ESPN says MLS to shut down Chivas after this year, wait for new L.A. stadium of its very own

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.

7 comments on “ESPN says MLS to shut down Chivas after this year, wait for new L.A. stadium of its very own

  1. Maybe they can move into this mythical NFL stadium they’re allegedly building in downtown LA……

  2. DS’s characterization isn’t entirely accurate. If MLS just folded Chivas, then a ‘new’ team might have to make some sort of territorial rights payment to the Galaxy (as I believe Chivas did when it entered the league). This probably gets them around that. Or if not, Garber could just make one of his ad-hoc autocratic decrees and waive any payment. But there is some reason for it… (they can also keep any records and history in tact this way if they want).

    Also, offering it up as a new expansion franchise in another city (at least the ones vying for them currently) also seems less likely because there is an ownership group taking over Chivas and the hiatus was a condition of the sale. They could theoretically move it, but it’s not like it’s going to suddenly turn into the Atlanta team because MLS isn’t handing it over to Blank (again someone is buying Chivas). Same for Becks in Miami.

    Although if Vegas wants to make its stadium happen, they might want to start quintuple counting rent and flash some of that cash to lure Garber/Chivas/Whoever.

  3. Orlando was previously set to be 21st, because, um, alphabetization? Anyway, that’s how it’s always been referred to. I’m happy to consider them both 19-1/2th now, if you prefer.

  4. “(they can also keep any records and history in tact this way if they want).”

    Given that the Chivas USA as an entity was an unmitigated disaster in every sense, it’s exceedingly difficult to imagine that the new owners would want to honor the past in any way, shape, or form.

  5. The latest from SI: