MLS welcomes Atlanta as newest expansion franchise

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Atlanta Falcons/Atlanta MLS Owner Arthur Blank, and Georgia World Congress Center Executive Director Frank Poe

photo by Perry McIntyre/ISIphotos.com

By CAITLIN MURRAY

It’s official: Atlanta has been awarded an expansion team in Major League Soccer.

Atlanta will begin play in 2017 as the 22nd franchise in MLS, the league announced Wednesday. The team, not yet named, will be owned by Arthur Blank, who also owns the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.

Blank agreed to pay $70 million as an expansion fee, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The payment can be delayed until just prior to their first game, expected to be in March 2017. Blank had first looked at owning an MLS franchise in 2004.

The team’s colors will be red, white and gold in line with the Falcons’ original colors, but a nickname and logo is forthcoming. Fans will be asked to provide suggestions for the name, according to an MLS press release.

“We are very excited to bring a Major League Soccer team to Atlanta,” Blank said Wednesday. “We are going to build a first-class organization on and off the field that will be a source of pride for the entire community, and we believe our downtown stadium will become a destination for soccer fans throughout the Southeast for many years to come.”

The team will play in a new stadium planned for downtown Atlanta that will be the home of both the MLS club and the Falcons. The configurable stadium will feature a retractable roof and a seating capacity of 29,322 for soccer matches. It will reportedly cost around $1.2 billion to build.

“Atlanta is one of the largest and most diverse markets in North America and has a rich tradition in sports and culture,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “And with Arthur Blank joining our ownership group, we are adding one of the most respected owners in professional sports. Arthur is deeply passionate about soccer and our quest to become one of the top professional soccer leagues in the world.”

Atlanta will begin accepting $50 season-ticket deposits for their debut 2017 season immediately.

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What do you think of this news? Is this good for MLS? How do the details regarding the stadium and team identity sound to you? Will you be supporting an Atlanta team in MLS?

Share your thoughts below.

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

191 Responses to MLS welcomes Atlanta as newest expansion franchise

  1. Ian says:

    Not particularly jazzed, but all this expansion means soccer is growing in the US. And no one can be mad about that. Welcome to MLS, Atlanta.

    • Drew11 says:

      Agreed. I wish there was a better option in ATL but this was the best deal MLS was ever going to get in a key market. This is the final piece of the geographic puzzle. MLS will finally have a national footprint in 2017.

    • LeaveAReply says:

      How about the Atlanta Falcao’s?

  2. Jim in Atlanta says:

    Arthur Blank nearly said keep the drums ”turnt up” and I nearly lost my mind lol.

    F.I.L.A

    Haters gone hate.

  3. Alex H says:

    I vote for using the same logo and name as the football team.

    • MLSsnob says:

      Could see that happening, or something close like, the “Atlanta birds” or “Atlanta war birds”. That’ll make it cheap and they won’t have to even change the signage. It’ll also. E just like New England where the colors and name is close enough that they don’t have to change any marketing just insert name here!

    • Hogatroge says:

      Extremely unlikely. Even if Blank proves the best owner in MLS history, he won’t want any confusion with his much more valuable NFL product. Things just don’t work the same way in American sports as they do in Europe where organizations have multiple sports under the same club name (e.g. Barcelona soccer & basketball).

      • Michael Stypulkoski says:

        In what scenario would there be confusion between the Falcons and the MLS team?

        • RK says:

          “Hey, did you see the Falcons this weekend?”

          • Alex H says:

            Maybe but colleges have multiple teams with the same names and I would guess that most people in Atlanta don’t get confused when they hear “Hey did you catch the Yellow Jackets this weekend?”

      • Alex H says:

        I always get a chuckle when I hear the term “The New York Football Giants” even though the baseball team has been gone for 50 years. I don’t think their would be much confusion.

    • Nate Granatir says:

      I was thinking the same thing. Why not? It’ll be easy and will extend their brand.

      • Scott says:

        Extending brands across multiple sports is a great strategy here. Atlanta would do well to connect with the fans that already love the falcons name. Adding a SC behind it and embracing the city’s colors would be wise.

  4. Mitchell Northam says:

    “The team’s colors will be red, white and gold”

    So, Waffle House as the jersey sponsor for ATLiens SC?

    • Jim in Atlanta says:

      Since when is waffle house red? Troll.

    • bryan says:

      they have to find a way to play that song every game. walk out song? the chorus after a goal? i know i’d like to hear “and all the p!mp sh!+” chanted every time someone scores!

  5. Paul says:

    He did say that they would work with the NASL Atlanta Silverbacks. Not sure exactly in what capacity, but it’s a positive sign. Also said that there will be no NFL lines.

  6. FRANK says:

    GERBER SAID ATROTURF

  7. Colt says:

    ill be putting down $50 to reserve season tickets

  8. NASL to El Paso tx says:

    Congrats Atlanta, now you gotta represent and show MLS fans that your city and surrounding burbs are MLS ready.
    As for team colors, no black, no red or blue please :) or white, MLS needs new colors
    As for the name, how about Atlanta Olympic or chiefs or Atlanta republic :) or something with the south

    • DCGooner says:

      Atlanta racists?

      • Shawn says:

        lmaooooo

      • Fat Albert says:

        Haha. I went to Atlanta once and there are a lot of racist there. I feel like they should name the team after the fastest growing demographic in America.

        Atlanta Flamers FC

      • Ted Drews says:

        It’s my understanding that ATL has one of the highest per capita rates of AA/B-owned businesses, and the most vibrant AA/B middle classes in the Country. These facts, combined with a representative population of 54% of the total, and having an elected AA/B Mayor for 32 out of the last 40 years, I am curious DCGooner why you feel “Racists” is an oppropriate name for a team from here, as opposed to anywhere else in the country? If you are relying on history, I ask the same question.

        I would then offer if the stench of racism (current and/or past) warrents “branding” of that name, we should add teams from Japan, China, Korea, Sudan, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, Mexico, Brazil…well…just about everywhere in the Globe.

    • MLSsnob says:

      We’ll you got two of the three, red and black. Did you really expect it to be different than the falcons colors?

  9. Chris says:

    Bring back the Atlanta chiefs!

  10. rob says:

    Buying season tickets!

    Names:
    1. Atlanta Legion

    2. Atlanta Locomotive

    3. Atlanta Phoenix

    • Ian says:

      I kind of dig Atlanta Phoenix as it references a bird, but it’s a completely different context than falcons or hawks.

      • Bob Dobalina says:

        Atlanta Firebirds would work.

        • John F says:

          Dang. I was thinking Phoenix would be a great name too. Combines ancient mythology with Atlanta history and has a vague connection to the Falcons. Firebirds kinda works as well. And both could use the Firebird suite for walkouts. Just like Yes used to use for the intro to their concerts. But that would really date me. And I’ll drop a $50 deposit. I’m in Birmingham, just a short hike away

      • g-dub says:

        The City’s flag with the Phoenix is cool, but 3 teams with birds might be too many.

        - Locomotive. Good one. References City’ history as rail line terminus. Cool logo potential.

        - What about a civil rights reference, being home to MLK and civil rights museums. Ie ‘Resistance’ or ‘Movement’

        - A peach reference could be cool. You could just go with an FC Atlanta, and include a peach accent color in the crest (I know they already decided colors)

        - Olympic Atlanta FC or Atlanta Olympics is also good. It’s a big point of pride to host a summer Olympics and the stadium is right by Olympic park. Logo would be a challenge with the IOC’s branding police. But having gold in the color scheme could help.

        - something embracing the idea of the metro capital of the south would be cool but I don’t know what that would be

      • Fair Observer says:

        falcons and hawks are birds that are prominent here in GA, the Phoenix is the official state symbol, referencing the civil war when general sherman burned down the city, planted kudzu so nothing could ever grow here and yet somehow ATL still rose (“out of the ashes…..”) like a phoenix and now is a major city. That’s the logic behind the relationship to the phoenix.

        as a native atlantan, i think it makes the most sense if a mascot name is chosen rather than the traditional Atlanta FC type name. most “soccer” clubs dont use mascots in their name, that is an american sport thing.

        • Ian says:

          Thanks for the insight. As a Californian, I had no idea the Atlanta flag features a phoenix. I googled it. Very cool.

        • Mason says:

          Kudzu didn’t come to the US until 1876. Stop blaming Sherman for everything.

    • McCallumKnights says:

      Flyers

    • Cosmosfan says:

      Tecumseh FC

  11. NASL to El Paso tx says:

    I forgot to mention, MLS should start an MLS 2 and have a simple promotion and relegation :)
    I have explained my idea briefly here and people over react and think so negative when I mention no MLS 1 teams would go Down, due to respect of starting MLS 1.
    I’m telling you garber, start an MLS 2 with 15 to 18 teams with the west and east conferences and make uslpro MLS 3 and MLS 4 a under 21 league.
    If NASL wants to compete, then shut them down with MLS 2.
    If Miami gets 23 spot and Minneapolis 24 spot, then MLS 2 can begin a division 2, with San Diego, San Antonio, San Francisco, Austin, El Paso, Albuquerque, Nashville, Birmingham, Detroit, cosmos, Tampa bay, okc, Milwaukee, there is tons of markets but if NASL wanna play tough, then start mls2 by recruiting from NASL and making new markets.

    • Tyler says:

      I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    • John Cocktosen says:

      If pro/rel ever happens. This is how it would work.

      It would just be Pro/Rel between MLS1 and MLS2, after you paid your franchise fee.
      No NASL, No USL pro.

      All MLS1 and MLS2 teams would belong to the same league. Same draft. Same website. Same board of directors. Only difference is when you go to the standings page, instead of East and West, it would show MLS1 and MLS2.

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        What’s the advantage of pro/rel from an owner’s point of view? Or, more specifically, what is the advantage of being relegated? Until there is a good answer, I don’t see any MLS owners supporting it.

        (Maybe: if your team stinks, move to a lower competition where you won’t be embarrassed every week…and somehow that preserves enough fan loyalty to offset the loss of ad revenue?)

        • sony says:

          Are you Robet Kraft?

        • Relegate this says:

          How about just promotion? Save two spots for MLS-2 teams in MLS-1; at the end of the season lowest MLS-2 team is replaced by MLS-2 winner….maybe give MLS-2 teams a spot in the playoffs as well. We still preserve the MLS-1 investments while giving the lower teams a chance to play with the big boys.

          • McCallumKnights says:

            This is the first relegation comment I’ve ever read that was worth reading

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            Maybe I don’t understand your proposal. Two MLS2 teams join MLS1 for a season, but what happens when both of those teams do fairly well—say, ending up about mid table? How do you justify dropping one of them for the next season’s MLS2 leader? Wouldn’t that seem kinda sour to drop them (instead of the MLS1 teams they bettered) just because they “weren’t born into noble lineage?”

            • McCallumKnights says:

              I think he means it would be a good way to have promotion and relegation with “minor league” teams without the owners who built the league risking their investment. As an example, lets say last year’s winners of the NASL and USL PRO moved up to MLS each year. This season Orlando and the Cosmos would be in MLS. They have an opportunity to build their fanbase and at the end of the year the team with the worst record of the two gets replaced by the winner of a two leg tie between this year’s NASL/USL Pro champs (TBD, but let’s say OKC vs. Indy). If a team is consistently being promoted and selling out games then MLS will have better information to use when picking expansion markets.

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                Right, but consider the possibility: Scrappy little MLS2 teams claw their way up to the big leagues, play against the big boys, and make it mid table—some even make it a few rounds into the playoffs. Meanwhile, teams like Chivas are consistently horrible. But at the end of the season, 1-2 of those plucky underdogs, despite its strong performance, gets relegated.

                MLS2 fans would feel cheated and belittled, not happy just to have lived the dream…if only for one season. MLS1 fans would rightfully feel ashamed.

              • Relegate this says:

                It’s not absolutely perfect ala the European model, but I really don’t think relegation in this country is as viable as it probably is overseas. I think alot of that has to do with the overall mindset we have here in regards to minor league systems (like baseball, and look how even basketball is struggling to get their second tier league to be successful), and partly because of the financial backing that owners have put into the league.

                Still, there are easy ways to overcome two successful MLS-2 teams here–creating a playoff between the team that would be dropped and the winner of MLS-2 would be the easiest solution, maybe tinkering with the MLS playoffs would be another. This is really about finding a better answer than the incessant pro/rel arguments here that lets face it, is likely never going to happen.

        • Mueller says:

          If you keep single entity or the like you can use revenue sharing to offset losses of going down and you add excitement to more games and hopefully boost ratings.

        • Brett says:

          Revenue sharing can solve that problem. The key is to develop a structure to support more teams in more cities. One league can’t contain 40+ teams, which is what this country deserves. Being in the 2nd tier doesn’t have to be regarded as a huge step down, but a way to elevate the game to a wider audience, inspire more passion, and attract and discover more talented players.

          • Ian says:

            Try to convince Phil Anschutz or Joe Roth, for example. Imagine some of the biggest-name clubs having bad seasons and then taking the drop. To you and me, that’s normal – assuming you follow the game outside the US – but to an American franchise owner, that’s unfathomable.

            • RAMONE says:

              +1.

              On the just completed NBA Season, congratulations to Ft. Wayne, Iowa, Sioux City and the Los Angeles D-FENDERS on your promotion to the NBA. We hope you can win 10 games total next year.

              To Millwaukee, Philadelphia, Orlando and Boston Celtics (Jazz barely escape relegation based on head to head 1-1 but Jazz outscored Boston in cumulative head to head points), best of luck in the 2015 D-League …. (we are sure your fans are excited about the opportunity to fight your way back to the NBA in 2016 and will pack the house).

              I suspect those D-league teams wouldn’t have the budgets to compete and would be right back to relegation. Millwaukee, Orlando and Philly would probably dump salaries/players like no tomorrow to try to stay afloat with 2-3k showing up at their D-league games. Boston fans would be pi__ed off and refuse to go but they’d keep enough players to make it back out the next year … but could they stay up.

              Pro-rel is only interesting in leagues where 90% have no realistic shot at the title even before the season starts and those teams that really have zero shot and are destined to be bottom feeders might catch a little luck and stay up … then again, they are historically totally uncompetitive at the top level that they really belong in a D2 anyway.

              MLS, as currently structured with salary caps has much more parity. A team can win the SS one year and the next be a bottom dweller with essentially the same lineup … does it make any sense to relegate a team who would have a decent shot at being reasonably good in your league the following season? I think not.

    • Bobb says:

      I like how you just casually slip your tiny town of El Paso in there with legitimate large and desirable markets like San Diego, San Antonio, San Francisco, Detroit, Tampa, and Austin.

      Check out the population data. You are never getting a first division team. Give it up.

    • Chris says:

      You can post your fantasy on here all you want, its still never happening. We have teams in “MLS 1″ that struggle for support as it is…you really want to see what will happen when the Revolution get relegated to “MLS 2″ ?

      Might as well just call it a promotion/fold your team system.

    • Ian says:

      El Paso, I usually think you’re full of hot air, but I share your futile sense of hope about pro/rel. I know it’ll probably never happen, but we can dream.

  12. 12L says:

    Atlanta is now 22

    so that means Miami is 23rd. what will be the 24th team? Minneapolis or San Antonio or St. Louis

    I don’t wanna see MLS being overflooded beyond 28 teams. Honestly I think 25/26 is Great Enough. Soccer isn’t going away. We don’t need a MLS team in Vermont or Oklahoma, though maybe a 2nd division team. We need more youth enrollment in soccer. Show the kids that a career is possible and not just “for fun”.

    Maybe get some Dutch or Portuguese coaches. Those are the best. They get talented players despite not so much cash or population.

    • bb says:

      I’d love to see a team in St Louis, giving the middle of the country a stronger soccer presence, but I just don’t think there is an ownership group interested, otherwise there’d probably be a team there by now.

    • Analyst/Therapist says:

      If we aren’t going to do pro/rel (we aren’t any time soon), it might make sense to split into East/West, playing out of conference either never or sparingly. That might make the exotic matchups of the US Open Cup more exciting. It also allows you to focus on regional rivalries without making the season unncessarily long.

    • Eric says:

      We couldn’t say in the ad, “No Portuguese,” but…no Portuguese.

  13. Reid says:

    My big question is, will the taps be flowing with Sweetwater in said stadium?

  14. 12L says:

    Honestly once we have 24-26 teams we should focus on making a proper 2nd and 3rd division.

    Make sure those are professional, even if semi-pro. Maybe colleges can lend their players off season to 3rd division squads. I believe with multiple proper and legitimate leagues we can pretty much gobble up all of the less than world class players in this hemisphere. Hundreds, thousands of Latin americans would play in the USA even if given say 15-50,000 a year in say the 2nd division.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      I only know of one college that currently plays in a semi-pro league: BYU plays in the PDL.

    • Drew11 says:

      MLS has already started pouring cash into the lower divisions. For example they are paying Mike Fucito 50k to play a season of 3rd division ball. Not a big deal on a world soccer scale but unprecedented in US Soccer history.

  15. KingGoogleyEye says:

    Congrats Atlanta!

    As for names: already have Falcons and Hawks, so…Eagles? Owls? Vultures?

    I’m ignoring the Silverbacks because I can’t see how it’s associated with Atlanta at all, and ignoring the Dream because, well, who names a sports team “Dream”?! (Yes, I know the relevance of “dream,” but it’s still an odd mascot.)

    • Vasco says:

      Silverbacks are Gorillas, and they happen to be the star attraction at the Atlanta zoo.

      That is where the Silverback name comes from.

      • Fair Observer says:

        Google: Willie B……

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          So I of course already knew what silverbacks are, which is why I did not associate them with Atlanta. I find the zoo connection a bit odd—I mean, there are gorillas in lots of zoos—but I’m not going to tell Atlantans what they should or should not form strong emotional bonds with. Silverbacks it is!

      • Kodi says:

        Soooooo….. San Diego Pandas? I dig it..

  16. Nordy says:

    Turf. In Atlanta. Did anyone watch the Master’s last weekend? You can grow grass in Atlanta!

  17. Andrew says:

    Where does the $70 million transfer fee go?

  18. beto says:

    With out a name, badge, players, coaches, stadium or really anything

    ‘Atlanta will begin accepting (your money)…immediately.’

    Lol

    Remember back when expansion teams had; SSS, names, fans, players, etc?!? Ya back when expansion worked? MLS is getting sloppy. Hopefully they pull the Silverbacks in a do this the right way.

  19. McAllen says:

    Congrats to Atlanta , but nobody ever mentions why nobody watches MLS on TV!
    Expansion is good , but watching MLS games on TV is not fun! And it’s supposed to be fun to watch! Can’t do it though when you barely see a team capable of completing two passes with no interception!
    Manchester City players average 8 million dollars a year in salaries .
    Imagine if that was the salary cap in MLS!
    Cruz Azul and Santos Laguna wouldn’t have a chance in hell!!!…

  20. EspinDOHla says:

    Ahhh yeah!!! Finally!!!! MLS in the South!!!

  21. Futbol_Head says:

    Has to be the Atlanta Thrashers…Georgia state bird, no?

  22. j4ton says:

    Maybe I was naive but the flyer posted on mls site said to come to downtown for the mls expansion announcement. What was hilarious was that it was just some viewing party held in a gravel parking lot with random giveaways and a screen that gave a live feed ( which did not function for the first 10 minutes of the announcement). The actual announcement was held on the top floor of the Hilton Hotel next door, where Blank and/or Garber flew in via helicopter (apparently the Hilton has a helipad). I wish this had been more clear in the flyer, that we would not actually be part of the announcement, but rather spectators watching it via a live feed from a gravel parking next door.

    • Lamar says:

      Right there with you on this comment. I too went to the “announcement” and it was more like a cheap party held in dirt. Then the feed didnt work and we were left just standing therewhile special people got to be in the room at the hotel. They should have gone to the people and made us feel more a part of it.

      The chants from the lame dj of “atlanta soccer” were also busch league. I want this to work but this was a poor start. Arthur blank is a great business man and team owner so i have faith.

      • RK says:

        I was angry that they ran out of scarves by 4 — I couldn’t get there until 6, and everything was being packed up. I just ordered one online, though.

  23. Colt says:

    Team Names:
    Olympic 96
    Atlanta United
    ATL FC or FC ATL
    Locomotive Atlanta
    Legion FC or Legion ATL or Atlanta Legion
    Terminus FC
    Atletico Atlanta or AC Atlanta
    Gate City FC
    Peachtree United or Peachtree FC
    Forest City FC
    Perimeter FC
    AFC Legion
    AFC Terminus

  24. jspech says:

    MSL =Major Socialist League.

    Hopeful the ATL Silverbacks sty strong. Waiting to see if any SG defect.

    • Dimidri says:

      Right, because there’s nothing more socialist than a group of wealthy business owners collectively agreeing to a profit-maximizing decision.

      But Real Madrid and Barcelona getting Spanish state aid to stay afloat? Capitalism in its purest form.

      Right…..

      • Analyst/Therapist says:

        Profit sharing is pretty socialist. Perhaps if you are defining the busienss in question as the MLS as a whole competing vs clubs around the world, then its not profit sharing, but rather profit disbursement within their own organization. But there are indiviudal owners for each franchise, so I think that a franchise sports model is pure socialism. It’s not necesarily a bad thing, especially as the league develops.

  25. nickp91 says:

    Atlanta already has a soccer team They’re called Atlanta Silverbacks

      • Supa says:

        And that’s the point. The fans that supported soccer in Atl when MLS was “who” (and still is in some quarters) now get forgotten by these Jonny-come-lately Atlanta FC United SC fans. Those true supporters will show where the support really is and always will be! Go Silverbacks!! (But not against the Cosmos)

  26. Roman Lewandowski says:

    People in the Charlotte area will not support an Atlanta soccer team. This will only be the team for parts of the Southeast — but it is a step.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      I think this team will become the South’s team like the Braves. I can’t speak for North Carolina but, in Bama where I’m from, everyone is a Braves fan (different with football because of the Saints). All my relatives in South Carolina are huge Braves fans as well (but they’re Panthers fans). So, maybe ATL MLS can capture those markets. Who knows? I’m pumped that I finally have a team to follow in MLS.

      However, I do think that the last spot should go to somewhere in North Carolina. I think a combo MLS/WPS would work well there. It would be a great rivalry with ATL.

      • wandmdave says:

        Being in Winston-Salem I’m just as close to DC as I am to Atlanta. I see no reason to switch allegiance until I can realistically drive to a game regularly.

        Don’t get me wrong though, excited to see expansion in the heart of the southeast and hope it does well. Hopefully Atlanta will help pave the way for a Charlotte or Raleigh MLS team in the future.

      • MSNats says:

        I live in Jackson, MS and pretty much everyone I know who cares anything about baseball supports the Braves too (This was the case long before we got Atlanta’s AA franchise). Atlanta has a far reach in the South. They haven’t even started yet but I already feel more of a connection to this team than I do with FC Dallas, the next closest team.

        • BK says:

          How would you non-Georgian Southerners feel about a team name such as

          InterSouth Atlanta

          or something that was a bit more appealing to people outside our immediate area?

      • RAMONE says:

        WPS. Are you suggesting they bring back a defunct league just for North Carolina?

    • RK says:

      Who in Atlanta cares about Charlotte?

  27. Andrew says:

    I think expanding past 20 is a big mistake. Overexpansion has hurt the NHL and NBA too. Should have stopped with NYCFC and Orlando City and tossed out Chivas.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      and ignore a 1/4 of the country…

      Ok…

    • Analyst/Therapist says:

      I agree with your sentiment, but devil’s advocate: the talent pool for soccer dwarfs the aforementioned sports. you can put together competitive teams pretty quickly in MLS if you invest a bit and draft well. Not the case in the NBA, in which teams are successful when they have one (or three) out of the handful of stars.

      • RAMONE says:

        NBA overexpansion hurt the talent pool which then hurt the gate / TV numbers because nobody wanted to bother watching, much less paying for less talented players than a year ago. The NBA has also historically relied way too heavily on individual players/personalities to carry the game. Casual fans tuned in to watch Jordan, Bird, Magic, Shaq … but could have cared less about the Bulls, Celtics, Lakers (or whichever team Shaq was on at the time). This hurt them when they had a significant vacuum in individual story lines after Jordan retired. They now have a few again (LB James, Kobe, Howard, etc.), but one of those is in the twilight of his career. I am not a casual NBA fan, I am a fan of my local team (Blazers), but it hurts the NBA a lot that their marketing plan is to try to get Blazer fans to tune in and watch the Heat / Lakers game “Because LeBron James! Kobe! National TV” (hype, hype, hype machine) – which my interest in is exactly zero.

        The NHL overexpaned a fairly regional sport into regions that don’t grow up playing it … heck to regions which don’t have much winter (Atlanta simultaneously abandons all their cars in a 1/2″ of snow). The popularity of the NHL grew leaps and bounds in the early 90s and they went crazy with expansion (to 30!! when there are realistically 24-25 good hockey markets and some others which are not even represented in the NHL such as Portland and Seattle which would be better than some they have). Ultimately it was a fad in some places that are not really hockey towns. Labor strife also killed their momentum very quickly.

  28. Andrew says:

    Atlanta Sherman’s March

  29. blokhin says:

    Atlanta Burns

  30. Bobert says:

    the franchise system will never work with soccer. But just keep tryin’ MLS.

  31. NASL to El Paso tx says:

    Like I said before, if MLS has promotion and relegation, then MLS has to start its own MLS 2, because obviously NASL isn’t going to play division 2.
    MLS needs to start a division 2 with different requirements, a cheaper entree fee and not so fancy stadium soccer stadium but expandable.
    So I repeat my idea, no MLS 1 teams would go down due to MLS history and owner respect, BUT MLS1 would reserve two spots or one spot in EACH CONFERENCE, AS IN 2 THE WEST AND EAST OR JUST ONE SPOT.
    So I suggest MLS 1 getting 28 teams, then RESERVE 4 spots for MLS2, 2 in each conference. Making the total of 32 teams, then the team with less points at the end of the season in their conference from MLS2 in MLS1 would go down . Simple as that, so if you earn enough points in your conference then you stay, but if not, you loose your reserve spot.
    Another thing, if MLS makes MLS 2, then we as MLS fans deserve and MLS network, where we could see MLS 1 and MLS 2 games, that would be awesome and even include uslpro games.
    It’s that simple MLS fans, but garber needs to think MLS 2 ASAP.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      It’s really not that simple though:

      “no MLS 1 teams would go down due to MLS history and owner respect”

      In other words: favoritism, not merit.

      “MLS1 would reserve two spots”

      Two spots…for underdog teams to be put on display for a season, then sent back to the little kids’ playground even if they performed better than some MLS1 teams.

      “the team with less points at the end of the season in their conference from MLS2 in MLS1 would go down”

      So the relegated team is not necessarily the team with the least points. It’s only the MLS2 team with the least points. That isn’t a system of promotion/relegation, that’s cronyism.

      • Analyst/Therapist says:

        I’m not a fan of the MLS1 MLS2 idea being given here, but a playoff between MLS2 top tier incumbants and second tier winners would be enough to eliminate the issue with a mid table minnow going down despite their success. Not much reason to complain if you can’t beat a lower division team over 2 or 3 legs.

        • Annelid Gustator says:

          Agree

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          You wouldn’t complain if over the course of an entire season and even the playoffs, your team outperformed a dozen or more MLS1 teams, then got relegated anyway due to a poor result in a 2-leg tie? Your team’s entire season could come down to one unlucky away goal.

          (And remember, your team wouldn’t be trying to beat “a lower division team.” It would be playing against a fellow MLS2 side.)

          • Annelid Gustator says:

            “Your team’s entire season could come down to one unlucky away goal. ”

            So have the tiebreaker go to the team already up. Again, are you still going to complain if your team can’t beat the lower division challenger?

            • KingGoogleyEye says:

              I think you’re focusing too much on the competition between MLS2 sides and missing the injustice of favoring lower ranked MLS1 sides.

              To make this more clear, just imagine if the 2013 season had ended like this:

              1st NYRB
              2nd Sporting KC

              12th NY Cosmos
              13th Chicago

              16th Carolina RailHawks
              17th FC Dallas
              18th Columbus
              19th Toronto FC
              20th Chivas
              21st D.C. United

              Under this “MLS2 Playoff” pro/rel, you’re looking at relegating a team (in this example, Carolina) that outperformed five other teams. Why are those five under-performers safe? Answer: because they “have history” (which, in the case of a couple of those, is merely a history of being terrible).

              It’s not about who can win a tie with the top MLS2 side. It’s about who should have to play out that tie in the first place.

              To put it just one more way: you wrote, “Again, are you still going to complain if your team can’t beat the lower division challenger?” In the scenario I proposed, DCU, TFC, Chivas, et al did not beat the lower division challengers during the season. Why would you spare them?

    • Chris says:

      You can post your terrible ideas just once in each comment section, please.

  32. Joamiq says:

    I hope Blank really commits to this and it isn’t just an extra revenue source for his stadium. I’m really not jazzed about another turf field in MLS.

    • MLSatlanta says:

      If you watch the press conference I think you will see that Blank is the real deal. He doesn’t half ass anything. He wants to win and he wants to be proud of the product he puts on the field.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Of course this is an extra revenue source. And that’s the only reason he’s interested.

  33. FRANK says:

    ATLANTA DIXIE CHICKENS SC

  34. BrianK says:

    They should call the team the Atlanta Scarlet O’Haras and the new stadium “Tara.”

  35. AP says:

    This is wrong.
    MLS is retarding it’s development with the links to NFL.
    They will always be 2nd fiddle to “The NFL” with these moves
    Imagine … plastic pitches w/NFL lines.
    Now Minneapolis is linked with a potential move for an MLS franchise…
    again potential plastic pitch with those ever present in your face lines.

    • Cosmosfan says:

      Ever since May of last year when they sold out to take Man City’s money MLS has been in a desperate expansion act to get into a better TV footprint. They are staking so much on this TV deal, too much if you ask me. I think it is a sign that these deals are not going as well as they hoped and this latest round of foolish expansion (outside Orlando) is simply a reaction move by MLS.

      In the past week MLS has announced that they will have their new expansion teams playing in a MLB stadium, a NFL stadium and no stadium at all. Bravo.

      • Chris says:

        Odd that a Cosmos fan is so bitter about the future expansion.

        Also Beckham gets nothing without a stadium…that was never really an “expansion” announcement.

      • Annelid Gustator says:

        You want MLS to get to the next level? That will never happen without TV money.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      Soccer and NFL teams can share a stadium without sharing a field: link to matrix-turf.com

  36. HerthaBerwyn says:

    They should absolutely name the team ‘The Georgia Howl’

  37. Brett says:

    AC Atlanta. Straight badge design, silver and black core colors with crimson accents. Keep the silverback gorilla as the mascot.

    Atlanta is a great city as long as you stay away from the poor areas. Tons of great microbreweries, all kinds of ethnic and fusion cuisine, draws the biggest musical acts… The problem with sports in Atlanta has always been the fact that most of the people who work there are from other places. There’s very little geographic loyalty.

    If they work the youth ranks correctly, they could do well. The game is pretty big down here (relatively speaking– football and baseball are tops, but soccer isn’t far behind basketball and is definitely more popular than hockey).

  38. slowleftarm says:

    Straight back to MLS 1.0 as the league expands to the worst sports city in America. According to some, you have to be in certain markets just because they’re big, even if they have no affinity for soccer, or sports in general. Not sure that makes any sense.

    The model the league used for the PNW teams and Orlando is they way to expand. The Atl/NYC/Miami way is not the way to go but expansion fees are tough to turn down. According to the RSL GM, MLS should have 32 teams because the NFL does.

    • Eric says:

      I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt because it’s their money.

    • Brain Guy says:

      I think we have agreed about this before, slow. Recent expansion decisions clearly emphasize population and ownership bucks — and stadium-readiness and real turf be damned.

    • Mason says:

      I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I’ve seen the title “Worst sports city in america” assigned to Miami, Orlando, Atlanta and Minnpls. in the last few days.

  39. RK says:

    One scarf and one Founding Member, purchased, on mlsatlanta2017.com.

  40. Brain Guy says:

    Yay! More plastic turf!

    Oy.

  41. White Kix says:

    Atlanta Walkers

  42. Rachel in Atlanta says:

    I have lived in Atlanta for ages and have been eagerly awaiting the day the MLS would arrive. I have at least 6 people in my Immediate family that will be buying season tickets. Let get it on!

  43. Dainja says:

    So proud! I was an ATLien for 12 years, and I hate that MLS soccer came to the city after I left, but I’m confident it will work. Blank don’t play! Here’s one suggestion for a name that hit me last night that is just crazy enough to maaaaybe work:

    Atlanta Outkast FC

    Get Big Boi and 3000 involved, play their music at games (everyone in the city loves them), use their songs as chants, etc. You could even use the cover of ATLiens as the logo.

  44. Scott e Dio93 says:

    How much increase in salary cap? at least 700k? extra DP? or increase maxium to 700k?

    I got no problem increase teams, but I also want increase in quality or increase International trophies, and depleting quality talent without increase salaries won’t make MLS into major power TV force ratings.

  45. NUGUET says:

    158 BD DIDEROT
    3 ETAGE AND NEW-YORK COSMOS !!!!!!!!

  46. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    Name them Southern FC

  47. Rufus McGhil says:

    Bird Related names: (all birds found in Georgia)
    Red Hawks (simple)
    Cooper Hawks – (Cooper’s Hawk is a type of hawk, it’s different)
    Peregrines – (as in Peregrine Falcons, it’s different)

    Other names & fun/unusual options:
    Chattahoochees (from the river)
    Southern Locomotive
    Fightin’ Vidalia Sweet Onions
    True Grits