In 2013, the MLS announced New York City FC and Orlando City SC as their 20th and 21st teams, respectively. The former ceased to exist up to that point and the ownership also owns Manchester City. On the other hand, Orlando has arguably one of the most passionate fanbases, and their fans drove the success of their expansion bid.
At Thursday’s 2014 MLS SuperDraft, the league’s commissioner, Don Garber, spent time talking about a variety of topics, including expansion. When asked about the state of Miami‘s expansion bid, he said a February announcement should be expected.
Putting aside whether or not Miami can draw the fans in and fill their yet to be built stadium, a question must be ask. Is adding Miami MLS franchise a good thing for the league?
Personally, I think it is. David Beckham is taking his ownership dreams by the horns and not taking no for an answer. In addition, it looks like the ownership team will include high-profile celebrities like Miami Heat‘s Lebron James. High-traffic names like Beckham and James drive ratings from television ratings and viewership. Even if they aren’t big fans of the product, or in this case the team on the field, fans will want to watch based on the famous ownership.
In addition, by having Beckham and James as part of the MLS ownership core, this is good for the league’s pursuit with a new television deal. The current deal with NBC and ESPN is set to expire after the 2014 season. By having not only a famous player, but someone who can bring in top-talent to the league, it will help drive the league’s new television to new heights.
Lastly, by adding Miami to the league, another rivalry game will be formed. Miami and Orlando matches will easily turn into much-watch matches like the Cascadia rivalry matches; rivalry matches are good for both the league and television viewership.
Beckham’s MLS playing days helped the league get to where it is today, and his ownership days should do the same as the MLS enters a new horizon in the new future. Bringing in top-talent will not only help the league, but also bring in fans, while expanding the MLS’ overall fanbase. The only thing unclear at this point is when the team will potentially enter the league, but my guess is on 2016 with NYCFC and Orlando entering in 2015.
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