Speaking of soccer, if you’ve gotten used to referring to NYC F.C. as MLS’s 20th team, recalibrate your ordinal numbers: According to ESPN, MLS will shut down Chivas USA after this season for a two-year “hiatus,” then bring it back as a new team, with a new name. In other words, as Deadspin puts it, “MLS is contracting, with plans to expand again with a new, second team in L.A.” It’s just not calling it that, because “contracting” sounds bad, whereas “rebranding” sounds all shiny and 21st century!
And in addition to a new name, the new L.A. team will apparently be seeking a new L.A. stadium so it no longer has to share digs with the L.A. Galaxy:
The club is expected to go dark for a minimum of two years until the new ownership group can plan and build a new stadium for the team. MLS has confirmed the land in Exposition Park where the L.A. Sports Arena sits as a potential site for the new venue.
That minimum could easily end up being extended, then, given that the current arena on the site is owned by the county L.A. Memorial Coliseum Commission, and managed by USC under a long-term lease. Add in that nobody, so far as I can tell, has actually figured out how to pay for building a new stadium, let alone how any payment for the land would work out, and this could be a very long drawn-out process.
It’s even possible, of course, that MLS would just throw the former Chivas franchise back in the expansion hopper, and offer it as another team to one of the eight billion other cities angling to join MLS. It’s not Plan A, obviously — MLS would clearly rather have two teams in L.A. as in New York City, which makes sense given that both are more than twice the size of some of the smaller wannabe MLS markets — but when your sports league has a seller’s market for franchises, having one more to put on the block is never a bad option to have.