What do you get for the sports team owner who has everything? A soccer team, apparently. MLS has said in plans to expand to 18 franchises in 2011, and all sorts of current sports moguls are talking about getting in on the action:
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk announced last week plans for a $100 million, 30,000-seat soccer stadium near his team’s hockey arena, to host an expansion franchise. Melnyk is already seeking city land to use for his proposed stadium; no word yet on whether he’d demand other subsidies, but given that it’s 1) Canada and 2) soccer, it doesn’t seem likely he’d get a ton.
At the same time, the owners of the New York Mets say they’re interested in getting a soccer franchise as well, though it’s not clear where they’d play. One possibility is a stadium in the Citi Field parking lot (where Shea Stadium is now), but then they’d have to find someplace for Mets fans to park their cars – not to mention a way to pay for building the thing.
Other rumored expansion candidates include Montreal, Vancouver, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Portland, and St. Louis, which could boost MLS’s chances of getting public cash for stadiums, as it’s always better to be a seller in a seller’s market. Which certainly helps explain why MLS is doling out teams in dribs and drabs – it certainly worked the last time around.