Skepticism Over Atlanta MLS Franchise Is Justified
In a report by Jonathan Tannewald of Philly.com, it was revealed that Atlanta would be getting the 23rd MLS franchise after NYCFC and Orlando City. Miami is also on the docket as MLS expansion seems to be the hot ticket in the sports world. While some are optimistic about another MLS franchise in the south, there is plenty of skepticism surrounding the potential success of a franchise in the ATL.
That skepticism is justified and will continue for years after the franchise kicks off its first match.
More information is expected to be given at an event on April 16 as Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank welcomes a second tenant into a new stadium. With the MLS team having to play in a stadium that is intended for a football team, it means that levels will have to be tarped off and the field will have to be retrofitted into the space. Not to mention, the playing surface will be the dreaded turf that so many players hate to play on.
Unfortunately, an NFL owner owning an MLS team that is clearly not the No. 1 focus is not working out in the northeast right now. Robert Kraft has become the example of poor management after having a great impact on the league with his initial involvement. Paul Allen has been successful in Seattle, but the dynamics of the area are much different.
Then there is a question of whether an MLS franchise could coexist with the NASL Atlanta Silverbacks. The Silverbacks have built up a great following. There are over 3000 people that have joined an internet movement to bring MLS to Atlanta, and there is a strong supporters group in place called the Terminus Legion. Yet, there could be fans that are too loyal to the NASL team to change allegiances. That remains to be seen.
There is no reason to stereotype this as an analysis of soccer in the south. That is an issue for some, but it is more about a grassroots movement to make this a successful team. Hopefully Blank will put as many resources into the team as are needed to make it successful. For now, however, feel free to be skeptical.