Report: Atlanta Falcons “far along in negotiations” for MLS franchise

AtlantaFalconsSoccerConfigurationDesign2 (AtlantaFalcons)

By DAN KARELL

The Atlanta Falcons seem dead set on bringing a Major League Soccer franchise to their city.

Though MLS commissioner Don Garber was in San Antonio last week to speak with local officials and San Antonio Scorpions executives, a report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution says that the Falcons are making progress in their talks with the league.

Garber announced plans to expand to 24 teams at last season’s All-Star game. Nineteen teams currently play in MLS, and New York City FC and Orlando City SC will join the league in 2015. On Wednesday, David Beckham formally announced plans to open a franchise in Miami, leaving multiple cities competing for the two remaining expansion slots.

“We’re far along in negotiations with them,” Falcons president Rich McKay said of MLS at the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce in Decatur, Ga. “It’s our objective to get an MLS franchise if we can make it happen. We think it would be, not just great for Atlanta and the region, but really it’s the right thing to do for the southeast.”

The Falcons are finalizing plans for a new $1.2 billion stadium and have made it clear to MLS that they want a soccer team to play in the proposed 65,000 seat multiuse arena.

In addition to football and soccer, the Falcons are hoping that the stadium could be used for other events, such as the SEC Championship football game, NCAA Tournament basketball games, concerts, and even monster truck rallies. According to the report, the official groundbreaking will take place sometime this spring at a site just south of the Georgia Dome, with an expected finish date of 2017.

Previously, the Falcons included designs that show how soccer could be configured in an arena built for large crowds at an NFL game.

Professional soccer already exists in Atlanta with the North American Soccer League’s Atlanta Silverbacks, while last summer the Gold Cup quarterfinals were held at the Georgia Dome. An announced crowd of 54,229 watched Mexico defeat Trinidad and Tobago and Panama rout Cuba. Mexico has scheduled a match against Nigeria on March 5 at the Georgia Dome.

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What do you think of this report? Think MLS will expand to Atlanta? Think that the league should expand elsewhere? Would you be OK with another MLS team playing home games in an NFL stadium?

Share your thoughts below.

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

153 Responses to Report: Atlanta Falcons “far along in negotiations” for MLS franchise

  1. Noname says:

    Terrible idea…what happens if they have to move MLS Cup if they are hosting both the MLS Finals and SEC Championship….who wins out on that one????? Atlanta is not going to be able to make it work and to be honest, Miami wont either. Those two towns will damage MLS!

    • Kosh says:

      I think you need more exclamation marks – lest we fail to heed you prophesy.

      Garber is the guy who called for contraction and knows what the conditions were at the time of that call as he clearly does now in the calls for expansion to Miami. I’ll give these guys a bit more credit on this one than blog post calls for doom and gloom and the end of the universe. These guys are business folk with a shrewd model on how to make this thing succeed. I am sure they didn’t invest all of their money and time building MLS to only wash it all away because they just gotta have Miami and Atlanta expansion money. Why? Coz everybody knows ain’t no money sweeter than that kind of money.

      Oh, and I am sure these guys are somewhat smart enough, in some small and unexpected way, maybe by dumb luck even – to figure out how to handle scheduling.

      • Sean says:

        When you say shrewd, I know you’re confusing trying to make as much money as possible with caring about soccer as it’s intended for fans.

        • Sean says:

          Oh I was talking less about the league, who I’m sure are just trying to strategize how to improve tv ratings by expansion.

          • Will Lipscomb says:

            Multi use huge stadiums look empty when used for a soccer venue. 25,000 is a great crowd that appear more like 10K. When Seattle covers the upper decks it does effect the way it looks. Covering empty sections are far worse. Build a complex with a soccer stadium next to this massive staring. MLS can not support a House that Jerry built. It’s setting the

            • THomas says:

              Do you not see the rendition above the article? They would block off the top half, nobody would even see the empty seats.

              • Clyde Frog says:

                You see them in Vancouver, you’ll see them in Atlanta. Hanging sheets in front of them doesn’t make them completely impossible to see.

            • Rory Miller says:

              A crowd of 20,000 in a 40,000 seatedr stadium makes the league more money than a crowd of 18,000 in a 18,000 seater no matter which one looks better to you on TV.

              • Micronesia Justin says:

                Not always. I get your point, though. The Oakland A’s block off large blocks of their stadium even though they could sell those tickets. They would lose money though because you have to factor in the pay of more employees, utilities, etc. They use a model that will make them the most money, which isn’t always about selling the most tickets.

              • Landy Cakes says:

                Not true. 40,000 seat venues are more expensive. Profit=Revenue-Costs

              • Mason says:

                Landy: That’s true, but this is an NFL team that’s trying to get an MLS side so that the stadium is used on non-NFL Sundays. This situation exists in NE. Do you really think that Bob Kraft cares that 3/4 of Gillette is empty when the Revs play? He’s paying for it anyway, best to get some use out of it.

          • Kosh says:

            Just because stuff is not happening the way you want it to, or as fast as you would like does not mean it’s not happening. But hey I’m just trusting like that. I like having apositive outlook on things.

            Trust aside there is evidence that the league and it’s owners are doing everything they can to achieve these things you mentioned. Now you can be jaded because they are not throwing their money at things the way you would like, or because they are not doing things the way you “feel” the international community says they should. But I am sure they are not losing sleep over those things either.

            • tw says:

              I’m sure these internet experts have great ideas like “raise the salary cap” and “we need promotion/relegation”, with no regard for what actually works from a business perspective.

        • wandmdave says:

          Nothing happens without money, so drives to maximize profit and tv ratings will pay for the soccer as its intended for fans. Can’t put the cart before the horse.

      • Sam says:

        Didn’t you know that people on the internet are way smarter than league commissioners or NFL owners that started one of the largest businesses in the country?

        • NC Jeff says:

          You scarcasm has a point; however, we have seen more than our fair share of commissioners and team owners that were NOT very smart (or at least didn’t show it if they were) … “my” Railhawks just went through a bankrupcy a couple years back.

          • Chris says:

            I’m sorry, but comparing the NFL or even MLS to a USL team is so far off base. That’s like saying “Hey, some fly-by-night summer league baseball team failed here, there’s no way an MLB team will work here. Apples and asparagus. Don’t get me wrong, I’m skeptical, but at the moment it’s all rumor. And trust me, Beckham’s Miami team will be an entirely different animal from the Fusion.

            • tw says:

              For anyone that’s been paying attention the past decade, it’s clear that a large number of European soccer stars would love to spend the final years of their career in New York or Miami. Miami will have no trouble attracting superstars to their team.

        • AristotleTimVickery says:

          Speaking of the intelligence of those involved with the league, I kept hearing/reading yesterday that Miami can be successful if the team has the right players and wins. The point about “right players” was made w/respect to the local soccer-savvy community. I admit that having an Ibra or a Falcao will generate fan interest from a community primarily following S.American or European football. However, the part about having a winning team is way off base. The Miami community could give a **** if their team wins in MLS. If you put players on the Mia team that the community not only knows but thinks highly of, then I think you’ll get good turnouts. Its gonna take a few years for Mia fans to be motivated by whether their team wins or not. Miami is all about window dressing…not much different then LA. Thats the kind of culture they have down there.

      • MLSsnob says:

        Just because a team can work doesn’t mean it’s going to bring anything extra to the league. The Revolution is maintaing status quo in Boston but that doesn’t mean everyone and their mother knows that the Krafts treat the team like the red headed step child to the Patriots.

        • Chris says:

          Except where the Revs play is no where near Boston, and that’s a big part of the problem. Fox and ABC/ESPN love to make everyone Foxboro is a suburb, but it’s over an hour away by car, and in that region, for soccer especially, it might as we’ll be Mars.

      • Bean says:

        If the league fails, then it fails. At some point it has to grow. Soccer is here to stay in this country, I can tell you that.

    • Sam says:

      This “mouth-breathing” might be the dumbest drivel I’ve ever read. Please provide warrants to back up your claims next time…

    • MLSsnob says:

      Miami is totally different then the Falcons Jr’s. In Miami you have: a dedicated ownership group wanting to make soccer work, plans for a soccer specific stadium, no other primary interests in other sports or soccer franchises.

      • Rory Miller says:

        And in Atlanta you have several cable television channels to possibly make a TV deal with, the world’s largest soccer sponsor (Coca-Cola), and a much better transportation hub and access to basically a fourth of the nation geographically. Pluses and minuses for both, but Atlanta is not doomed.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I feel like we are being used in the ATL and MN situations. They do not attend their minor league teams well, and the NFL ownership has an incentive to convert the soccer community to their cause, which particularly in the ATL situation is a tough sell. “But we just built the Georgia Dome.” “Well, this will be a multi-purpose stadium that will also be used for soccer.” Bringing soccer in tries to make a debatable argument more popular.

      • beto says:

        Good point. Both cities; Atlanta and MN, are very strong candidates and would bring a lot of power and $ to the league but you get the felling that they are using soccer as “one of the other things we can do with this publically funded NFL stadium to ensure tax revenue year round”.

        On the other hand you have Sacramento and San Antonio who are much smaller and w/o the big league power of Atlanta and MN but are making their case in all the right ways. Organic growth, privately funded stadiums, etc.

        Garber has got a job ahead of him walking this line. My estimate; they all get expansion.

      • whoop-whoop says:

        My thoughts exactly. My concern is that we aren’t looking at an ownership group focused on soccer and intent to make it their first priority and a huge success. As in Minnesota we have an ownership group trying to get a stadium deal done and I am afraid, using MLS in order to meet this goal… ultimately for the betterment of their NFL team. One of the largest stumbling blocks for the NFLin putting together a stadium deal, is the fact that a team only plays 8 home games meaning the stadium sits empty the vast majority of the year. A proposal has to show how the stadium will be used the rest of the year. It’s hard to see soccer being anything better than a step-child, side project once they get what they want from the deal.

      • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

        I don’t disagree with you Imperative Voice.

        We are being used, We were used in Seattle to get CLink built…but we have had the Sounders in the stadium longer than the Seahawks…and it has been great.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Except the USL Sounders occasionally drew 5 figure attendances for isolated games at the same park (stadium opener, 2008 season opener) hinting at possibilities. Don’t think I buy that there is pentup demand like that for MLS in ATL.

    • Karlheinz Stockhausen says:

      What an absolutely absurd notion. The SEC Championship would never interfere with the MLS Cup. All it takes is 2 scraps of a brain and minimal planning to avoid that. This is an entire region that deserves to have an MLS team, so take your prejudicial views and shove it. Atlanta handled the Olympics in 1996 and can freaking handle an MLS team. What is wrong with you?

      • beto says:

        They happened at the same time this year.. But ya they could easily be adjusted either before the season or right before the event.

        Hopefully MLS CUP never gets bumbed around or hasnt to play a game with gridiron markets on it!

        Personally i wish they would move it back to and keep it in Thanksgiving Week.

        • Micronesia Justin says:

          They plan these things more than a year in advance. MLS sees the SEC champ game is schedule for, say, Dec 2, then they will most likely want to avoid that date for TV rating purposes alone.

    • The Dude says:

      “Those two towns will damage MLS!”

      Hope so! MLS is a joke. Let’s do our part to take ‘er down!

    • Jake says:

      S
      E
      C
      By a mile. Don’t kid yourself.

  2. Sean says:

    Boooooooooo.

  3. Payson says:

    Under Arthur Blank’s ownership, the Falcons went from perennial laughingstock to a upper tier team that has sold out games for many years running. He’ll make an MLS franchise work. Plus, the large local soccer community, as well as an exploding Hispanic population, will provide a built in fan base that few can match. Plus, the team will in a brand new, state of the art stadium. It’s a great move for everyone.

    • Sean says:

      Yay football lines.

    • Sam says:

      Finally, someone with a brain who actually provides statistics as opposed to people like “Noname” who just whine and moan while stuck to the chair in their parents’ basement shoveling Doritos in their mouth .

      • Nate says:

        Where are the statistics you speak of? You realize statistics require numbers, right?

        • Sam says:

          Statistics don’t have to be numbers. They can also be statements based on numbers. But if you want numbers, I can give them to you, although my thoughts on Young College graduates who move to Atlanta is just common sense :

          Hispanic Population in Metro Atlanta: 10.5% of Metro Atlanta (approx 600,000 residents)
          Was 6.5% in 2000, grew 109.6% in 10 years

          Young people (people up to age 25): 23.9% of the population

          That good enough for you?

          • Sam says:

            As a graduate student for sports management at UGA, I recently had to do a SWOT analysis on MLS in Atlanta, and let’s just say the Strengths and Opportunities far outweigh the weaknesses and threats.

          • IndyElevenFan says:

            Having a large Latino population does not equal success in a particular sport (or didn’t you read all those posts about Marlins baseball in the Miami thread?). And to think so is, we’ll call it, stereotyping.

            1st – why do they have to SHARE a stadium? Didn’t we want to get away from that? Just a few years ago, we almost required a SSS to be part of any expansion plans. To go back on that now is just nonsense.

            2nd – If Blank really wants a team – buy the Silverbacks (take note Beckham – tap into the history of the region’s soccer history), expand/ blow up and rebuild “silverbacks park” and be done with it.

            3rd – I understand people are always touting “new stadia” as a positive economic thing for the community, but it really isn’t. The amount of money that is drawn AWAY from local businesses when a big stadium is built in the region is really really bad. Why? Because – you’ll get whatever you need IN the stadium, not outside of it at local shops. So, if you say it’ll bring jobs/ improve the local economy, you’re just not educated on the subject.

            4th – Atlanta is the only city IN THE WORLD to have lost two professional sports franchises (and they both went to Canada BTW). So, please stop with the, “we’ll surely support them this time” line. Further, have you seen the attendance for your Atlanta Hawks and Braves (one of the reasons the Braves leaving Turner Field is because of low attendance – and they think by moving to a more “upper class” part of ATL, they’ll get more fans to come).

            • Sam says:

              The Silverbacks have already said that they aren’t interested in that.

            • Ryan says:

              Just so I’m clear, you said in a single post that 1) Atlanta shouldn’t get a team unless they build a SSS. 2) Building new stadia aren’t positive economic impacts.

              Also, New York lost the Giants (MLB) and Dodgers (MLB) 2 years apart (guess baseball won’t work there)

              Seattle lost the Pilots (MLB) and the Supersonics (NBA)

              Milwaukee lost the Browns (MLB) and the Braves (MLB) (guess baseball will never work there) and the Hawks (NBA).

              St Louis lost the Browns (MLB) and the Hawks (NBA) and the Cardinals (NFL).

              Philadelphia lost the Athletics (MLB) and Warriors (NBA(

              Kansas City lost the Athletics (MLB) and the Kings (NBA)

              Los Angeles lost the Chargers (NFL) and the Raiders (NFL)

              Baltimore lost the Colts (NFL) and Bullets (NBA)

              San Diego lost the Rockets (NBA) and the Clippers (NBA)

              So please, tell me more about the only city in the world.

              • scott47a says:

                You forgot the LA Rams.

              • Wansteiger says:

                You’ve got a point on cities losing teams. But he is right publicly funded stadia not doing much for the economy.

                Soccernomics (2nd Edition) dedicates an entire chapter to this. You should read it.

              • Wansteiger says:

                Chargers have always been in SD. LA lost Rams and Raiders.

              • Ryan says:

                Wan, I do agree that stadia aren’t a big win for local economies.

                That’s why I’m surprised someone would make the argument that Atlanta should have to build a SSS in addition to the new NFL stadium (which is only 15% publicly funded, FWIW) in order to get a team.

                This is a better deal for the owners, and a better deal for the city. If the league doesn’t have a problem with it, neither do I.

                Also: link to en.wikipedia.org

              • Michael says:

                Wansteiger: Sorry to quibble, but Chargers spent their first season (early 60s, AFL) in Los Angeles before moving to SD.

            • Micronesia Justin says:

              New stadiums never have a positive economic impact. Hope my Sport Management brethren can back me up there. The economic impact is a fallacy used to justify public funding. Mike Illitich just got approved for like $60M in public funding for a new Red Wings stadium in Detroit…A CITY THAT FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY.

          • Rory Miller says:

            Well if there are Hispanics let’s give them a team! I mean, look how Hispanics fill every FC Dallas match to capacity , right?

          • Michael says:

            Where is Young College?

            Also, “young college graduates” and “people age 25 and under” are not the same thing.

    • Uncle Grandpa says:

      Hispanic population does not = ticket sales

      They dont buy season tickets

  4. Sean says:

    Wait, won’t Miami be No. 22? And, if Kroenke rumors are true maybe Chivas will be bought out?

    Whew. Disaster averted.

    • John says:

      I don’t think CHIVAS is going anywhere as that’s more to get Saint Louis to negotiate stadium improvements for the Rams. He already owns the Rapids and MLS is getting away from owners owning multiple teams.

    • scott47a says:

      That Kroenke stuff is bunk.
      Not too mention the Rapids, the team he already owns, is the second-lowest spending team in the league, behind CUSA.

      • Rory Miller says:

        And yet the Rapids won the MLS Cup in the last five years.

        The league has never states that multiple owners is a negative thing now that there are a lot more owners out there. For example, has the league ever complained about AEG owning two teams now?

      • beto says:

        +1 the story is hogwash, and Kronke is not really any better than Chivas current ownership.

        If it was to happen the MLS team formerly known as Chivas would be 100% the same but advertizement for either his LA-NFL team or Arsenal or both. Personally idk take Chivas over that!

  5. Sam says:

    Of course someone named “Noname” would hide behind such an uniformed opinion. As a resident of Georgia for 27 years and someone who lived in Atlanta for 20 of those, I can say with the utmost confidence that Atlanta would fully support an MLS team. The demographics are there, much like Portland. It’s a hub for all of the young graduates for colleges around the southeast, those graduates are starting families here and MLS is a great family event, and there is a very large hispanic population. As far as the clashing with the SEC Championship, again an uninformed statement, by the time Atlanta would get a team, MLS would almost certainly have switched their season schedule to match most of the other soccer leagues around the world (August-May, or something close to that), as FIFA has recommended them to do. The comment by “Payson” is spot on in regards to Arthur Blank. He wouldn’t be so far in negotiations if he thought this would fail. Once he puts his mind to something (umm, Home Depot anyone?), he sees it through. The Silverbacks have a very solid following, and I can only see that growing once MLS arrives. We’ve seen how well soccer does at the Georgia Dome, with most games there hitting close to capacity. Even back in the 70′s/80′s, the Atlanta Chiefs of the NASL had great attendance numbers. This is not only a great idea, but one that the city of Atlanta has wanted for a long time.

    • drew11 says:

      Portland? More like Foxboro. ATL MLS is NE Revs 2.0. They will be tarping mid field seats within a few years.

      This is all about TV and corporate deals. Support will be minimal. The region simply doesn’t support pro sports outside of the NFL. MLS is not the NFL.

      • Sam says:

        Again, someone is mouth-breathing and not basing anything off of facts. The Atlanta Chiefs of the NASL in the 70′s and 80′s was always near the top of the league in attendance and they went out of existence due to the league folding/wasn’t their fault. I’m assuming you’re basing your comments on the failures of Tampa and Miami, which is just dumb because Atlanta has much different demographics, but you probably know nothing about Atlanta, even though you claim to. The demographics and commitment are there to make this a success.

        • drew11 says:

          Facts are facts, bro. Sorry you don’t like them and must name call.

          There has been virtually no support for US Soccer in recent decades in ATL. It is what is. MLS wants ATL because it is a large TV market and for access to the many corporate HQ’s in the area. Not because they expect good support.

          Go support the club you have now and prove me wrong. That won’t be happening, I can see.

      • Mason says:

        Did you just compare Downtown Atlanta to Foxboro?

        Clearly, you’ve never been to Foxboro.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      ATL has a SSS and the fans are AWOL. QED.

      • Ryan says:

        Silverbacks had an average attendance of 4,700 in a 5,000 seat stadium.

        You sure about that?

        • Rory Miller says:

          4,700? Is that real? That sounds higher than Seattle’s minor league support (not that that proves anything about MLS support)

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Two years of that sort of attendance and several years of 1K-2K.

          So the selling point is they can’t hit capacity in a stadium 1/4 the size of MLS?

          Seattle played in Starfire, which was smaller, and they were better attended for a longer period of time.

          • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

            No Seatlte played in the same stadium. At least that is where I was watching. Maybe one year of Starfire ( and the last championship game too ).

            The stadium was for soccer too, and it would not have passed otherwise. Sounders have always played there.

            ps. the vote was for real grass stadium too.

          • BK says:

            The Imperative Voice…Please, remind me what the attendance was for the Toronto Lynx

  6. Ron says:

    Awesome news!!!! I’m moving to Atlanta in the next month so I’m excited about this news!

  7. mb says:

    Sound like they are planning on a turf field if they plan to cover that many sports. NATURAL GRASS 4EVER!!! They should design a stadium like the University of Phoenix stadium with a rolling field. Roll a natural field in for soccer that’s kept on one side of stadium. Roll a stupid turf field in for other sports from the other side. Roll them both out for motocross, concerts, etc.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      The palletized grass fields don’t play much more naturally than the roll-out ones and IMO there seem to be many injuries like it’s turf anyway. I think the solutions are either planted grass or what you suggest, the slide in slide out fields. I think there is an issue as they build taller with getting sunlight in.

    • beto says:

      +1 that would be nice.

    • Increase0 says:

      I would love a slide in field it would be the best for both the NFL and MLS. It’s not like they don’t have the budget for it. You could have 2 separate grass fields one of each side of the stadium for each sport. Mind you it would be expensive but… you are already paying 800 mil. I doubt another 10 million is going to bother them.

  8. Bill says:

    Please, how about a SSS, not one shared with a football team with its inevitable artificial surface and football lines, i.e. Seattle and New England.

    • Josh D says:

      This. Weren’t we supposed to move beyond this 5 years ago?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Seattle is the best attended team in the league and probably financially the healthiest. I do wonder if their lack of MLS success relates to being on turf, but the worst attended team in the league plays in a SSS. Ideally it’s part of the package but it’s just one element alongside strong owners, strong fans, and such.

      NW fans could speak more directly to it, but there is a reason the Cascade teams play on turf. Rain.

      • Ted in MN says:

        Seattle is an exception to what has consistently been a problem in MLS for Kansas City, New England, DC, Dallas, Denver, Columbus, Chicago and Tampa Bay. I doubt Atlanta could sustain it like Seattle could.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          It can be advantageous if it’s common ownership and essentially a free place to play.

          NE is generally put in the “bad” category but its attendance has improved. Their current issue is that they don’t keep up on spending.

          Dallas’ tactic of fleeing to a suburb primarily serviced by toll roads, to put up a SSS, is dubious. They kneecapped their attendance for several years.

        • Mason says:

          NE is generally put in the bad category but it’s a stable franchise due to the co-ownership and co-location. That’s a good thing.

          Also… There’s a Trader Joe’s in the parking lot.

      • Joe Timbres says:

        Spot on and the main reason grass won’t work is that less than 20 feet under Jeld Wen is Tanner Creek….yes an actual freaking creek. So the concern is over saturation and crappy League One style FA cup turf. Though MP has the money and I’m fairly certain something will be done in the next 3 years, after the just installed new turf reaches it’s lifespan.

  9. Alexandria says:

    Sign me up!!! So excited….cant wait to see what this does to the youth teams in the area, there are a lot of clubs that are already affiliated with European teams, will be interesting to see how this works.

  10. ATLwantsMLS says:

    We are so excited that momentum is growing for a Major League Soccer team! After 3 years of hard work, it looks like it is all coming to fruition now!

    If you believe in MLS coming to Atlanta, sign the petition now at http://www.atlwantsmls.com!

    • drew11 says:

      Then support the club you do have now.

      I see very little evidence ATL will be successful in MLS. No grassroots, no recent history of interest in US Soccer and overall disinterest in pro sports in the region.

      • IndyElevenFan says:

        Just google Silverbacks attendance. It’s actually not too bad. They’ve got a 5,000 seat stadium and average attendance the past two years was around 4,500 both years.

        What they should do is just buy the Silverbacks and enhance their stadium like Montreal did.

        • Sean says:

          IndyElevenFan – I live a couple miles from SIlverbacks park. Enhancing the stadium is not really an option. While adding seats is, they did it for Soccer Bowl, there is no room for more parking. I wish they could buy the Silverbacks and make them the MLS team but by all accounts (Silverbacks execs) that is not going to happen.

          • Rory Miller says:

            What about something like a park and ride? Where you park in a special lot away from the stadium then ride a bus that let’s you out right at the door? I had to do this when the Ikea opened in ATL… Yeah, it was that busy!

        • The Dude says:

          They aren’t buying the Silverbacks, who have said they ARE sticking around.

      • RK says:

        I’m not sure how you know if there has been support for US Soccer here.

  11. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    I dislike the Atlanta bid from top to bottom. Bad sport expansion history, kraft-like owner, ginormous stadium and ownership has no current soccer team in place. Garber has made good decisions for the league. But let’s not forget that this is the same guy who thought Chivas USA was a sure fire deal too. I fear Atlanta will become the Revs 2.0.

    • Reid says:

      The only thing that would make me dislike this bid more then how it is now…. If Bob Kraft gave Atlanta blessing and support.

    • drew11 says:

      The other bad thing is that MLS clearly wants the ATL market, is willing to bend over to get in and nobody but Blank is interested.

  12. RK says:

    I really wish that the new Braves stadium site would be for soccer, instead…

    • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

      Where will this stadium be located? Close to city??

      • Ryan says:

        Downtown Atlanta.

        About 1 mile from Centennial Olympic Park and the light rail stop, less than a half mile from a different MARTA stop, across the street from Philips Arena.

      • RK says:

        Just outside, 15 minutes with no traffic, at the corner of 75 and 285.

        • RK says:

          And by “this”, I assumed you meant the Braves stadium.

        • Ryan says:

          “with no traffic”

          To 75/285? That’s like saying I can get to Mars in 4 and a half minutes at light speed.

          Seriously though, I think putting a soccer stadium downtown, given the differing demographics of fan bases between that and baseball and their respective location within the city and propensity for public transportation, is the right move.

          • RK says:

            I think Doraville and the old factory there would be perfect.

            • Ryan says:

              Doraville has been the perfect spot for a new stadium ever since that plant closed. But the Doraville powers-that-be have been adamant about not wanting a stadium built on that site for reasons mentioned above.

  13. MLSsnob says:

    I have an idea for a team name. How bout the Re-Revolution or the Revolution 2 or the WannabeKrafts. Because let’s face it, this is what this team is going to be. This makes me sick, you know Falcons ownership is just trying to fill stadium usage during the off season. Hey, how can we get more revenue out of the stadium during the off season? How bout MLS? Boom! Done!

  14. Eric K says:

    Vancouver does the same thing with BC Place stadium, it seems to work okay.

  15. Amru says:

    Hate it. Count me in with the people that see this as NE 2.0. Even if they draw decent crowds I don’t see Blank dropping money on big time players and I think natural grass fields should be a requirement for any team that wants to join the league at this point. Simply put they will never be the top priority of the owner and that will show.

  16. g-dub says:

    While SSSs are best in most cases there are also advantages in an affiliation with an NFL team and sharing a stadium.

    1. Getting more bang for the buck in an infrastructure investment for the public and owner. NFL only brings about 9 events a year. Sharing with MLS increases the number of events in the same facility by at least 19.

    2. The Sounders really benefit from the affiliation with the Seahawks including a shared part owner. For example it’s the same staff for event management, marketing and promotions.

    3. With a higher number of events in the stadium area businesses are more viable, so it improves the overall gameday experience with more restaurants bars etc near the stadium.

    • bb says:

      1. Is a benefit for taxpayers of Atlanta. Not (necessarily) a benefit to MLS.
      2. Sounders affiliation with the Seahawks? I’m not sure how closely the event management staff work together besides scheduling to avoid conflicts with NFL. If this were a real benefit to MLS we’d see MLS pushing for more shared combo-stadia with the NFL, rather than pushing for SSS.
      3. This depends on what is around the NFL stadium. For example when KC played at Arrowhead, the only thing nearby Arrowhead & Kaufman stadium was a massive parking lot.

      The way I feel about any new potential ownership group is summarized thusly. If you want a MLS team, you gotta want it. And you gotta have demand for it. The clearest way to determine this is a SSS. If you think it’ll work in your town, and you want a piece of the MLS pie, and you care about your team doing well, you’ll have no reservations in putting up the cash to build them a home.

      When a potential new owner ignores the current existing team in his town, and proposes to share an NFL stadium with the NFL team they already own, it stinks real bad of a businessman simply trying to make some extra cash on the side while his NFL team isn’t playing in the stadium, and helps him lobby for tax dollars to pay for the stadium.

  17. Rey Pygsterio says:

    No.

    Strike 1: artificial turf

    Strike 2: NFL ownership using MLS to bring in more revenue to NFL stadium

    Strike 3: Atlanta already has a team. Let them earn promotion if they want to play in MLS 1.

  18. beto says:

    Good thing they will have a dome; might snow less than an inch one day and the place could be used a refugee camp.

  19. Giggity says:

    Wake me up when there is some real news…

  20. The Dude says:

    Atlanta Silverbacks gonna kick these clown’s butt in the Open Cup. Bring it on, Home Depot FC.

  21. Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

    There are NOT two remaining spots. There are two spots to get to Garber’s goal….which will obviously be hit.

    They will blow through 24 teams like the Sounders going for another championship….

    • The Dude says:

      Which means…they won’t make it?

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      What’s that ?…..having trouble hearing over the parade going down 4th avenue for the most recent Seattle Champions.

      • MLSsnob says:

        Most recent? You mean only? Unless you count non exsistent team championships. Not hating dude but if you’re gonna brag get it right.

        • bb says:

          Seattle has won 2 championships with their WNBA team. Not hating but if you’re gonna be a smart@ss get it right

          • MLSsnob says:

            I’m sorry, we were talking actual sports here. I know they have, I was purposely leaving them out.

            • bb says:

              An MLS snob indeed. You realize that most major networks sports talking-heads use that same argument against soccer? I don’t think we MLS fans should be looking down on any of the other professional sports leagues just yet. We don’t have the same clout as the NFL.

              • MLSsnob says:

                MLS is a growing league and increasing in popularity year after year. When’s the last time you’ve seen exponetial growth in the WNBA? Even their parent company uses them effectively as a tax write off. And with David Stern retiring, I’d be surprised if the league lasted 5 more years. If Seattle fans want to hang their collective hat on 2 WNBA championships then so be it. If it was me, I’d take more pride in the the one Lord Stanley’s Cup win the city has.

              • MLSsnob says:

                And the name address’s European soccer lovers not soccer in general. I follow pretty much every other sport their is, with the exception of NASCAR and, of course, the WNBA.

  22. critic says:

    Is it me? or are the ATL HATERS out in full force. You have to be a complete _______ to overlook that city’s diverse culture and its surrounding areas. If the other cities which are no more than 2.5 drive to ATL can’t see the value of placing an MLS Franchise there than dummies all around. If soccer can’t succeed in ATL than Shut this MFKR down because it will forever be a niche sport….yawn!

  23. 2tone says:

    Everyone is acting like MLS is going to stop at 24 teams. I will say it now MLS will stop at 28 teams not 24.

  24. JR says:

    Adding Atl, San Antone, and Miami puts MLS pretty close to being able to play on the European calendar. Take a break in early Dec thru Jan. then pick back up in February with Southern teams, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver hosting. By mid Feb. Denver, Salt Lake, and DC could be hosting and everyone by March.

    • Rey Pygsterio says:

      Absolutely horrible idea. MLS gets it right on the calendar, and Europe is starting to wake up to that.

    • Good Jeremy says:

      I don’t see a shift anytime soon. Shifting the season into winter will make life miserable for teams outside of Texas and the Pacific Coast, and it will open all of the teams to weekend competition with the NFL and college football. Are there any MLS teams that outdraw college football or NFL teams in their cities? Portland, but only because they don’t have a college or pro team. They won’t put butts in seats during the weekends, and they will be demolished in TV ratings by football and the NBA. The MLS is more worried about self preservation than fitting in with Europe (See: Having a draft, playoffs, an unbalanced schedule, and no pro-rel).

    • bb says:

      If you really wanted them to play the NFL (ie European) calendar, you wouldn’t want them sharing a stadium with an NFL team would you?

  25. Good Jeremy says:

    Bah humbug.

    I’m all for a team in Atlanta, but I’m not fond of sharing a stadium with the Falcons and having a turf field. Also, starting a team from scratch instead of buying the Silverbacks and going from there bothers me. It seems like they are combining all of the worst aspects of NYC FC and New England.

  26. mike says:

    I want more grass stadiums. Turf blows. period.

  27. John says:

    If a team was serious about having both sports could they build a stadium with grass feild that moves outside like Schalke’s? Seems like this would also solve playing on NFL lines as well. As is, Atlanta just has picture of how they’ll hang some tarps. This is all about filling a calender to justify building it the city.

  28. Pete says:

    I dunno where Garber gets his thing about maxing at 24 teams. Maybe 24 is what he feels the league can manage currently, but for this league to take on REAL relevance in the American sports landscape AND in the rest of the world there will need to be 30-36 teams– like it or not.

  29. Matt Mueller says:

    I don’t understand why people outside of Miami and Atlanta are so bitter about these markets getting a team. It’s not your money, and they aren’t going to ruin MLS. Just be happy for Miami and Atlanta soccer fans and stop whining.

    Also, if you are a USMNT fan you should love this. The South is one of the few places you can play year round, which is great for youth development. Right now the soccer talent in the South is underdeveloped. Pro soccer in the area will only help.

    • John says:

      When MLS has playoff matches on a turf feild with NFL lines it’s hard to take it seriously and I personally think it hurts the entire league.

  30. JJ says:

    Can we name them the Thrashers?

  31. fRED says:

    Everyone needs to calm down. I’m also skeptic about Atlanta, but in the end it comes down to the owner. This really can go either way, like Seattle or New England. I tend to think it’ll be somewhere in the middle. The stadium will be downtown so that’s a major plus! Now in the case of Minnesota, where you have two competing groups, I would hope MLS chooses the group with the SSS. Miami will also be fine if they build the stadium in a good location. I don’t know how far San Antonio Scorpions stadium is from the city center, but that seems pretty cool too. Finally Viagra needs to sell the Cheapass and they need their own stadium. They need to stay in LA though. The two biggest markets need to have (keep) both of their teams. I’m thinking LA United, Athletic LA, LA Athletico or Angel City FC.