Reports: Atlanta to be announced as latest MLS expansion city

AtlantaFalconsSoccerConfigurationDesign2 (AtlantaFalcons)

 By IVES GALARCEP

The city of Atlanta, long considered one of the favorites to land a team in the latest round of Major League Soccer expansion, has been granted an MLS expansion team, multiple news outlets reported on Sunday.

An announcement unveiling Atlanta as the latest MLS expansion city will be held on April 16, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Atlanta, Orlando and Miami have long been linked together as the next wave of expansion cities. Orlando has already been formally announced as joining MLS in 2015, while the David Beckham-led Miami expansion team is awaiting finalization of its stadium project before being formally introduced as an official expansion team.

The Atlanta team, which will be owned by NFL Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, is set to share a new stadium with the Falcons that Blank will be building in the coming years.

The Atlanta team will reportedly begin play in 2017 as he 22nd team in MLS.

What do you think of this development? Think Atlanta will be a big hit as an expansion city? Which city would you like to see join Orlando and Miami in the latest wave of MLS expansion?

Share your thoughts below.

 

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320 Responses to Reports: Atlanta to be announced as latest MLS expansion city

  1. Stan says:

    Bring it on. Silverbacks til I die!

    • F.Cosmos says:

      You can die now.

    • Kevin R says:

      I don’t know if Atlanta is a good city for first division soccer or not, but damn MLS, what is the hurry? Expanding at this pace is completely unnecessary. Plus I worry about the dilution of American soccer talent.

      • Tony says:

        i wouldn’t worry too much of the dilution of american talent, that’s more of a short term issue, not a long term. We need to focus on the long term issues. Expansion excites me because i think these new franchises have more free spending owners which in turn will provide a better product by acquiring better players. Better product in turn should provide more media attention and grab the younger audience, which should create and cause more children to dedicate more time and passion to the game. Provide a larger talent base for the future.Also it will create more opportunites for players to stick on and develop with MLS instead of going to Scandinavia because a MLS franchise just couldn’t squeeze him into their budget. (i.e. Babadije Ogunbiyi, Olivier Occean, etc…)

        • Rory says:

          Cash. The expansion fees are the only thing keeping MLS afloat.

          • Mark says:

            Why would someone pay a massive expansion fee if they believed there wasn’t a healthy business? These guys aren’t dumb, and while I agree there is risk, these guys wouldn’t buy in if they didn’t think they’d get their money back.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          The salary budget will stay the same or rise on its own, that is independent of the number of teams. Players go abroad because they can make more money, not because they can’t find a lateral MLS team to pay them the same. In theory a MLS team might pay more than another, but there are inherent limits set by the budgets (and, since people like to forget, by many team’s finances…..not everyone affords DPs).

          This is like listening to the free speech arguments on the campaign spending case where 500-something people in a 300 million person country bumped up against a limit and so this is going to “bring more people into the marketplace of ideas,” etc. No, if the budgets go up and DPs increase, some teams will take full advantage but many teams will have limitations. And the simple fact that we expand doesn’t mean salaries skyrocket. In fact, that would be an invitation to disaster. This is what I worry: that the eager beavers will re-create the implosion of NASL unwittingly by historical amnesia.

    • John says:

      Do you have life insurance?

    • gr8ftblr says:

      So, as a soccer fan in the South that would like Atlanta to have a team I have several issues as I am sure most do.
      1) Atlanta has proven to be a difficult sports market for any league except the NFL. See Hawks, Braves, and Thrashers (RIP). Even if the product is good they may struggle to draw good.
      2) Is Arthur Blank serious about soccer or is his just wanting a second team in a 1.2B dollar stadium to make it a more attractive investment.
      3) Is an NFL partnership good? Best case scenario is Seattle that averages 38,000 fans per game. Worst case scenario is New England that averages 14,000 fans per game. Which fan base is Atlanta closer to being (rhetorical).
      4) Stadium renderings for a decreased capacity of 31,000 in lower bowl are still way too big for an MLS configuration. Largest SSS (Soccer Specific Stadium) in MLS is LA that holds 27,000 or Red Bull Arena that hold 25,000.
      5) Artificial turf. Beckham, Henry, and others just will not play on it. Call it what you want.
      6) Does Atlanta even want the team? It is always best when these teams come in an organic fashion ie Portland, Seattle, and Philly.

      • Matt C says:

        Thank you so much for saving me the time to type what you just wrote. I’ll just emphasize a couple of points. Field turf? NFL stadium? Is there really a groundswell in the ATL for an MLS team? As much as i can’t stand my neighbor to the east, at least Orlando and the Orlando City fans showed the demand (season tix and game attendance). Perhaps i’m too removed from Atlanta, but i just “don’t feel” this one.

        Good luck.

    • Arnie Q says:

      Atlanta Silverbacks FC:
      The people’s club. Built from the ground up.

      vs.

      MLS Atlanta FC:
      The evil corporate empire.

      Should make for an awesome rivalry!

  2. Rory Miller says:

    Yes! Make it a regional team with a regional fanbase. Team of the South!

    • Silverbacks Til I Die says:

      Who we will defeat regularly in the US Open Cup. BuiltNotBought.

    • CS says:

      Yea, more turf!

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      By regional fanbase you mean fanbase befitting of the region. Atlanta is currently pulling 4K people in a SSS that holds 5K.

      This is the tail wagging the dog. They have an owner and a likely stadium, but fewer people going to actual games than San Antonio, Carolina, Orlando, Rochester, and the Cosmos.

      • Andy in Atlanta says:

        As someone that does not regularly attend Silverbacks games… I can tell you that there are at least 10K more people that will attend if MLS is an Atlanta team in a new stadium…

        15-20k is sustainable in the MLS…

  3. TheFrenchOne says:

    I assume the league hopes lightning strikes with ushering in a regional rivalry, like Seattle-Portland-Vancouver. But in this case, Miami and Atlanta are new clubs. Hopeful that it can still work

    • slowleftarm says:

      The only thing those cities will rival each other for is the title of “worst sports city in America”

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      I hope so too FrenchOne,

      But Saturday was the 85th time that Seattle and Portland have played.

      Seattle versus the Whitecaps is more like 130.

      • solles says:

        er its the 85th time teams called the sounders and timbers have played, it is not the 85th time those two clubs have played.

        • Foo says:

          And last Wednesday was the umpteenth time a team called USA played a team called Mexico. The point still stands. A rivalry is a rivalry, be it in nasl, usl, or mls.

  4. Herschel Skywalker says:

    Yes! And Eric Wynalda will be the coach, and all the native Georgian or Southern dudes from connecting states players will come back to either coach (Clint Mathis, Josh Wolff) or play (Rico Clark, etc.) with some new recruits (young guys from the Silverbacks that Wynalda has found, and international level DPs that math the ATL’s status as the lead city in the New South. That’s the dream. My new MLS team.

  5. Jon says:

    Peaches FC.

  6. Iggy Silverback says:

    Dear Silverbacks ownership:

    1. Please stay in NASL.

    2. Please stay on edge of city instead of moving further out.

    Current fan base is mostly a mix of hardcore fans and family picnic crowd. Neither of these segments will be attracted to expensive games in cavernous downtown dome. Give it a shot for at least ONE post MLS season. Please.

    • Darwin says:

      Your fans don’t sound very hardcore at all.

      • Iggy Silverback says:

        The hardcore fans are, the picnic fans aren’t, but neither will defect – for different reasons. That’s my point. The MLS crowd will be made up mostly of folks who have refused to watch 2nd division soccer.

    • solles says:

      sorry guy but the silverbacks will cease to exist in 2017 or shortly after, just as the Utah Blitzz ceased to exist when RSL came into MLS, just as the USL Sounders and Timbers and Whitecaps and Impact ceased to exist when the MLS teams named after them came into being. It is inevitable.

      • Eurosnob says:

        Are you trying to illustrate what MLS business model is doing for the soccer development in the United States? In the rest of the world, teams can compete on the field and earn promotion to the top division on the merit. Teams like the Swanseas and Cardiffs of this world and their fans have real hope to make it to the top division and their hopes do come true. MLS is a single entity that supresses competition, which hampers soccer development in this country.

        • Eric says:

          You’re going to have to expand on that arguement because it’s not self-evident. How has soccer development suffered in this country without promotion/relegation in MLS in its 19 seasons of existence?

        • DCLee says:

          Yeah. That same model that gives fans of teams like the Swanseas and Cardiffs the same real hope of winning championships like RSL has done once and been in 2 other finals.

          More MLS teams playing with bigger budgets creates more opportunities for current and future players in this country.

  7. Jeff Delp says:

    DC, Chicago, KC, and Philly are all almost as close at Miami to Atlanta. Orlando will be only regional rival we will have, and that is still 5-6 hours away. Close, but no Portland-Seattle.

    • Mileage says:

      Don’t forget the Crew – as the crow flies, airport-to-airport from Atlanta, here are the teams closer than 700 miles:

      Orlando, 404 miles
      Columbus, 447 miles
      DC, 547 miles
      Miami, 594 miles
      Chicago, 606 miles
      Philly, 666 miles
      KC, 692 miles
      Houston, 696 miles

      • The Resurgence says:

        Charlotte needs a team either them or New Orleans

        • wandmdave says:

          It will never happen but I’m going to +1 anyway because it would be nice to have an MLS team within driving distance and on local TV.

    • Herschel Skywalker says:

      Not true. DC will be a rival as well.

  8. Eric says:

    Can’t say I like this idea at all. They won’t even have their own stadium and will be stuck in a cavernous NFL stadium where the MLS team will have no hope of even filling half of it. This clearly isn’t a Seattle situation. Not to mention that Atlanta doesn’t have the greatest track record of actually supporting the teams it has. The city has already lost 2 NHL teams and barely supports the Braves even when they’re good.

    • Jay says:

      $70,000,000 dollars. Your move.

      • slowleftarm says:

        They can get $70m from some other town.

        • Nic D "the TX 2 Stepper" says:

          Like?

          • TomG says:

            Minnesota

            • seaoctopus says:

              where they will play in another NFL stadium?

              • lando says:

                as well as more owners who just want to fill their new space with renters. The Wilfs said,”hey, this place would be good for MLS too” to get the unscrupulous soccer fans on board to support a stadium that the the public didn’t want to pay for. Haven’t heard nary a word on MLS since. But we have NASL so that’s fine.

              • Gazza says:

                Minnesota will NOT be playing in a NFL stadium. And the Wilfs will have nothing to do with the expansion. It will be the Minn United group.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        That’s NASL-think. NASL owners used to delight in their franchise fees which diluted the prouct and brought poor choices into the league. Money now for viability issues over time? MLS’ recent virtue has been no folded or moved teams. When Chivas became an issue they bought them back. No need for risk. No thanks.

        • don Lamb says:

          Comparing the soccer market now to the one in the US in the 70s-80s, they are not even close. That is why “product dilution” is not as much of a concern these days. Some reasons why:
          1. Clubs are now starting to produce their own players.
          2. MLS is more financially sound than NASL ever was.
          3. MLS is able to attract players from many more leagues than NASL ever was.

          As long as money gained from expansion goes to support these points, even a short term dilution of talent would lead to greater long term gains in talent.

          • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

            Don Lamb is exactly right.

            The marketplace isn’t even comparable, except if you are pointing out how opposite they are.

            The American players for the most part were terrible. Sorry guys, I rooted for you more than any foreigners, but it was just a fact.

            And the population didn’t follow soccer in any form, nor did they know anything about it.

            There was no TV to speak of….as close to zero as you could get.

            And no salary cap. The league spent itself to death and the only ones that won and succeeded were the Cosmos…even Seattle’s massive fan base, saw me sitting with 5k of my fellow fans at the end.

            MLS is a very well run league…whether you agree with Atlanta or not.

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            Major league sports have a crop of players to harvest from every year and they still have to deal with poor expansion choices, buying teams back, moving them. MLS has not had to do this in a decade and there is no reason to start. Team stability is as important as financial health because if teams start folding it will be held against the whole even if the league has generally improved.

            As far as growing our own is concerned, that verges on myth. We have HGPs but most wash out.

            Talent dilution matters because there are more and more teams and the playoffs are now down to 50%. There is more risk of long term suckage that will drive off fans from struggling franchises that were popular when successful…..Chivas.

            There are only a handful of teams that are prosperous and many in the red. I think you’re exaggerating health and minimizing the risks. The basic concern is that in exchange for a payment now the league risks a handful of expansion failures in a decade. I don’t think Miami or Atlanta fly and Orlando will depend on keeping the fanbase at a fever pitch.

            • don Lamb says:

              Risks are going to have to be taken if the league is going to get where it wants to go. It is going to have to take on some challenges and overcome those challenges. Going back to the South is one of those things that had to happen at some point. Now is the time. Either it works and pays of BIG TIME, or it is back to the drawing board. Have to take some risks though.

      • JayAre says:

        Thats exactly what I was thinking

    • Silverbacks Til I Die says:

      Silverbacks have been near top of NASL attendance for last few years, and hopefully we stay clear of this impeding MLS trainwreck. If you like real football, come join us real fans – we actually have a team NOW.

      • F.Cosmos says:

        Self-crowned true fans.

      • Cosmosfan says:

        I liked the stadium for the Silverbacks when i was there last fall. I agree you are the real fans, you are the ones supporting pro soccer for years in ATL. These latcher-ons looking to get involved just because MLS is here now..they are the worst. They want you to do all the heavy lifting while they make fun of you doing it..then when the house is built, they move right in as if they lived there the whole time. pathetic really.

        • Iggy Silverback says:

          Thank you sir! Well said!

        • JayAre says:

          No you’re wrong. MLS is the Crème de la crème of soccer in the US NASL is a fun pick up league. People what the best and only the best which the silverbacks aren’t. Silverbacks can’t even take advantage of the sponsors in Atlanta but as bad as people make the Falcons Jr seem they will easily succeed everywhere the Silverbacks failed because they have deep pockets filled with the almighty dollar.

          • Cosmosfan says:

            Maybe you and your ilk should have done something to support soccer in those years and maybe the sponsors would have taken better notice of it. Soccer fans that wont lift a finger unless everything is handed to them on a platter are the problem.

          • Eurosnob says:

            MLS is the Crème de la crème of soccer in the US, but not because they are the best. MLS is a closed single entity system that does not allow promotion/relegation. In the US open Cup, a team of amateurs that Wynalda put together shortly before the competition beat an MLS team. Are you kidding me! They got beat by players that couldn’t get a job in lower divisions. I don’t follow NASL much, but I know that NASL team regularly eliminate MLS teams from the US Open Cup. The top NASL teams are arguably better than some of the bottom dwellers in MLS. But aside from the US Open Cup they have no sporting opportunities to demonstrate it.

    • MLSatlanta says:

      Eric, you and countless others are sadly misinformed on the situation in Atlanta.

      1) The stadium will not be “cavernous” because it is being designed to support a soccer. The ceiling will actually fold down completely cutting off the upper rim from sight and giving the lower dome that holds about 25k people a more intimate feeling as pictured above.

      2) our track record with hockey has absolutely nothing to do with soccer support. It’s a completely different demograph and the same can be said for baseball, even though the Braves attendance meets the league average.

      3) If we can consistently fill our 5.5k person stadium for Silverbacks games and put 70k people in the Dome for a meaningless Mexico friendly then what makes you think we will have a hard time finding support for the team?

      Atlanta is going to be the Seattle of the South and when this comes to fruition there’s gonna be a lot of people out there eating crow.

      • Silverbacks Til I Die says:

        Now that it’s inevitable, congrats to you guys and here’s to a spirited ATL Open Cup rivalry.

        • MLSatlanta says:

          I’m actually a huge Silverbacks fan (already got my tickets for the home opener). I really hope the two teams can coexist successfully. I can see why some diehard Silverbacks fans are anti MLS, but I believe MLS in ATL is going to be a massive success and I can’t wait to be a part of it.

          • Silverbacks Til I Die says:

            I’m not anti-MLS, I’m just sticking with my club. And look forward to a local rivalry to be honest.

            If you want to root for BOTH clubs during our Open Cup derbies, it’s a free country I guess. At least you won’t be disappointed at whoever wins…

      • TomG says:

        I hope you’re right.

      • Drew11 says:

        Seattle of the south? LOL. More like NE Revs of the south. Such a big market and nobody wanted to own an MLS team. Nobody until the NFL guy wanted some revenue for his stadium. Why is that?

        • MLSatlanta says:

          Arthur blank has been trying to get an MLS team since 2008 and before his new stadium was even a thought. He isn’t just an investor, he’s a competitor and he wants to win.

          He’s turned the Falcons into a great franchise and he will not allow his MLS team to become a flop.

          Nice try tho. Try doing some research next time.

        • RK says:

          Because he’s smart?

      • Ted Drews says:

        I’m fine with your first two points but, as to the third, there is absolutely no correlation between attendance to friendlies and attendance to MLS, either casually or as a season ticket holder.

        Every MLS city has the same turn out for these friendlies but bring in only a sad fraction for the MLS games themselves (Seatlle being the exception).

        NYC puts 80k in MetLife Stadium but can hardly get 18k on a consistant basis for RBNY games, even though both stadiums are in the dreded “New Jersey”. A far as the benefit of “intamacy,” perhaps of Red Bull Arena prevents this number from going lower.

        And as far as 5k to 10k representatives of your ethnic communities showing up because it’s th #1 sport in the country from which they came, or the team has a player from that counter: this is pure and utter fiction.

        • MLSatlanta says:

          Trust me, I understand that friendly attendance doesn’t directly translate into MLS attendance, but it would be naive to think those people don’t help represent the interest that ATL has in soccer.

          Are all of those 70k people going to be at every home game? No. But I guarantee that a large chunk of that crowd will be future ATL MLS fans.

  9. Amru says:

    Don’t see much upside to this. Another NFL owner that will make the Falcons his main priority and probably unwilling to spend money on big name players. On top of that they will be playing on a turf field made for football, which is an absolute joke if you ask me. I hope I’m wrong, but this has all the makings of another NE Revolution

    • PSU says:

      The stadium is already 100x better than Gillette is for the Revs. The rest may end up being true, but this is a much better situation. Better location and it looks like it will less cavernous.

  10. Reid says:

    Does anyone that is not located in and around Atlanta think this is a good idea?

    • MLSatlanta says:

      Apparently Don Garber and his research team thinks this is a good idea and they kind of know a thing or two about demographics and successful business models.

      • Drew11 says:

        MLS has been around for nearly two decades and nobody else in the “great” ATL market has wanted in. Garber wants the ATL market and Blank is the only option. So we will get NE Revs under a roof.

        • MLSatlanta says:

          All the haters and the doubters are going to make it that much sweeter when Atlanta exceeds everyone’s expectations. Can’t wait.

          • Silverbacks Til I Die says:

            And I can’t wait til we kick your butt in the Open Cup, lol.

            (You ARE right however, that most people have no idea how much enthusiasm there is for soccer down here.)

      • Reid says:

        Sorry, no one from in and around Atlanta as well as no one with a gigantic monetary stake in this.

        • Ryan says:

          Shouldn’t a gigantic monetary stake in something make a person MORE likely to say “no” to Atlanta expansion if it’s such a bad deal as you claim?

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            On either a cost-benefit or TCOB basis, it might be valuable to him to have soccer even as a money loser if it gets him a nicer football stadium that makes more money. He gets the appearance of being broader minded and he gets the job done.

            But I think the notion of being civic minded and providing sports teams at a loss went out the window right along with making good movies and risking losing money on them through conglomerates. There has to be a financial angle in this era, and it’s not necessarily ATL MLS makes money. It’s probably ATL Falcons – ATL MLS = more $ than before.

            • Ryan says:

              So who exactly loses in that scenario, because you’re saying that MLS is better off, and the ownership group is better off?

              Do you think having an MLS team is going to make Atlanta citizens less happy or something?

              • The Imperative Voice says:

                Due respect that’s a “Revs” scenario where you have a modestly attended team that the owner grudgingly keeps going for a while but probably eventually tries to sell and move out.

                This is not kids recreational soccer, there is no imperative to let everyone in and make a few fans happy. We need the strongest franchises possible from a business and fan standpoint, and I think we are a pawn in this situation.

              • Ryan says:

                The Revs play 30 miles outside of Boston in a stadium with no design elements suited for soccer games.

                The Atlanta team will play in the heart of downtown, at a site easily accessible by public transportation, in a stadium specifically designed to host soccer games in an intimate atmosphere.

                I don’t think the Revs
                comparisons are very fair.

            • 407 says:

              The Atlanta Journal-Constitution article removes all gray areas about this new franchise:

              “…Adding Atlanta, a top-10 TV market, would be another step in the league’s growth and would also help Blank, who needs revenue streams from the new stadium.”

              I hope Mr. Blank is a full-blooded soccer fan, closer to Roth/Allen/Hanauer in Seattle, than the Krafts in Boston. But that second portion from the AJC article (“…help Blank, who needs revenue streams from the new stadium.”) is the smoking gun about this whole scenario.

              I say more power to fans around upper Georgia if they can make this work, but don’t ever pretend any of this is about authentic grown-from-the-roots pent up demand for soccer, let alone dubious large turnouts for occasional international friendlies. Atlanta-MLS will now be the third in a series of new clubs, along with NYC and Miami, done for TV and other money reasons. All three will have been bought and manufactured. It will be good for the game when they all succeed, and I think all three will do fine, but they were all bought, not built. In the case of Atlanta, the MLS franchise apparently will exist to serve the balance sheet needs of the NFL franchise.

      • slowleftarm says:

        Yeah Don Garber has never miscalculated when it came to expansion right? So since Garber said this is a good idea, let’s stop examining it altogether.

        • Foo says:

          The only miscalculation I can think of is Chivas and that was back when Garber had was still relatively new.

    • MSNats says:

      Don’t know if you consider Mississippi as “around Atlanta,” but, with the nearest team to us being FC Dallas, it’ll help to grow general interest in the league as a whole when Atlanta, Orlando, etc arrive. Until now it’s been hard for fans in the southeast to get behind MLS because it’s a league that seems like it’s for the rest of the country. There are A LOT of Atlanta Braves fans in Mississippi and Alabama, and even though they may not make it out to Atlanta for games very often, they follow MLB as a whole and watch games on tv because they feel like Atlanta is “their team.”

  11. John says:

    If a stadium was really serious about having both NFL and MLS would it be possible to have a grass field that moves outside like at University of Phoenix Stadium for the MLS team? The NFL team could have a turf field inside and then MLS wouldn’t have to worry about NFL lines either. However this looks like MLS is just being used to fill a calender so Blank can Justify getting it built.

  12. slowleftarm says:

    Don’t understand this decision. If MLS simply has to expand because it’s so addicted to expansion fees, surely there are better candidates. This is the worst sports city in the country, they didn’t sellout football games until recently and the Braves regularly fail to sell out playoff games. Plus it’s in an MLS 1.0 cavern.

    Orlando City should be the model for future MLS expansion. “Promote” a successful, existing lower division team with a plan for a SSS.

    • Spencer says:

      This decision has nothing to do with expansion fees, its 100% about TV revenue. Think about it. 70 mil divided by 21 teams is a little over 3.1 mil for one year. Even in MLS that is a small number for a team’s overall budget. This is about having a national TV footprint. Even with Florida teams the south was not covered. I think is the biggest gamble MLS has taken since Chivas. I understand the TV situation, but everything else stinks. No local soccer fan base pushing this, no soccer specific stadium, turf, city with a apathetic fan base for all other sports. Yuck.

      • MLSatlanta says:

        Classic misinformed Atlanta hater regurgitating some nonsense on how ATL is a bad sports town.

        • Ian says:

          Uh, so there was a local fanbase pushing this, and there is a soccer-specific stadium, and there will be natural grass? No.

          • IndyElevenFan says:

            +1

          • David J says:

            There is a local fan base pushing it. The Terminus Legion. They are fairly new to the scene, but they can grow as hype is built up around this new team. I’m interested to know how many new members they acquired yesterday. But no we will not have a 100% genuine SSS, but it will be damn close. 20,000 in the GA bowl with top of the line suites and a downtown location. Not too shabby. One thing that makes me cringe is that they will be playing on turf. I HATE turf. I just hope they go with that hybrid playing surface or something of the sort. A lot of technological advancements can occur in 3 years. I imagine Blank isn’t going to skimp out on the details. I have high hopes. Now why can’t all you people be happy for us!?!

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Hawks are near the bottom, Braves and Falcons are mediocre. Silverbacks are not exceptionally well attended.

        • Jeff Carter says:

          I don’t know how you can argue that ATL ISN’T a bad sports town. It’s not a knock, it’s reality.

        • slowleftarm says:

          Not just a bad sports town, the worst one in the country.

      • Drew11 says:

        Not just TV. A lot of large businesses are based in ATL. It’s basically the capitol of the south. MLS will have a lot more sponsorship opportunities with a club in ATL.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        The TV argument is naive in terms of how many SE fans will actually watch. To the extent the aim is to get a deal regardless of whether people can see the games, that seems to be the new MLS drive in cities like C-bus and Houston.

    • Atlanta Native says:

      They didn’t sell out NFL games until Blank bought them. I worked at for HD when we was there – he’ll make this work.

    • Ian says:

      Absolutely agree 100%. This announcement reeks of 1996 amateur hour. Let’s just bring back the countdown clock and shootouts.

      And yes, Garber and the league are absolutely addicted to expansion fees. “League’s not profitable? Hell, that’s not a problem at all! Just invite some new ownership groups in and charge them $100 million! That’ll hold you over another year or two!”

      • BamaMan says:

        I think I’m the target demographic for this. I live in the Deep South. I follow soccer closely and MLS indirectly (mainly follow CCL but I’ll watch the occasional compelling matchup like Seattle-Portland). But I have no interest in this development. None. New England Revolution in the South. Panels come down to cover the upper deck. Whoop-tee-freaking-doo. That’s just a more expensive mechanism for covering the upper decks.

        I’m very worried about what happens when MLS hits 24 teams. The low hanging fruit will be gone. There will be no $100 mil or whatever injections into the league in expansion fees. We’ll see what happens. MLS is still not profitable without expansion fees. Many clubs are still not profitable with expansion fees. The league needs to get back to the smart growth of 4-5 years ago (along with a return to the balanced schedule).

        • Cosmosfan says:

          If you believe MLS isn’t profitable or the owners are not making money of this..i have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

          • Ian says:

            If you have evidence to your claim, please present it. Garber has repeatedly said, on the record, the league is losing money. Some teams are profitable, but on the whole, the league is in the red and always has been.

            • Cosmosfan says:

              LOL. Whatever you do in life please for the love of God don’t be a negotiator. You really believe Garber with a CBA coming up that they are losing money? MLS owners have been making money and increasing their value for years, the MLS teams are pure book losses and accounting tricks.

          • slowleftarm says:

            Go back to Hempstead

        • Brian in Shaghai says:

          Cliff?
          What ever happened to AC Boom Boom.

      • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

        Man, I guess I will just open a biz and charge $100 million to join.
        People will line up, huh ?

        That has to be the stu pid est arguement I have ever heard. The reason they get $100 million and have many more behind them wanting to join IIIIISSSSS ? BECAUSE IT IS WORTH IT.

        It is NOT, MLS stinks AND it worth is $100 million to join….it doesn’t work that way. In fact it works the exact opposite of that way.

        • Cosmosfan says:

          Even more comical are the people claiming MLS owners are losing money, yet falling over themselves to pay these big expansion fees (which really is just the share dilution to be an owner of MLS LLC)…MLS itself isn’t making 100 million, the owners are each collecting 4-6 million each for the price of allowing their shares to be split another way.

          • Dirk McQuigley says:

            If they lose money, it’s on paper. Remember, the tax laws favor franchise owners. They can depreciate the salaries for 7 years. People in Miami recently heard the Marlins claim they were losing millions of dollars until their real books were accidentally e-mailed and revealed a profitable team. So, the difference between a team winning and losing money could simply be an accounting trick.

    • SonicDeathMonkey says:

      You are literally making stuff up. Please stop.

  13. TomG says:

    To me, Minnesota should have been the choice. It’s a much better sports town, has a soccer history, and is much more in the mold of Portland/Seattle. Going all in on these Southern cities that are traditionally poor pro sports towns? I don’t get it at all. Why not try Miami, Orlando and see how it works before diving into atlanta?

    • Drew11 says:

      The Vikings are a bad partner for MLS. Wilf is an absentee NFL owner and apprently a crook. Minnesota will get a team if they get their ownership group settled and a SSS.

    • Ryan says:

      Those great sports fans in Minnesota average 14,668 fans at an NBA game versus Atlanta’s average of 14,385. (MIN +283)

      Those great sports fans in Minnesota averaged 30,588 fans at MLB games last season versus Atlanta’s average of 31,465 (ATL +877)

      Those great sports fans in Minnesota averaged 64,019 fans at NFL games last season versus Atlanta average of 70,224 (ATL +6,205)

      Tell me again, how much better of a sports town is the state of Minnesota?

      • g-dub says:

        Good use of actual information to support your point.

      • Mingjai says:

        It’s a bit misleading to look at NBA attendances without looking at NHL attendance, because the seasons are nearly identical, and in the Twin Cities, they directly compete with the teams having separate venues (Wolves in Minneapolis and Wild in St. Paul) so home games are often played at the same time. Still, the Wild draw over 18,000 per game, but I suppose that’s expected in the State of Hockey, where the University of Minnesota averages 10,000 for their hockey games.

        Of course, you could also look at it in terms of percentage capacity. As a larger market you’d expect Atlanta to have bigger venues, but can they actually fill them?

        NFL
        Atl:98.6
        Minn: 99.8

        MLB
        Atl: 63.3
        Minn: 77.4

        NBA
        Atl: 76.8
        Minn: 75.8

        NHL
        Atl: —
        Minn: 103.0

        • Ryan says:

          Owners don’t get paid by percentage of seats filled, they get paid by butts in seats. Atlanta is better than Minnesota at that.

          And if you want to add in hockey, I’ll add in college football. We can do this for ages.

          • TomG says:

            That’s silly. If your stadium is bigger then your attendance will be inflated. The bottom line is that both NFL franchises sell out. That’s a wash. Atlanta baseball fans are relatively unsupportive considering that their team is competitive every season. That Minnesota fans come out for a team that is often pretty bad is very impressive. Atlanta lost their NHL team because of lack of fan support while Minnesota sells out every night and NBA is also pretty much a wash despite Atlantas franchise being much more competitive every year and Minnesota’s being one of the worst franchises in the league many of the past few seasons.

            • Brad says:

              While there are some valid points on comparing fan support among the other 3 major sports. It’s a bit disingenuous to compare hockey attendance between Minnesota and Atlanta. Minnesota is arguably the unofficial US capital of hockey and Atlanta is Atlanta. It’s like comparing Curling attendance in Canada vs Jamaica.

        • scb says:

          And one could also note that the Twin Cities teams are equal or superior to their Atlanta counterparts in attendance despite being less successful in terms of recent playoff appearances and division titles.

    • CSD says:

      Aren’t there already enough teams in Canada?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      San Antonio, well attended already, SSS already, big city.

      • Kodi says:

        I agree about San Antonio. But why the heck can’t Houston draw better? I attend games regularly. I’m just living here for a few years and want to support my league. I just don’t understand why they don’t draw better attendance numbers. BBVA is gorgeous. During the summer the heat can keep people away but the weather has been great this year so far and still you see so many empty seats. It vexes me. I’m terribly vexed.

        • Billy Ocean says:

          Austin is the largest city in america without a pro franchise, it is continuing to grow at an incredible rate, and has similar social and financial demographics to Seattle and Portland. Austin >>>>>> San Antonio

          • Kodi says:

            I don’t disagree that Austin could potentially be a great city for MLS. Its a shame it would have to be an either/or situation with the two cities.

            • Jesse D says:

              They are about a 1.5 hr drive apart. I don’t think they both can get a franchise at this stage. I’ll give them one the 3 franchises going to the south right now though.

          • chuck says:

            of course not. Even if the people there attend the games ironically.

    • Dirk McQuigley says:

      I seem to remember the Kicks drawing fairly well in the late 70’s, playing at old Metropolitan Stadium. Did they use the baseball configuration or w/ the left field stands moved in like when Team Tarkenton played?

  14. Ian says:

    With all due respect to Atlantans, this sounds like a big step backwards for MLS. I thought the days of MLS-NFL join ventures and turf fields (with the obligatory gridiron lines occasionally present) were over. Evidently not.

    And what about the Silverbacks? I admit I know nothing about them, other than they’ve been a club since 1998, which is longer than a lot of MLS teams. Don’t they deserve to be “promoted”? That’s rhetorical because we all know money talks. This Falcons bid is obviously lucrative. Garber loves him some expansion fees.

    Lame.

    • Joe Dirt says:

      FYI, this has been in the works since 2008. Blank had an expansion bid in to join back then but he withdrew his bid when the economy crashed back then. The Atlanta Business Chronicle has been reporting on Blanks ambitions for MLS since then. Several years back Blank sent a group to visit Seattle and Portland to study their organizations and in Seattle to see how things work between the Seahawks and Sounders at CenturyLink field. From the get go Blank has been modeling things on Seattle in terms of stadium setup and how the teams share the venue and the owner. Blank doesn’t do things half assed he’s more Jerry Jones than Robert Kraft. Having ambitious ownership is the most important part of a club, and as a local I’ll take my chances with a guy like Blank all day.

      • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

        Thats all great. But the key to Seattles success is the fans not the owners. Atlanta doesnt have That type of fan base. Sorry 4k isnt enough

        • 407 says:

          Neither did Seattle when they were still in USL-1 (forerunner to USLPro, etc.), but supposedly they ramped up quite a bit when the club went from Second Division to MLS, to the crowds they’ve been known for these past few seasons. Portland is a second example of a lower division club having significantly larger attendance after the transition from Second Division to MLS.

          If—IF!—this is the pattern that Blank is hoping to follow and build on, then Atlanta-MLS should have a good chance at succeeding, despite several examples of MLS-1.0.

          • RK says:

            Sorry, I live here, love getting a team, but no one is going to get a fan based going like Seattle did. That’s a pipe dream.

        • Joe Dirt says:

          Know your history. Sounders only averaged 3300 a game in the year before entering MLS.

          link to en.wikipedia.org

          Year League Reg. Season Playoffs US Open Cup Avg. Attendance
          1994 APSL 1st Semifinals Did not enter 6,347
          1995 A-League 2nd Champion Semifinals 4,571
          1996 A-League 3rd Champion Quarterfinals 3,750
          1997 USISL A-League 2nd, Pacific Division Finals Did not qualify 2,873
          1998 USISL A-League 2nd, Pacific Conference Semifinals Did not qualify 2,902
          1999 USL A-League 3rd, Pacific Conference Semifinals 3rd Round 2,243
          2000 USL A-League 1st, Pacific Conference Semifinals 2nd Round 2,143
          2001 USL A-League 5th, Western Did not qualify 2nd Round 1,885
          2002 USL A-League 1st, Pacific Conference Semifinals 3rd Round 4,087
          2003 USL A-League 1st, Pacific Conference Finals Quarterfinals 3,357
          2004 USL A-League 4th, Western Final Did not qualify 2,874
          2005 USL First Division 4th Champion 3rd Round 2,885
          2006 USL First Division 7th Did not qualify 3rd Round 3,693
          2007 USL First Division 1st Champion Semifinals 3,396
          2008 USL First Division 5th Quarterfinals Semifinals 3,386

          • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

            Not sure what this list of games is.

            I have a hard time believing 3,300 is the number, as I was there. Some of those game were before playing the NFL CAVERN stadium of course.

            You have to be careful because US Open Cup averages, that seems to be what you are listing, would include games played at fields that high school teams wouldn’t play at ( Interbay )

            I am not sure how many saw Landon forced to come into a game late when the Sounders were taking it to San Jose, but I am guessing 500…most standing.

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            (1) Seattle was well attended in the old NASL, which suggests latent interest supressed by minor league position.
            (2) Face value your argument is to presume upon lightning in a bottle, if we ignore the history. Any team could take off because Seattle did. Risky logic.

  15. CSD says:

    Yes we lost our two hockey teams to other cities but we took a baseball team and a basketball team from other cities, so suck it St Louis and Milwaukee again.

  16. Josh from GA says:

    I’m in Columbus GA (90 miles south of ATL) and I’m excited and a future season ticket holder =)

  17. A.S. says:

    I am looking forward to rooting for the future FC Atlanta United Real Football Club AC Inter FC.

    Or whatever the moronic MLS marketers are going to name it.

    • Silverbacks Til I Die says:

      How about BoughtNotBuilt FC? Or Moneybags United?

    • ThatKidNandez says:

      Atlanta SC or FC fits well, there is a big european/hispanic presence in Atlanta and the FC would fit and cater those specific groups which know it as Football or Futbol.

  18. formerlyanonymous says:

    I know they want to be more in the Southeast, but that’s too much southeast. 1 theoretical internet dollar that at least one of these teams fail within 5 years.

  19. Ga1atic0 says:

    Will they be able to fill enough seats? And will the owner invest heavily or will they end up like the Kraft situation in NE?

  20. Vic says:

    I wish MLS would do something productive with these entrance fees rather than lining up the pockets of team owners. It would be nice to make an endowment like college/universities have and use the interest income to fund better players/higher salaries.

    • Gazza says:

      MLS Owners have been lining their pockets with expansion fees?

      Not sure you have been paying attention to players costs, stadium construction or academy development in the past 10 years Vic.

  21. Joe Dirt says:

    Finally MLS will come to ATL. I will have a MLS team to bleed for that’s not over 500 miles away.

    I’ll still love my Silverbacks, shout out to 309 and 109, and Cosmos fans can eat shit.

    FC ATL till I die.

    Haters can hate- Proverbs 9:8.

  22. Ivan says:

    More artificial turf stadiums in MLS! Exactly what the league needs!

    What a joke of a league, MLS is already a pre-packaged, sterylized mediocre product, just when you think it can’t get any worse…

  23. Cosmosfan says:

    Feel bad for the Silverbacks fans and good fans out there that have actually really been working and fighting to make soccer relevant in Atlanta. What a kick in the face to them by MLS. .

    • Sean says:

      Sorry but an MLS team seems more relevant to me than a 2nd division team. Also, I could be wrong, but I’d say most of the Silverbacks supporters are also the ones clamoring for an MLS team. It makes no sense to not want to see the highest level of competition in your city.

      • Silverbacks Til I Die says:

        You are very wrong. Most Silverbacks supporters are NOT clamoring for MLS. Trust me. A few of you casual fans. That’s it.

        • Silverbacks Til I Die says:

          Oh, and all the people who haven’t bothered to watch the Silverbacks in the first place. So you got a good crowd there. Concgatulations. Just stop downplaying the feelings of ASFC’s hardcore support.

          • Sean says:

            I’m not downplaying anything. Sorry 150 “ultras” or so are gonna get butthurt when a better product comes to town. Are you trying to say groups like Terminus Legion and Atlanta Wants MLS are made up of people who don’t support the Silverbacks or go to games? That’s ridiculous.

            • Silverbacks Til I Die says:

              Where have they been during preseason? Watching MLS on TV.

              Two guys show up for the first preseason game and then none of the others because two people in beige scarves cheering on the red and black looks ridiculous, lol.

              • Sean says:

                I’m not sure what that means but I went to the preseason games against Clemson and South Carolina. At the game against USC the “ultras” proceeded to scream profanities within earshot of little kids and pick a fight with the college kids on the field. I also heard they got kicked out of the UAB game. I really hope that this group of people will decide to not support the MLS team – what a terrible group of people.

              • RK says:

                Preseason minor league soccer? Get a life!

              • Arnie Q says:

                I was there too. The college player shoved a fan who was holding his baby in his arms, because he couldn’t handle a little heckling. (You forgot to mention that part.)

                After this, all the fans did was complain to the ref and security about the player. No one picked any “fights”.

                Enough with the slander and misinformation.

  24. Jay says:

    Lol you guys crack me up. With guys like you American soccer is screwed. What about after thought do you guys not understand. That’s what MLS is a after thought. And you guys are seriously complaining about anyone forking out close to 100 million to join. MLS ain’t the big 4 and is nowhere close. When MLS gets the respect it deserves most of us will be dead or something drastic has to happen. Jesus you guys are such whinners.

    • Cosmosfan says:

      No we are complaining because we want to see soccer grow and succeed the right way. Not simply bought and sold to the highest bidder for non-soccer reasons or with ulterior motives (NYCFC for example). The game suffers here at the grassroots level because MLS investors are completely bypassing organic growth. So MLS decides to help this nega rich guy out and give him an expansion side so he can sell his NFL stadium to the taxpayers, and be a nice hedge and write off for his NFL operations on his personal balance sheet. Awesome. That is what soccer should be here.

      • Jay says:

        It never fails instead of living in the what is you want to live in a fantasy world. So you rather turn down a billionaire owner with a stadium, and in a major market to go where Austin, Charleston lol? See soccer fans have to grow a set and quit trying to create a perfect situation so you will feel wanted. No Atlanta may not accept you but that’s better to try and fail there then to succeed in in some small mid level town. Man up or stop complaining about being a minor sport.

    • Ian says:

      Your grammar and spelling are much funnier, believe me. “Whinner” isn’t a world, but it sounds like winner, so cheers.

  25. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    Revs 2.0. The league deserves better owners. These old NFL guys only want to get an MLS franchise so they can use their stadiums for sporting events more than 8 weeks a year.

    • Sean says:

      Arthur Blank’s track record is not one of half-assing things. I believe he will put the right people in charge of making the team a success. Also – is it not his job to find other uses for his stadium besides the 8 Falcons home games a year? I don’t see how that is a bad thing.

  26. Tim F. says:

    The article says that Atlanta is the 22nd team in MLS. So NYCFC will be the 20th team, Orlando will be the 21st team, Atlanta the 22nd team and Miami the 23rd team in MLS?

    • Fort Lauderdale Strikers says:

      Maybe Atlanta and Miami in the same year? That would be kind of cool to have the first game for both clubs between the clubs.

    • SilverRey says:

      Part of Goldenballs contract stated that he must receive the 23rd team, so Garber was forced to bring in Atlanta to make that happen.

  27. beto says:

    SBI, any truth to the rumor about MLS trying to block the USOC’s CCL spot? Goal.com was listed as the source but i haven’t seen anything yet.

    This would be terrible for US Soccer

    • Ian says:

      Sometimes this league does it’s damnedest to look ridiculous.

    • Eric B says:

      You mean the one that was shown as being false like six months ago? You’ll need to provide a link if there’s a new rumor…

  28. I have posted a blog about this as well, exciting news for us Atlantians (is that the right phrase?)

    Check it out over on TopCornerFootball.wordpress.com

  29. JR says:

    Mistake. Big mistake. Atlanta will suck.

  30. Troy says:

    Orlando is more exciting because of the growth of the team. But you have to start somewhere and deep pockets will always have first dibs.

    The momentum for the league is good and the time to announce these teams is now so that the World Cup gives juice to the expansions. There just aren’t that many “Seattles” and “Portlands” hiding around waiting for their moment. They’ve already been discovered. Now is when the infill cities are launched – Garber and MLS execs are no dummies.

    • Cosmosfan says:

      What makes Orlando more exciting is the same thing that made the former USL/NASL teams that moved up more exciting. They had an existing team that was at the grassroots in the city for years, building good will and history and a dedicated and motivated fan base. The Sounders, Timbers, Whitecaps and Impact all had a good history in their soccer circles in those markets and MLS found owners that wanted to take that set up to MLS. As a result the fans where happy, they got to keep everything they helped build. Has those markets expanded as stand alone franchises and became in competition with the exisiting clusb the expansion would not have been remotely close to the success it was.

      SO here, we have an existing club being thrown under the bus for Mr. Blank who wants his own stand alone franchise. Silverback fans are right to point out this arrangement sucks. I am sure most of them would be happy to see MLS in ATL but not at the expense of their own club. If MLS is going to rely on these lower league teams to build and cultivate these markets for them for expansion then they owe it to them and their fans to do what they can to bring those teams up. IMO

  31. Texian1856 says:

    They will need to schedule as many “friendlies” as possible with SEC teams in order to flll the stadium enough to boost revenues. Atlanta, like most of the southern states is all about college ball.

    • Mikebsiu says:

      Folks we have a winner! You think people will go to watch soccer when their sec or acc team is playing football??

      • Sean says:

        Depends on which people you are talking about. If you do it right and market it to the right people it can work. Sure college football dominates Atlanta but there is also a HUGE Latino population that has very little interest in college football and a lot of interest in soccer.

        • Alamo City Ultra says:

          Those Latinos also don’t care about MLS, just look at Chivas USA. They support Liga MX and most of the time they even support the Mexican National Team.

    • RK says:

      Glad the season starts in the spring; by the fall a young Atlanta team will be 1-24 anyway.

  32. Sean says:

    This is very exciting for a hardcore soccer fan in Atlanta. I wish that the Silverbacks could somehow be involved in this deal. However the Silverbacks aren’t going anywhere. I’d be willing to bet that more money comes from the amateur league fees at Silverbacks park than come from ticket sales for pro games. That won’t stop. For the Atlanta sports haters: look at the Falcons attendance numbers since Blank purchased the team. The Braves numbers are about where they should be considering the size of the city and the fact that this is a city of transplants – many “fans” of different teams at the games. As for the Hawks – consistently terrible ownership. It is an absolute must to involve the Latino community on this thing. If this goes down we will need a DP like Chicharito or a top-flight Mexican player to fill the seats.

    • Iggy Silverback says:

      There’s a dufference between being a hardcore soccer fan and a hardcore fan of a specific club. I won’t just drop them when a shiny new club appears.

      • Iggy Silverback says:

        Difference, I meant. Damn phone keypads…

        • Sean says:

          I go to a lot of Silverbacks games and support them as much as I can. I won’t be dropping them for the new club. I imagine I’ll go to both as I live a couple miles from Silverbacks park. I’m guessing there will be a lot of people supporting both the Silverbacks and the MLS team.

          • Silverbacks Til I Die says:

            Glory hunters still attending ‘Backs games after MLS arrives? I’m sure the club will be happy to take your money, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

            • Sean says:

              Yeah actually you are right. I wish it wasn’t but this is really bad news for the Silverbacks.

              • Silverbacks Til I Die says:

                No, because their aren’t many glory hunters attending Silverbacks games. As mentioned on here before, most of the people who fit the 18-35 MLS demographic are hardcore fans in supporters sections. The rest are families looking for cheap entertainment. Yes a few of you will switch, but most of our fanbase wouldn’t logically be motivated to go to expensive games in the megadome downtown to see a team other than their own.

              • Sean says:

                C’mon man I’ve been there a million times, there are 2 small supporters sections. You are lying to yourself if you think people don’t want to see the top level of competition. I’d be sorry for the Silverbacks if they lost revenue due to an MLS team but that’s business.

              • Silverbacks Til I Die says:

                And I’ve seen the pro ATL MLS social media pages. Aside from the founders who are casual Silverbacks fans, most of those folks are newbies who never had a connection to the team.

              • Silverbacks Til I Die says:

                Just be happy you got your club and stop talking down the Silverbacks. Man, you guys are brutal…

              • Sean says:

                I never “talked down” the Silverbacks, I’m a fan. Sounds like an inferiority complex to me.

              • Silverbacks Til I Die says:

                “Sorry but an MLS team seems more relevant to me than a 2nd division team.”

                “this is really bad news for the Silverbacks”

                Blah blah blah.

              • Sean says:

                I’m not saying anything negative about the organization. Simply that MLS is a bigger league with a lot more money and and an MLS team in Atlanta could spell doom for the smaller team. I don’t like it any more than you but it’s true.

    • Joe Dirt says:

      Here’s what I would like to see happen as a Silverbacks fan and looking forward to our new MLS club.

      Boris and Traffic have done a great job keeping this club going since the hiatus several years ago but this is a chance to make sure the Silverbacks club sticks around forever.

      So here’s the idea. Blank buys a controlling interests in the Silverbacks organization but Boris and others still stay on in smaller percentages. We move the Silverbacks pro team to USL Pro to be affiliate just like LA Galaxy and LA Galaxy II. Silverbacks park and all the rec leagues and fields stay intact to continue to support the local soccer community. The MLS club would have a different name to distinguish the two clubs but both would share coaches, players, and tactics as is the purpose of the USL affiliate program. I would give Eric Wynalda his long overdue shot at managing in MLS and let him oversee the relationship between Silverbacks and local youth teams/ MLS academy and developing our own style of play throughout the Atlanta pyramid.

      I think this would build a strong relationship and create some continuity between the Silverbacks and the MLS club and would allow the Silverbacks to continue to play but with strong ties to an MLS club and with more stable ownership.

      Thoughts please. Particularly from other Silverbacks fans like me would be appreciated.

      • Sean says:

        I think everyone would love that, myself included. However, indications from both Blank and the Silverbacks point to that not being an option.

        • Joe Dirt says:

          I think it makes too much sense not to be something each side considers. The new MLS club needs the grassroots fan base to adopt the new club but that won’t happen if they bully the Silverbacks out of the market. On the other hand the Silverbacks have struggled to stay afloat and a more stable ownership group combined with being a MLS affiliate while playing in USL Pro seems optimal to keeping the club going long term once the MLS club starts playing.

          • Sean says:

            I totally agree that it is mutually beneficial but I’m almost positive both parties have come out and said that they will not work together.

          • Scott says:

            So, in a city as big as Atlanta, they need the 4,000 (mostly casual fans) of a team named after one of their zoo animals, to make it or be relevant? Crazy talk. Been to the games, i think both of their fans are on here pretending that they are relevant. I live 2.5 hours away. The Silverbacks are not worth the drive. Usually catch a game when my kids are playing in Atlanta, so I am already there. Glad to have MLS closer than Columbus, Ohio. I hope that they are better and have a better name than the Silverbacks.

      • MLSatlanta says:

        I think this is brilliant and I’ve actually thought of similar scenarios because I think it would be a shame for the Silverbacks to suffer because of the MLS teams success. The USL pro idea is a great way to affiliate the 2 clubs and allow them to coexist without the MLS team running the Silverbacks into the ground.

        I truly think that would be a best case scrnario for both teams but Unfortunately I think Sean is correct and that this would never happen. The silverbacks ownership would rather go bankrupt before allowing some sort of partnership form.

      • beto says:

        Sounds like a winning plan. Hopefully they follow thru in this direction.

      • Cosmosfan says:

        I cant speak for Silverback fans, but that arrangement to me seems like you want them to be a farm team for the ATL MLS team or their reserve league team. Would Silverback fans really be ok with seeing them go from a professional side in a competitive league to being a glorified reserve team? It may ensure their survival, but at what cost?

        If that is the only way to keep them alive..would Silverback fans rather see that happen or just fold altogether?

  33. Mikebsiu says:

    During college football season attendance will be around 5-10k if they’re lucky.

    • Tallman says:

      I attend Silverbacks games and I’ll support the new MLS team too. I do wish the silverbacks could partner with MLS team, it’s a shame if they get totally stepped on in this deal.

      In the SE, there are many man many fans of college football, there are many fans of college basketball. I’m a fan of neither, I’m a fan of soccer, and I’m not the only one. Georgia has 9 million population, and surrounding states need a team to root for also. We ain’t all SEC football fans…

  34. Soccer Fan says:

    Wow! I am so glad that there are so many experts out there that already know exactly how this is going to play out. You all should really start your own website so you can dish out all of your valuable knowledge. I’m sure that Garber and company have absolutely know idea what they are doing.

    • slowleftarm says:

      So no one should share their opinion on the internet?

    • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

      “What do you think of this development? Think Atlanta will be a big hit as an expansion city? Which city would you like to see join Orlando and Miami in the latest wave of MLS expansion?”

      What exactly were you expecting to find on this comment section?

      Getta Outta Here

    • beto says:

      Two heads are better than one. Especially when many of them are future fans and supporters! MLS and NFL, pretty much all American team owners, are really good at destroying good ideas, blocking out competition and then building support for their one and only (the one that profits them the most) plan — hence all the anxiety among fans. New teams give everyone a chance to air out their ideas and worries; Its a good thing!

    • 407 says:

      First day on the Internet is it?

  35. John L says:

    Still hoping for a team in Detroit some day. Then I can actually got to an MLS game on a regular basis.

    • Iggy Silverback says:

      You have an amazing team in Detroit City FC. Look them up and go catch some games!

  36. Smith says:

    Great! Artifical turf! Soccer in a football stadium! Tarp covering empty seats!

    Someone call Jorge Campos! It’s 1996!

  37. The Resurgence says:

    TOGETHER WE RISE! #ATLANTAHASMLS

  38. marymotherofjesus says:

    I’m guessing it will cater greatly to large Mexican & Nigerian community

  39. Bomb Pop says:

    I just hope we don’t name the team Terminus. Terrible name.

  40. Pito loko tx says:

    Atlanta, OMG……….oh hell no. Get a damn soccer stadium first!!!!!!!!!
    Another seattle, vancouver, NE, unless they get that hybrid grass ;)
    so will it be San Antonio, austin, Detroit, sacramento austin or even cosmos for the last spot and who will rebrand first, crew, ne, or chivas usa

  41. The Resurgence says:

    NO ATLANTA SHOULD NOT BE NAMED TERMINUS.I understand the history behind terminus but not to many people know about the terminus railroad. Cool supporters side name but I don’t see it being the official name for the Team. If that happens Atlanta would be the NYJ of the MLS. I wanna see something aimed towards the Phoenix. Thats keeps the bird theme atlanta has going on, and it actually has a meaning because it symbolizes what the City of Atlanta accomplished following the devastation of the Civil War and it translates into soccer with the collapse of the Chiefs, Apollos, and the Silverbacks.

  42. PaladinPride says:

    I live 150 miles up I-85 in Greenville SC and I will attend at least 5 home games per year even though I will remain a RBNY fan. I’m not sure how many people there are out there like me, but I’ve already talked to many guys around here who are very excited and will attend at least a few games a year.
    Also this will at the very least fill a historical MLS void by putting a team in the South. If the team was able to tap into Southern culture with their branding, uniform or crest then it could start generating some real hype. There are a lot of soccer fans living in the South and this will give them a chance to go to some MLS games. I’m not predicting incredible success or spectacular failure, I’m just glad I’ll have an MLS venue within driving distance.

  43. Pingback: Mainly Loud n Snarky April 7, 2014

  44. Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

    Congrats Atlanta.

    Before the Sounder’s joined MLS, I didn’t even follow MLS. If you choose to follow MLS, it is a great league and you will enjoy it more than you could imagine.

    Don’t worry about the guys poo-hooing the idea. The Sounder’s have the best stadium in MLS…the insecurities of the American soccer fan have been around for the 40 years I have been following, they will not go away just because the Sounders sell out a 67k stadium more than a few times.

    The reality is playing/watching in a very nice stadium is very nice…and even if you draw 5-10k (or less ) like the Sounders used to…you are still in a very nice stadium watching soccer. Just because it was built for soccer AND for a gridiron doesn’t make it bad ( the turf might, but that is another arguement )

    Enjoy, good luck, hope to beat you in the finals like we did in 2007 ( 4-0 if you forgot ).

  45. Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

    With 22 teams don’t they have to move some teams West ?

    Don’t tell me it will be Houston and KC ? Oh my…why would you even play the East schedule at that point.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Houston used to be West, our bitter rivals are still Dallas (West), we’d cope, really with a balanced schedule it’s just a qualifying group, everyone plays the same number of games against the same teams.

  46. NASL to El Paso tx says:

    First of all congrats Atlanta, here in El Paso tx, the real soccer city of texas is dying for a USL pro or NASL team.
    Second of all, please have a nice soccer name and crest, too bad is not a soccer stadium but at least the south is getting a team. ( hopefully sc or nc get MLS one day)
    Third of all, MLS needs MLS2, at that is by 2026 in order to host World Cup 2026.
    Therefore I suggest, MLS stops at 26 or 28 teams, with the west and east conferences, but MLS should be thinking now of MLS2. If NASL doesn’t want to work with MLS, then threaten NASL with MLS2 , given that uslpro is basically MLS3.
    Now, promotion And relegation is a MUST in American soccer in order to become the number one sport in America, over nfl. MLS can not sit around and let NFL, NBA,MLB steal all the soccer ideas and philosophies from soccer and make their empire even bigger.
    As for my promotion and relegation idea for MLS, is simply to not involve MLS1 teams, but reserve 2 spots for the promoted and relegated teams and NO MLS1 TEAMS GET RELEGATED. It’s simple as that

  47. McQ says:

    Ho hum, another second class citizen playing in the shadow of an NFL franchise looking to fill open dates with 12,000+ crowds in half empty stadiums , the last 6 games on gridlines. NE Revs Part II . This prospect is making MLS look less and less interesting by the day. Penny wise, pound foolish.

  48. Ethan Evans says:

    Bring a team (doesn’t matter which division) to Stamford, CT. Put a few local players on there and you’ll get tons of fans at every game.

  49. Mooncusser says:

    At the very least, they’ll be playing on grass.

  50. Rick says:

    Congrats Atlanta! The future of MLS looks bright with improve TV rating and all the expansion going on. I can’t wait to see Miami fund their stadium and take the playing field.

  51. Scott e Dio93 says:

    I only problems with expansion: no major salary cap increase (at least $600k), no increase of DP or DP exemption of salary cap, and the quality of product.

    I personally prefer Atlanta over Miami.

    • Rick says:

      I agree with you on the salary cap increase because that’s the only way the league will attract quality players. Also I know Miami what happened the last time we had a franchise but I believe this time it will be successful.

    • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

      Not me. I prefer Miami.Both are historically mediocore sports towns. But if i had to choose between the two I take miami. simply because miami has more int’l appeal. I Dont think a lot of DPs will be interested in playing in Atl.

  52. gus says:

    Just hope Atlanta dosen’t turn out to be another New England Revolution!

  53. Vic says:

    I read that Silverbacks stadium is expected to increase to 15-20k. Why don’t the owners work together and put an MLS team and improve Silverbacks stadium?

    • Sean says:

      It’s not necessarily that the stadium couldn’t be expanded at Silverbacks park, it’s really a parking issue. As it is now, the park is dropped between a major highway and a residential area. On gamedays the practice/amateur league fields are made parking lots. Imagine how your legs feel after playing a league game on one of those fields. Anyway, the point is that there is really no room for more parking to accomodate “over capacity” at 6000 people much less 10 or 15 or 20000.

      • Vic says:

        Build a parking deck on one of the practice fields and build practice fields someplace else.

    • MLSatlanta says:

      Because silverbacks stadium is in a horrible location.

  54. jb says:

    Dear Mr. Blank,
    Man up and sign Javier Hernandez.
    Regards,
    Bluntman

  55. Dirk McQuigley says:

    Let’s play guess the 24th team. I would think the conversation would be between Minnesota and San Antonio, and to less of an extent Detroit, St. Louis, Charlotte, Austin, and San Diego. There is also the wildcard that is the former Chivas USA.

    • chuck says:

      I think San Antonio is Plan B if Chivas doesn’t find an LA suitor this season. After all they can grant an expansion to LA whenever they find one, not necessarily the former Chivas USA.

      SA already has a SSS only needing to expand, and an established team. Maybe they don’t have the cash, but if no LA partner is found, MLS can give them a discount, just to offload the cost of Chivas USA.

  56. MLSatlanta says:

    Found a good article that might help some of the Atlanta doubters understand why they are wrong about the city. link to m.ajc.com

  57. dan says:

    Atlanta will be a mistake, sharing a stadium with NFL team is a massive mistake.

    Garber got all hard on the south all of a sudden and is going into it too fast, past teams failed for a reason

  58. Stan says:

    NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson on the future of the Silverbacks:

    “I think everyone’s known for some time of [MLS’] intentions in Atlanta. We continue to evaluate what that means. My personal opinion is that Atlanta is a city that would benefit from more than one professional soccer club and may actually raise the awareness and excitement levels throughout the region. I think this could be a good thing for all of us, on and off the field. Having said that, I’m not the owner of the team. [The team’s owners] continue to evaluate their situation. They don’t have to make a decision today; I don’t think [the MLS club] will play before 2017. We do have a long tradition with the Silverbacks and Silverbacks Park … They feel very good about the direction they’re heading.

    At some point [the Silverback’ owners] have to decide whether it matters that there’s another club in the Atlanta area. They’re going to think about what type of effect this may have on their commercial sponsorships, their fan base, and on community and government support.”

    link to indyweek.com