MLS Expansion: Top 20 Cities for the MLS to Go to Next

In May, MLS announced a second franchise in New York.  That elicited this article on MLS expansion.  It’s likely that MLS will have 24 teams within the next 10 or 15 years. Since then, there has been a lot of water under the bridge.  MLS VP Dan Courtemanche said future expansion will be addressed in the near future, via Joe Prince-Wright of NBC's Pro Soccer Talk. It appears we are inching ever closer to a David Beckham-owned, South Florida-based franchise.  There have been constant rumors (although they have usually been adamantly denied) that Chivas USA or another MLS team could pull up stakes for greener pastures, via Ives Galarcep of Soccer by Ives.  Following a user request, I have added additional markets, plus additional information on market size and outdoor minor league history, and ranked them this time.  Though we may eventually get second franchises in some markets, each is in a market without MLS.   This is an update of this article. See also articles on NHL, NFL and NBA expansion.  Population figures are for combined statistical areas per the U.S. Census Bureau.   Begin Slideshow
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MLS: Would a Four-Division MLS Be a Good Idea?

When New York F.C. takes to the field, MLS will be fielding 20 clubs. That's enough for four five-team divisions.  So, is this a good idea?Well, the MLB, NHL and NBA currently have six divisions, and the 32-team NFL has eight.However, most other premier leagues around the world don't have divisions at all, including the English Premier League, which also has 20 teams.  However, most other worldwide leagues have a smaller geographic footprint than the MLS (usually only one or two time zones instead of four), and many also have fewer than 20 teams. Though some of these leagues (including the EPL) play a double-round-robin regular-season schedule, other leagues have unbalanced schedules.And how would the divisions ultimately line up?Well, for starters, one team is going to have to move from the East to the West. Houston and Kansas City are the most likely targets for movement. I'd move the Dynamo to the West so it could be in the same division as its Texas derby rival Dallas.Dividing the MLS is complicated by the fact that the MLS has a different geographical distribution than the "Big Four" leagues. With six teams on the west coast, the Whitecaps will have to be ...
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MLS Expansion: 10 Cities Where MLS Could Go Next

It was recently announced that MLS will place a second team in New York for the 2015 season, the 20th team in the league and the 10th expansion franchise in the last 12 years.  It seems likely that MLS will add between two and six expansion teams in the coming years. Here are 10 markets, eight in the United States and two elsewhere in North America, that I see as possibilities for an MLS franchise. By user request, fourth in a series: NHL, NFL, NBA.   Begin Slideshow
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MLS Expansion: Why the MLS Should Put a Team in El Paso, Texas

Over the past few years, Major League Soccer has been growing rapidly, and there is talk of even further expansion.  The most likely target is Queens, New York (perhaps as a revival of Pele's Cosmos), but St. Louis, Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego and Miami have also been mentioned as targets.  However, I'd like to add one other city to MLS' list: El Paso, Texas.El Paso is one of the largest cities in the country without any top-level sports teams, at 649,121. Only Austin has more people within its city limits.  804,123 people live in the El Paso metro region, not that much in comparison to other American metros with sports teams. However, if you combine the population of the El Paso metro area with Southern New Mexico and Ciudad Juarez across the Rio Grande, the population balloons to over two-and-a-quarter million.  That's bigger than the media markets of many one-team cities. And, mind you, there are people who cross international borders to regularly watch sporting events.  The Buffalo Sabres and Bills have substantial fanbases in Southern Ontario.  Furthermore, not only is El Paso-Juarez of sufficient size to support a pro team, it doesn't have any nearby competition.  The closest cities with ...
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