least for the next round of expansion.

      If Blank were proposing a SSS in downtown Atlanta, I’d tell you to be a lot more optimistic. He’s not.

      • jim in Atlanta says:

        So essentially what you’ve done here is just forgone any facts whatsoever and just posted word of mouth and make believe nonsense you created in your head. I mean seriously, your comment is the comment section of a fox news article online. Void of any actual facts but actually creates theories which are the exact opposite of the facts and claiming them to be true, without do any sort of research but just spouting them at will.

        Either that or your just a hater who is trying to discredit the Atlanta proposal any way you can. Because I mean, wow just wow. DO RESEARCH BEFORE POSTING.

      • Chris says:

        The Stadium is a done deal, as everybody in Atlanta knows. Blank is funding 80% out of his own pocket.

        He is architechting the stadium for soccer and football. Atlanta was a location in the host bid for 2022 WC, and almost certainly will be again.

        It is a regional commerce hub, it is home so two of the biggest brands on earth (Coca-Cola and CNN) and a young, growing, and diverse city.

  41. petedx says:

    Good for Atlanta and their fans but I wish MLS would get away from the little brother of the NFL mentality. The Hunt, Kraft, and now Allen’s of the world were helpful and all but why not build your own stadium? The fact that a 20 year old dome needs to be replaced is insane. Why not update the Georgia dome with some of that 1.2 billion than build a Soccer stadium for under $100 million and save everyone some money, have a grass field and seats will be packed instead of a giant stadium with an empty upper deck.

    • jcalvert says:

      There are a lot of people that would rather see the Falcons renovate the Dome instead of building a new stadium, but realistically, it is all about the money. In order to land another Super Bowl or two, a new stadium is a must. Plus building a new stadium means more $ for the owner, which could be part of the equation to purchase a MLS franchise for ATL.

      The only thing I’m happy about is that the new stadium will be near the old. Since I live SW of ATL, my drive will not be impacted. Now PSL are a whole different issue …

      • Chris says:

        This isn’t a “Little Brother of the NFL” scenario.

        Blank is building in Soccer and Football as the core part of the strategy for the new stadium. This is not a football facility that they will stick soccer into. This is being built from the GROUND UP for both sports.

        He is ALWAYS saying in the PR that this stadium that it is about attracting World Cup, international games, and so forth.

        This is awesome news, i will buy 5 season tickets the second they go on sale.

  42. Ryan says:

    Here is why i have a shed of optimism for an Atlanta soccer franchise. The problem with Atlanta residencts supporting there teams is this, nobody is from Atlanta id say around 75% of Atlanta residences either moved to Atlanta or there parents moved to Atlanta, so in the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL (yes Atlanta has NHL fans) these residents already have there teams which is why attendance is so low except for when big market teams like NY, BOS, etc come to town (similar to TB and MIA). So why can an MLS franchise maybe capture Atlanta’s fanhood because more than likely 95% of Atlanta residents do not already have an MLS team they cheer for.

    I will say this i think it is a crock of $h*** that Atlanta gets a franchise without an SSS.

  43. solles says:

    Noooooo this is so MLS 1.0, are we going to get the fake grass and the NFL lines too? And the 6 yard box plunked down over the end zone graphics? And the 7000 fans in a 75000 seat stadium? Didnt MLS move past this like 10 years ago?

  44. Brett says:

    As Georgia native, I can tell you they have to be very careful about how they market the team early on. There’s a big regional gap down here for professional soccer, meaning there are a lot of rec. and amateur, some semi-pro obviously, leagues but they’re spread pretty thin. There are also very large communities of Latinos growing every day, it seems. If they can somehow attach a regional identity to the team and draw in “non-Atlantans”, it might succeed.

    Atlanta itself is not a great sports city because most of the people who live there only do so because of work. They’re mostly from out-of-state. When popular baseball teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, etc.) visit the Braves, you see just as many away fans as home fans. The people who grow up in Atlanta, by and large, leave as soon as they can because it’s dirty, muggy, and unbearably hot from April to September, and the public transit system sucks. People that stay there mostly live in the perimeter cities and aren’t bothered to drive in and out of the city proper, unless they’re keen to be stuck in a car for an hour-long twenty-minute drive.

    If they can work in a regional TV deal, they may be able to pull off a broad enough support base to be viable long-term. That helped the Braves a lot in the 80s, leading to their sustained success in the 90s and beyond. That kind of support could draw players good enough to win a championship and draw in all the fairweather front-runners.

    Otherwise, it will be a novelty that wears off quickly. There’s not a lot of room for new investment with most people down here. NASCAR is probably top dog, followed by NFL, then NCAA football/basketball, and then MLB… after that, everyone’s fighting for scraps. The NBA and NHL have always been an underwhelming presence.

    All that said, I’ll support the team, though I’m not in love with “Atlanta Silverbacks” as the team name.

    • drew11 says:

      ATL would be purely a TV market and corporate sponsor play. MLS knows going in that there is limited organic interest in pro sports in the region.

    • Rory says:

      I’d like to see them become the team of the south, play one game a year in Charlotte, Birmingham, and Nashville.

      • Colin says:

        I actually kind of like the “team of the south” idea, outlandish as it is.

        Is there any kind of precedent with other professional sports teams?

        If the outside-Atlanta games were truly a novelty, once a year type thing, you would just need one-off contracts with stadiums in each one. However, if you wanted to build more local interest and actually market the team to people in Nashville, Charlotte, wherever, you would probably need to play more than one game a year there. I’m not sure how

        I think somebody could exploit the Nashville, Atlanta, Charlotte triangle. The demographics in Nashville and Charlotte are relatively* similar and they share a lot of characteristics with a large percentage of what is probably projected as the Atlanta fan base. Their inclusion would drastically expand the TV market exposure as well.

        Of course this would never happen. College football sucks too much money and attention away from professional sports in the south.

    • Jason says:

      NASCAR top dog? I don’t know where you live in Georgia, but Nascar is far from top dog in ATL.

      1. SEC Football
      2. Atlanta Falcons
      3. Atlanta Braves
      4. Ga Tech / Hawks /

      • RK says:

        I think that’s what people don’t realize — the biggest threat to MLS attendance is college football Saturdays in the fall. Luckily, most games are before that.

    • Sean says:

      “Atlanta itself is not a great sports city because most of the people who live there only do so because of work. They’re mostly from out-of-state.”

      You can say that about almost any large city in the US right now. I live in DC and there are always big crowds for the teams you mentioned (Cubs, Yanks, Sox, etc.) because people move a lot more than they did 30 years. They really doesn’t have anything to do with Atlanta’s perception as a sports city.

      If anything, a new team gives the city — and all of its transplants — something to rally around as theirs.

      And the bottom line for all sports…if this is good and wins games, they will draw crowds. Unless you’re the Tampa Bay Rays, every team that wins sells tickets.

  45. Herschel Skywalker says:

    The ATL needs an MLS team and the MLS needs an Atlanta team to truly be a national league. Atlanta is the capital city of the SE. I hate the name Silverbacks too, but I will support whatever team that represents the South, as I am a Southern soccerbilly myself (yes there are a bunch of us). I think there will be plenty of support, not only from Atlanta or Georgia, but from surrounding areas, just like the Braves receive regional support in their boring sport. I wish they would call the team the Bulldawgs though (and bring back home a couple of Regional or Georgia players to start us off (Rico Clark, Jack Mac, Josh Wolf as coach, etc.)

  46. Quit whining about soccer in the Us says:

    .I have come to realize that is is a fact that MLS will not succeed in a shared with the NFL stadium. Look a the Revs. I apologize for saying anything that ran counter to this.

    Enjoy the game tonight, watch for me among the 60k fans at the dual purpose CLink….there I go again. Sorry.

  47. Rory says:

    How awesome is it that people are willing to spend 100 million on something they could have bought for 10 million 8 years ago?

    • Jacknut says:

      How awesome is it that spending $100 million will lead to a profit while spending $10 million 8 years ago was no sure thing?

      • B1879 says:

        Wicked Awesome.

        • Zingler says:

          It’s also wicked awesome that we are finally getting a team. If Blank is smart, he will buy the Silverbacks and rebrand them Atlanta FC (name preferred most by hardcore Atlanta Ultras). Keeping the club around until MLS would be much better PR than putting them out of business and leaving fans with 2-3 seasons of no footy.

          LOVE that this is happening despite all the haters. As someone else already said: DEAL. WITH. IT.

          • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

            Not a hater, glad you are getting your team, but realize the hard core loving the name Atlanta FC equals 99% saying that is the most boring name I have ever heard.

          • jonk says:

            “Keeping the club around until MLS would be much better PR than putting them out of business and leaving fans with 2-3 seasons of no footy.”

            Why are those the only 2 options?

            Also, hopefully these new teams can bring in a wave of “SC” names, if they’re going to go the “club” route.

    • Herschel Skywalker says:

      Arthur Blank has the money and he doesn’t care. Enjoy your shopping at Home Depot.

    • Ali Dia says:

      “How awesome is it that people are willing to spend 100 million on something they could have bought for 10 million 8 years ago?”

      I dunno… Ask Florentino Perez… that’s what he does for a living.

  48. slowleftarm says:

    Atlanta is the worst sports city in America. Maybe Miami is close but I’d say Atlanta is even worse. And that’s for sports with more tradition in the US than soccer. Can’t sell out Braves playoff games, even the Falcons struggled for years to sell out, and this in a football crazed area. Hockey team found the huge metropolis of Winnipeg more appealing. And it’s going to be an oversized football stadium? Did I just go back in time to 1996 or something? Come on. What a joke. This league has been doing great the past few years but some of Garber’s moves this year have been baffling.

    • AJ Striker says:

      Atlanta is one of the most diverse cities in the southeast. It is an international city with a huge base of soccer fans. Atlanta has grown into a fantastic sports town, and while I agree it used to be an awful town because it was full of transplants (around 96 olympics), those transplants have no put down roots. MLS would thrive in ATL.

    • Ryan says:

      The Falcons have sold out every home game since Blank bought the team in 2002, including the Joey Harrington years after Mike Vick was sent to Federal Prison.

      The Braves are 15th in average attendance, ahead of such “great” sports cities as Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New York, and Cincinnati. They don’t sell out because they have the 3rd biggest ballpark in MLB (behind the Dodgers and Yankees, who don’t sell out either).

      Atlanta put 3.6M people in the stands for professional sports in the 2012 seasons. Bark up another tree.

      • Alex says:

        Slam! Well said, brutha.

      • slowleftarm says:

        Braves can’t sell out playoff games, hockey team moved away, football team is marginally supported and no evidence of any soccer culture, unlike Orlando and San Antonio, which would be far better expansion candidates. Also, I wouldn’t consider Pittsburgh, Cincinnati or Baltimore to be great sports cities either.

        And in comparing mlb attendance, the Braves are far behind the Yankees. They may draw more than the Mets but I don’t think comparing the little brother team in town is a fair comparison. Who would go watch the Mets? Not me, that’s for sure.

        • slowleftarm says:

          And in my defense, I didn’t think NYCFC was a good choice either so I’m not biased in favor of my area. I just think Atlanta is a terrible sports city and MLS can do better.

          This is why MLS doesn’t need 24 teams. All of the US sports leagues have junk franchises that are basically a complete waste, like the Sacramento Kings, Jacksonville Jaguars and Milwaukee Brewers, to give one example from each of our other major leagues. That’s what happens when you over expand. MLS could avoid that by stopping at 20 but it appears they’re addicted to expanision fees.

          • Steve Wise says:

            Oh good grief! Slow Left Butt is at it again. Next, he’s gonna be complaining that there are too many Mexicans among Atlanta’s soccer fans.

        • Ryan says:

          You’re talking about the tail end of a 14 year playoff run and acting like that’s the norm. In the 3 playoff games the Braves have hosted since the streak ended in 2005, they average filling Turner Field to 101.6% capacity.

          That looks like selling out playoff games to me. But please, ignore the first 13 years of the streak, the last 3 years of history, and focus on a 2005 series against the Astros instead.

          • Ryan says:

            And by the way, the Yankees sold out 1 of 5 home playoff games last season.

            Terrible fans up there, I guess.

          • Seriously says:

            All of this doesn’t even hint at what type of soccer support can be found here. The NASL Silverbacks have like the second best attendance in the league and did so last year as well all while having the absolute worst team in the league on the field. How does that not show soccer culture? It is the same type of thing Seattle had prior to their leap. Ignorance flows forth from slowleftbum like water through Niagara.

      • RK says:

        And the Braves haven’t been “below average” in attendance since 2006 — when they were 16th.

  49. Alex says:

    Atlanta rules! #DealWithIt

  50. Brian says:

    Not sure if anyone else has posted this but what will be the new stadium is pretty legit. I fully agree that it should be a SSS, but if they are going to play in an NFL stadium this will be the one I want it to be…better than Jonesland in Dallas. The stadium itself will bring big crowds the first few seasons, especially for those people that can’t afford the high NFL ticket prices. This will allow the team to attract new fans and get a good base. Not ideal, but the stadium is gonna be awesome.

    link to newstadium.atlantafalcons.com

    • Steve Wise says:

      The new stadium’s design is specifically geared for BOTH NFL football and MLS football. The Falcons and the MLS team will have separate locker rooms. It may not be the crude SSS of, e.g., the Columbus Crew, but it will have a soccer-specific configuration for MLS (plus WCQ, Gold Cup, etc.) matches.

  51. Phil says:

    Atlanta will be okay. I am far more interested to see who is the fourth team, presumably in the midwest. Indy? Detroit? Minne?

    • slowleftarm says:

      All poor choices in my opinion. I’d go with Orlando and San Antonio next and then see what happens. I think that’s sufficient for right now.

      • What me worry? says:

        St. Louis should be first choice and then Indy maybe. St. Louis for some reason has great and knowledgeable sports fans who support its teams and not just baseball and football. They have a rising youth and high school and college soccer base and an SSS would work well there. Indy fits the same mold but not sure where could put a stadium to attract people since downtown appears to be full.

        • crossmlk says:

          What me worry,
          You are correct in all your points regarding St. Louis. As a Kansas City guy I’d like to offer another very important one. For most other markets MLS has gone out of their way to bring in natural rivals for teams. See the excellent job they’ve done in the Pacific Northwest. The addition of Philly to make the Eastern corridor have even greater rivalry opportunities. The addition of Montreal gives Toronto a natural and traditional rival.

          If they want to double down on the success of SKC and give a boost to Chicago (who have had a lot of success as a franchise also) as well but also doesn’t have great natural rivals available, St. Louis MUST get a franchise. A nice three way rivalry might give the Chicago-KC rivalry a little extra bite as it really hasn’t taken off. The funny thing about rivalry’s is they can’t be forced but they can be developed. St. Louis could be a catalyst to make that happen for Chicago-KC.

          MLS has developed (or had developed for them) a very successful franchise in KC. It’s time for them to show their support for it!

      • Phil says:

        Orlando will be 21. Miami will be 22. Atlanta could be 23. SA or Sac could be where Chivas moves to if prices for an expansion franchise keep going on an upward trend (why buy a franchise for 100 mill when you can get Chivas for that).

        MLS want to go midwest but where is the question. Indy has 5700 season tickets sold already. Detroit has a strong PDL team, but would love to see in USL or NASL. Minneapolis leads NASL in attendance but still has a few hurdles. St. Louis… man they should have been number 15 or 16 or so. They deserve something.

  52. Eric K says:

    No more Canadian cities. MLS should be building soccer in the United States.

  53. Zingler says:

    Everybody hit up Twitter: #DEALWITHIT

  54. Chance says:

    So all of Garber’s talk about wanting SSS for new teams was absolute crap? I’m shocked! /s

    • Alex says:

      Um. He always wanted them to play in this new hybrid stadium. Nice try though.

      Hey everyone, Jason Davis is ragging on ATL on Soccer Morning. Let him know he’s clueless. Call now. Email. Contact him via Social Media.

  55. kmac014 says:

    What do you guys think about Charlotte?

    • Drew_OC says:

      Charlotte’s a good area that really has a good soccer tradition. Building a soccer stadium close to downtown would be relatively cheap. We had the Home Depot Center, maybe we could have the Lowes Sports Park and put BofA on the team jersey.

    • What me worry? says:

      Still think Raleigh would be better location, less competition for the entertainment $ and easier to get around in. Raleigh would draw from Charlotte and Durham and Burlingtoon, and Virginia, and Greensboro Winston-Salem. Charlotte would draw from some of those areas as well as South Carolina and Tennessee but driving in Charlotte sucks by comparison.

      • Ryan in NYC by way of NC says:

        I think Raleigh/Durham would be a MUCH better option in the south for an MLS franchise. There’s rich tradition in the triangle area in regards to soccer and a team would only have to compete with the Carolina Hurricanes. I think a Raleigh team would be a no-brianer.

    • RK says:

      Too small.

  56. What me worry? says:

    This is a giant step back. MLS does need a team in the South but not Atlanta. My argument is not based upon an SSS versus multi-use stadium (and yes I know Seattle does it but they are the possible exception to the rule, see New England Revolution as the rule). Atlanta couldn’t keep interest in a fourth tier sport like hockey so where is a rising but still fourth-fifth-tier sport going to draw from? The size of the market doesn’t justify the hope that a small percentage of the market liking soccer will mean excess fans and success. If market size alone was the key factor then Winnipeg wouldn’t have its hockey team back. The franchise will draw if it is winning but what about average years etc. This is where sustainability comes into play and in this Atlanta fails with any non-major 3 sport.

    Put an MLS franchise in Raleigh or near it, not Charlotte. There already is an NASL team there in Carey and I believe at least two USL teams in the region. This is where the younger urban professionals with money live work and play and they are part of the demographic that would support it. Plus youth and high school and college soccer is huge there. There is no other competition from a pro sports team and as Columbus has shown us an MLS team can do well even in a college football/basketball (The Ohio State University) town.

    • Josh says:

      It’s a little hard to hang the Thrashers’ failure on the folks of Atlanta. The Atlanta Spirit Group (ASG) was forced to buy the Thrashers as part of their acquisition of the Hawks. ASG *never* wanted to own a hockey team, and they paid no attention to it, keeping a rock-bottom roster and never even bothering to replace incompetent GM Don Waddell.

      With all that, the Thrashers average attendance was pretty close to the CAPACITY of Winnipeg’s hockey arena, but obviously Winnipeg’s a more welcoming market.

      That said, an MLS franchise would be competing not only with the other pro sports, but college football as well. It’s a crowded sports market.

      All that said, the metro Atlanta is highly cosmopolitan; there are lots of people, Latino and otherwise from all over the world living in the greater metro area, and I’m guardedly optimistic that soccer could become a much bigger draw here than people think.

      • The Squad says:

        Whats wrong with this market??

        Much is made of Atlanta as a sports town but no argument moves beyond ‘the fans wont come.’

        This is pretty difficult to determine when the franchise only exists in the planning phase..

        Comparables are useful, but they seldom include information regarding the area’s current top-level soccer franchise..

        A franchise with a recent history of success and an obvious model for the city’s MLS aspirations..

        MLS loves rivalries..

        With the presence of Blank and the energy behind the Orlando MLS bid An Orlando-Atlanta provides a promising alternative to the league’s previous foray into the southeast..

        • Ali Dia says:

          Good luck with Orlando-Atlanta “rivalry”. Florida just doesn’t get out of bed for professional sports period, let a alone a highly contrived marketing gimmick.

          • kryptonite says:

            You are confusing the city of Miami with the state of Florida. Pro sports do great in the state of Florida outside of Miami. But for the Dolphins and Heat, Miami kills off pro sports franchises. Even Jacksonville keeps some attendance despite the owners intentionally trying to suppress attendance to get a move to L.A. or other larger venue.

    • Seriously says:

      Comparing hockey in the South to soccer may be the dumbest argument I have ever seen. You do realize it hardly ever snows down here right? Lakes and ponds don’t freeze over. We have absolutely no connection to that sport at all. Kids don’t grow up playing at some local rink or pond or whatever. Soccer on the other hand is played all over the place, We have several USSDA teams in the region and the TV viewership of USA games is at the top of the country. How about having some actual knowledge about the place and basing an argument in something that actually has bearing.

      • Ali Dia says:

        This isn’t “Little House on the Prairie”, bud. Lots of pros never learned to play hockey on a frozen pond. Here in LA, we have a successful pro hockey team with a big fan-base and lots of youth programs, and it hasn’t snowed once during my lifetime.

        Beyond that, I basically agree.

  57. Brett- Son of Stephen says:

    According to a report on Sports Illustrated, the stadium will have a retractable roof that covers the bottom bowl of the stadium making it a 27,000 seat stadium for soccer games.

    link to soccer.si.com

  58. Enos says:

    Blank only wants to do this because it will help him get his stadium. The Atlanta franchise will be just like the Revs… Bad idea.

  59. Acf says:

    Bottom line is winning. People will get behind a winning team and a good product. And Arthur Blank will do things the right way; hire good soccer people, etc. Just note what happened with the Falcons – the difference in culture, competence, support, and success before and after he bought that club.

    What many people fail to grasp is that a team in ATL would be a regional team. In addition to the metro area, they will draw in fans from places like Birmingham, TN, and the Carolinas. Thats both attendance and multiple tv markets (on a regional network like SportSouth). This is interest MLS will not garner in Florida.

    Without historic ties to a team where they moved from (as you get in NFL and baseball), transplants will support the team too.

    • Seriously says:

      Birmingham right here, been an ATL sports fan all my life. This pretty much only means the Braves though as College football is so much more important down here. I know a lot of Falcons fans, but if they played at the same time as Auburn, UGA, bama, etc. They would get almost no views in comparison.

  60. BWHOLL says:

    Comparing this Atlanta team to the Revs is misguided. The Revs play 40 minutes outside of Boston while this stadium will be downtown. Gillette stadium is a terrible stadium for atmosphere, regardless of what sport is played. It is so open that sound escapes easily, making a crowd of 64,000 Pats fans seem quiet. I think this Atlanta team will be similar to Vancouver if anything.

  61. Pingback: Is Minnesota going to miss out on MLS? - Major League Soccer for Minnesota

  62. Brian says:

    Putting a MLS in another football stadium in ATL seems like a horrible idea. You’d think MLS would have learned from the mistake of applying the “big market” trope to MLS teams.

    • Steve Wise says:

      That’s not happening in Atlanta. The new stadium will have different configurations for NFL games and MLS games. It is designed from the git-go for both sports — as well as for concerts, NCAA basketball tournaments, whatever. Different seating, different configurations for different events. With a grass field, no artificial turf. “Another football stadium” misses the mark.

      • petedx says:

        There is only so much you can do to change configuration. My guess would be this consists of putting giant Atlanta Silverback (or whatever) team logo covers over the upper deck.

        • Alex says:

          Your guess would be wrong. Pitch designed to meet FIFA standards for international play, separate MLS locker rooms and offices, inner retractable roof for lower bowl.

          Regardless, what you described above would be exactly what Seattle does and it looks just fine.

        • WhiteHart says:

          I’d say Seattle has shown that putting a team in an NFL stadium that had soccer in mind when being designed isn’t a bad idea.

          Putting an MLS team in an old NFL stadium and trying to fit a square peg into a round circle is the problem.

          If the stadium is done the right way, it shouldn’t make a difference that it shares a stadium.

          • Seriously says:

            I agree with this. Would I love to see the Atl MLS team in its own SSS? Obviously I would, but at the same time if the stadium is designed with both in mind like in Seattle and with real grass then it can certainly work.

        • RK says:

          One, I still haven’t seen what the MLS version of Falcons stadium would look like. Two, Atlanta is not going to pull in 42k a game like Seattle.

    • Jason says:

      The new stadium would have a very similar concept to Vancouver,with the retractable roof covering the upper deck to include only 27K seating.

  63. Alexandria says:

    Let me just say I am soooo there first day season tickets come out I will buy them. And for those of you who keep saying Atlanta has terrible attendance. UGA and GT have better attendance than most NFL teams. People care about the teams they have a connection too. So you put an MLS team a franchise Atlanta can have from the start and watch it grow, it will be just as Organic as the college teams comparing Soccer to Professional sports in this country is way off base the passion in other pro sports isn’t there the true barometer is Collegiate sports and you can not beat collegiate attendance in this region and thats how you sell this team. With PASSION!! lets go!

    • Sizzle says:

      Well, Bobby Dodd stadium only holds 55k, so I don’t see how GT outdraws most NFL teams. Atlanta has proven to be a crappy pro sports town. There’s no way around it. MLS needs a presence in the South, and Atlanta is the obvious choice, but there’s a good chance an MLS team in Atlanta won’t be successful.

    • scott47a says:

      I have no problem with Atlanta for MLS, unlike some other posters, but saying people are not passionate about pro sports is ridiculous and maybe shows why some people worry about Atlanta.

      College sports are not better than pro sports. Do you find yourself at a lot of college soccer games?

      Can you logically say that the people in Green Bay or Pittsburgh or a few other cities are not passionate about their NFL teams? What about people in Boston or Chicago or St. Louis about baseball?

      Sorry, not buying this.

      • Seriously says:

        College football is better than NFL football, in the South. This is not a debatable point. College sports in general? No, most people would rather hit a Braves game than an Auburn, Georgia, GT baseball game unless they happen to live around those campuses. College Basketball may be more popular than the NBA around here as well, though basketball in general doesn’t get much love. I agree with the OP that the feel of MLS is closer to that of other major college sports rather than professional sports. Will that make Atlanta draw crowds for MLS? I have no idea, I hope so. I’ll be there.

        • scott47a says:

          I appreciate your perspective, but I have to say I think that is what worries some folks about the south and MLS.
          NFL, MLB, NHL (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Detroit, Chicago, etc.), NBA (LA, NY, OKC, Portland, etc.), all bring out passion in people in some places, but not, for some reason, in the south.
          It’s not the games or the leagues that lack passion. It’s the fanbase. Let’s hope more southerners think of MLS like the SEC, I guess, so they will support more strongly than they have in the NBA and NHL.

          • Jason says:

            Might want to go watch the Braves vs. Cards wild-card last year to see some “Southern” passion about is fanbase. BTW that game was sold out, how did that happen, I thought Atlanta never sold out any Braves playoff games?

    • yankiboy says:

      I just want to be sure that I’m understanding you correctly about other pro sports not having passion. It sounds like you are saying hat soccer fans are somehow–maybe by nature (for lack of a better phrase) more passionate that the major pro sports fans in the US.

      Maybe I read that wrong.

      • Seriously says:

        In my experience, I would agree with that statement. Being that my experience is almost entirely in the Southeast I would say that matters for this instance. It might be different in other parts of the country.

  64. Joris6065 says:

    NalaPawz

  65. Alex says:

    Dear anti-Atlanta MLS fans. We are crashing your little elitist party. Mind if we grab some of your beers and rummage through your vintage vinyl record collection? Oh, you DO mind? Well that’s too bad. Come on in, everybody. Gonna have blow out at the exclusive MLS club. Feel free to raid the fridge.

  66. Lilburn JAC says:

    Mr. Blank has developed a sports model that transformed an irrelevant Falcons franchise into a financial success with a passionate fan base. This would be adapted for the new club.

    His Falcon organization can be leveraged to benefit the MLS team. Don’t the Sounders and the Seahawks do the same thing?

    And he built Home Depot from the ground up (with Bernie Marcus). How did that turn out?

    This the right guy to make the Atlanta MLS team flourish.

    Can’t wait.

    • Ali Dia says:

      Replace Arthur Blank with Robert Kraft. Replace Falcons with Patriots. Replace Home Depot with International Forest Products. And there you go. How’s that working out?

      • Jason says:

        Foxboro, MA is not Atlanta GA

        • Ali Dia says:

          It’s not a question of the market. After all, New England could move to a soccer-specific stadium anywhere they like in the region, but the ownership isn’t serious about getting it done.

          It’s a question of ownership engagement. If Blank isn’t sufficiently engaged in the MLS team’s success, it will fail no matter where it is located. The concern is that the MLS team would just be an ancillary amusement to the Falcons, as the Patriots appear to be to Kraft. MLS teams lose money more often than not, and profits are laughable compared to NFL. If Blank is not genuinely interested in growing soccer (and almost certainly losing money in the first 3-5 years), he will lose interest and the team will lose relevance.

          I don’t know enough about Blank to make a guess about how he will treat the franchise, but for me it’s fair to say that a successful and engaged NFL owner does not necessary make a successful MLS owner, which seemed to be the point of the original post.

      • Al says:

        (Sigh.). Getting tired of repeating this. Here are the differences:

        Grass pitch conforming to FIFA standards.
        Lower bowl configuration with upper bowl masked off.
        Separate locker rooms and offices for MLS club.
        Central, downtown, urban location.
        Ex-Columbus Crew GM has been on Blank’s staff for years.

        Please do some some research, folks.

        • Ali Dia says:

          Thank you for telling me what I already know. The entire point is that those are weak differences. Most of them focus on the physical qualities of a yet-to-be-built stadium. This proves nothing. The Galaxy and Chivas share the same facility, and their stories couldn’t be more different. Why? because what really matters is organizational culture, and engagement of management. These are where the question marks lie.

  67. user222 says:

    There is a pattern that most MLS teams keep making when building a new ‘soccer specific stadium’…

    they always choose sites and locations not really accessible by the working stiff, low-end, blue-collar worker…

    It works for the NFL teams and its large wallet. It is an extremely popular league and when teams upgrade to a new stadium the yuppie, middle, and well-off crowd is always there to support the team.

    Football/soccer in the US is different and is still in its infancy. Most stadiums in the world center around downtown or rough areas where anyone has a chance to get to it even young ethnic kids.

    In their early ages, the Maradonas, Messis, Peles, Ronaldhinos, etc. never played in places that look like suburbia USA…. it is rare but it is almost impossible to cultivate world-class soccer players in middle or upper class environments.