MLS Is Experiencing Major Growing Pains

The league has some city problems.



The struggle to find cities with the right stuff to join Major League Soccer continues but league owners should be happy with some of the latest developments. Nashville elected officials have finally greenlighted a more than quarter of a billion-dollar handout to help build a soccer facility in the city that is now scheduled to open in 2021. The expenditure was initially approved last November, the MLS granted the city a team in December but there was opposition, and still is opposition to the stadium, however politicians did get the money needed to help finance the project and Nashville now has a team that will more than likely start play in 2020.

The MLS was looking for four cities that had the right stuff to land an expansion franchise. So far, the MLS got half a loaf. Cincinnati area politicians eventually were able to deliver a way to build a stadium for a team. But 10 other potential markets were unable to land a team for various reasons. St. Louis voters said no to funding a soccer stadium, other cities such as Charlotte could not get political support, Sacramento had ownership problems, Detroit had a stadium location problem. Meanwhile, the owner of the Columbus Crew, Anthony Precourt, has a deal to move his franchise to a city that never applied for an MLS team, Austin, Texas. But there could be a court case that ultimately will decide if Austin gets the team or if it has to remain in Columbus. Meanwhile, David Beckham’s Miami franchise has a name but Beckham is still looking for a stadium site. Beckham is seeking a part of a Miami golf course as his site for his business and is awaiting the results of a November referendum to see if voters’ hand over the land for the team. Major League Soccer has major growing pains.