Economic Uncertainty Makes Miami MLS Bid Stronger


We’ve spent alot of time on this site discussing MLS expansion and why Portland and St Louis are more natural fits for MLS (not soccer/football specifically but MLS which is after all an inferior product to European football). However in uncertain economic times where Jeff Cooper’s group isn’t assured of getting a stadium built in St Louis, Portland needs a major overhaul of PGE Park and bids in Vancouver and Atlanta also are probably going to be affected by the financial situation, Miami stands alone as a sure bet to get off the ground.

With a stadium already built and being used at Florida International University in addition to the financial backing of both Barcelona and Marcelo Claure makes Miami a clear leader in the expansion race. I have previously stated my preference for a new Miami team to play at the home of the NASL Fort Lauderdale Strikers or MLS Miami Fusion: Lockhart Stadium. I do believe the FIU location combined with the use of field turf is a significant drawback for the new club.

The core of American Soccer supporting audience in south Florida (note I did not say European/Latin Football supporting audience) is skewed towards the northern part of the metropolitan area: Palm Beach and Broward Counties. Youth Soccer tends to be strongest in Wellington, Boca Raton and Coral Springs rather than in Miami-Dade County. This can be clearly evidenced by the current professionals such as Jozy Altidore, Cory Gibbs, and Tyrone Marshall among others who have played youth soccer in Palm Beach or Broward counties. Miami-Dade County tends to be more supportive of international football than domestic football: that’s why the Miami Torros/Gatos flopped and moved to Fort Lauderdale where they were successful for a number of years. That’s why Miami’s clubs in the old APSL and ASL failed much more quickly than the teams in Fort Lauderdale.

But with Barca Miami having committed to playing in Miami-Dade County, concerns about the bid must be articulated. At the same time, in these economic times no other bid adds up to Miami’s. While other cities will be in my opinion preferable markets for MLS, the league’s race to expand despite the financial crisis probably means Miami should be and very well may be a lock for a new team. Now the challenge will be to make sure the new team is more successful initially than were the Fusion and can somehow pick up where the Fusion left off in its last glorious season in MLS.

This entry was posted in Barca Miami, MLS Expansion, MLS Talk. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

10 Responses to Economic Uncertainty Makes Miami MLS Bid Stronger

  1. Pingback: Economic Uncertainty Makes Miami MLS Bid Stronger | Major League … | kozmom

  2. Maxon says:

    So in other words, Miami is the appropriate choice for shitty times? Great! Times are tough so let's lower our expectations. Florida MLS has failed several times in the past – when the economy was far less dire. It's in no way a better option now!

    Anyway, you're skewing the Portland situation. MLS won't accept Portland if the city council doesn't vote for the bond funding. However this council vote is looking like it will go through and if and when it does, Portland will have no real financial uncertainty – public and private monies will be committed. Enhancements to the existing stadium will be funded. Therefore Portland is not directly influenced by economic times, but by 5 council members who look likely to vote for the project.

  3. David Harris says:

    It does seem like the basics are covered as you describe, but the major factor that I believe is missing is the general lack of interest in professional sports in the Miami market. It doesn't matter which sport you choose to look at, none of the are a major success. The only exception are the Dolphins, but you can even now by a season ticket and for a franchise with that much history attached to it, by comparison to the rest of the teams in the NFL it still isn't a major success.

    MLS needs to go to markets similar to Toronto where the fan base exists to support the team. Without the fan base there is no point to expanding. MLS has had to work so hard to develop its fan bases in so many of the markets that currently have teams, and when you watch so many of the games its a huge drawback to see the mostly empty stadiums. MLS should be focusing on its least successful franchises and trying to either strengthen their market base or in the case of Kansas City, relocating the franchise to a stronger market (St. Louis).

  4. huricano says:

    Its a shame Montreal dropped out of the bidding. Their bid, combined with Portland, were the best bids in the most cohesive markets. Miami is a small market, with many sprawling communities, that don;t have a good sports history. Moreover, many of the latinos in the area are from countries, such as Cuba and Venezuela, which are not soccer countries. It seems like a terrible move to me, but then again, its MLS.

  5. Reality Check says:

    Actually Miami is the largest metro area in either the US or Canada without an MLS team once Philadelphia begins play in 2010. Hurricano, check your facts.

  6. Enrique says:

    Miami has the largest Central and SouthAmerican soccer loving community in the U.S. If there is a good product fans will go. You get Henry, Crespo, Riquelme, Adriano or any other quality player here with a good team, for ex.: Chicago, Miami FCB will be a success. When the Fusion started winning the interest and attendance grew and they were playing in Ft. Lauderdale. For those who argue why give Miami a second chance? Why give MLS a chance when the NASL folded and soccer never materialized in this country?

  7. R. F. says:

    Interesting negative article about Miami which doesn't deal with the facts. A stadium designed and totally rebuilt located in a perfect location for the fans.

    FIU Stadium underwent an expansion beginning in March 2007, and completed in September 2008

    …. the artificial turf field now meets the dimensions prescribed by FIFA for a full soccer field. FIU is teaming up with Miami businessman R. Marcelo Claure and Spanish soccer team FC Barcelona to bring a Major League Soccer franchise back to Miami.

    Additional upgrades will continue to be made as proscribed by MLS.

  8. David Schwalje says:

    Location. Location. Location. Which should be St Louis. Fans in St Louis support teams in good years and bad years.

  9. J B says:

    You clearly have never lived in South Florida. If you had, you would know that the majority of soccer fans live in Miami-Dade county. You ever been to Wellington or Boca Raton? How about Coral Springs? If you had, you would know why it's the wrong market. The entire point of getting an MLS team to South Florida is to make money, hence bring in more fans. The soccer fanbase, let alone one that supports Barca, is in Miami-Dade, not affluent Palm Beach and Northern Broward. Soccer failed in Broward for a reason. Wrong market. Go to Kendall and Little Havana and then go to Wellington, Palm Beach and Coral Springs and you'll see what I mean.

  10. The Gaffer says:

    JB, I have to disagree with you there. I've coached kids soccer in both Boca Raton and Wellington, and I've lived in Coral Springs, and I've seen first-hand the massive number of kids and parents who play the sport on a regular basis. They may not be the fans who watch games on TV week-in, week-out, but there's a huge potential to turn these folks into soccer fans.

    In the days of the Fusion and Strikers, many of the fans who attended the stadium were from Palm Beach County.

    The Gaffer

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