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Atlanta Officially joins MLS!

(start video at 9:50 mark)

It’s official! MLS is coming to Atlanta. It’s been a long and, at times, rocky road. It was just a few years ago that it seemed like everything was coming together just to see talks cool off and Mr. Blank step away from the table. Now five years later, and probably $30 million more expensive, Major League Soccer is on it’s way to Atlanta.

For so long MLS seemed like the goal, the destination. It’s finally starting to settle in that this journey hasn’t come to the end of the line, or should we say Terminus, but it’s just beginning.

The announcement was the perfect launch to not only celebrate this time with the fans but also send a message to the rest of the league. Leading up to the announcement several individuals (most having never been to Atlanta) expressed their skepticism over Atlanta being a good fit. They brought out their tired cliches and used sound logic like “If hockey can’t make it why do you think soccer can!”. This was an opportunity to give the skeptics some insight into how this club will be run, it’s aspirations, and most importantly it’s owner.

While we can counter the skeptics with our own facts at the end of the day the ultimate measure of success will be whether the fans come out to support the club. If the attendance is only 14,000 in a 29,000 seat down-sized stadium then the atmosphere will suffer.

So if you want the club to be successful start spreading the word and you can even put your deposit in to join the founders club for the new MLS Atlanta team. Joining the founders club will give you priority seating and other benefits to be announced at a later date. For more information visit their site at http://mlsatlanta2017.com/founders-club/ .

What did you think about the announcements? How do you feel about the focus on the fans and their involvement going forward?

MLS coming to Atlanta

You’re invited to be a part of an amazing day in Atlanta sports history. On Wednesday, April 16th there will be a soccer festival from 3 – 6 PM at the corner of Baker Street & Marietta Street just around the corner from the World of Coca-Cola.

MLS-invite_Page_2

Coincidentally, the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour, presented by Coca-Cola, will be in Atlanta about that same time. The Trophy Tour and festival has travelled the globe and is making it’s last few stops here in the United States prior to going to Brazil. Hopefully we can bring the trophy back to the States in a few months. But that’s just the begininng of the fun.

From 5-6 PM the main event, a Major announcement, will take place at Ventanas and broadcast to the soccer festival.

The after party then moves to Stats from 6 – 9 PM. It’s going to be a great day.

And what do you think of the announcements color scheme? Some believe it may be a clue to the new teams colors. I mean, was there ever a chance it wasn’t going to include Black &/or Red? I think it’s very likely we keep in the colors in the Falcon family, especially since the new stadium will feature those same colors. A few months ago when I updated the site I felt Black and Red seemed appropriate.

Do you think anything else could be announced? Maybe a team name. Could we add a Phoenix to mix of bird themed sports teams in Atlanta?

Let the countdown begin!

There have been reports, rumors, and increasingly open dialog in recent months about Arthur Blank and MLS coming to terms on an expansion franchise. Now we hear straight from Arthur Blank that while the contract isn’t signed, both parties are finalizing the details, and a formal announcement will likely take place on April 16th.

Both Doug Robertson of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Jonathan Tannenwald at Philly.com reported on Sunday about the pending announcement which Mr. Blank acknowledges in the interview as being very close to accurate. You can read both articles here and here.

Take a listen from this clip starting at the 7 minute mark where Mr. Blank was on 680 The Fan with The Front Row crew of Steak Shapiro, Sandra Golden, and Brian Finneran.

 

This signature has been 8 years in the making and we’ll have to wait 3 more years before the first kick. But now that we move to the next stage in the expansion process what are you most excited about?

MLS Southeast Expansion & NASL Expansion

Major League Soccer President Mark Abbott was invited by the Carolina RailHawks, of the NASL, to visit the Triangle area and have an open discussion regarding the potential of MLS expansion.  Other attendee’s included David Downs, commissioner of the NASL, and Aaron Davidson, vice president of Traffic Sports. The event opened with a fan forum, and included an invite only meeting of local business, community, and soccer leaders. The day concluded with a media round table at WakeMed Soccer Park, home of the Carolina Railhawks.

“We are not about jumping the gun and putting cart before the horse,” RailHawks President Curt Johnson said. “Those things evolve in time.”

“What we’re trying to do is build the largest possible fan base that we can have here and let other people decide what at the end of the day will be the future. Those people will be the owners, MLS and the NASL and the fans and corporate partners.”

The fan base will now have room to grow as WakeMed Soccer Park, which is owned by Wake County, is undergoing a $6.3 million expansion that will add 3,000 seats and move the capacity up to 10,000 seats. The project is scheduled to be completed by the September of this year.

Abbott said “I’m a firm believer there are markets in the Southeast that can perform at the level of the Pacific Northwest.”

MLS has indicated that it is focused on establishing a 20th expansion team in New York. But an expansion timetable beyond 20 teams, and specifically a plan for the Southeast, has not been established according to league officials.

Abbott also continued to communicate the three key factors that MLS evaluates in potential expansion targets: an ownership group financially capable of operating the team, a stadium seating between 20,000 and 25,000, and a market that can draw roughly that many fans while generating corporate support.

So while the MLS may not have any immediate plans for expansion is seems as though the NASL will be expanding soon. In addition to Ottawa joining in 2014, Indyweek Sports reported that the NASL is poised to announce two expansion franchises within the next 30-45 days. The league has finalized contractual terms with one club and is in the latter stages of negotiations with the other. One is an existing soccer club while the other is an upstart franchise. Moreover, Davidson indicated one will be stationed in the western U.S. while the other will be located within the NASL’s current main geographic footprint.

USL side Orlando City seems to be the most logical team to join the NASL. They have a great team, strong fan-base, and MLS ambitions that would all make sense for them to step up into the next level.

In regards to the western club Downs did rattled off a few potential expansion locations including: Phoenix, San Diego, Indianapolis, and Detroit. Phoenix has shown some great promise in recent friendlies and would give the San Antonio Scorpions a nearby team to help foster a rivalry.

See this MLS article on the visit and vote for Atlanta in the poll “Which Southeast market do you think will emerge as the frontrunner for expansion?”.

Video of the Fan Forum can be located at www.carolinarailhawks.com

So what markets do you think the NASL should expanded to next?