SBD/March 6, 2013/Franchises

Garber Urges "Patience" With Chivas USA After Opener Draws Record-Low Attendance

A record-low crowd of 7,121 attended Chivas USA's home opener this past Saturday
MLS Chivas USA’s fortunes are “regressing instead of progressing” nine years after the "American offshoot of one of Mexico’s most famous clubs made its MLS debut,” according to Nick Green of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. Home Depot Center was “dirge-like, with fans marking ... the lack of a credible soccer club to call their own" during the club’s home opener against the Crew on Saturday, instead of a “fiesta-like atmosphere produced by a fanatical Mexican-American fan base.” But MLS Commissioner Don Garber “urged tolerance when he met with reporters Sunday in Carson, observing that the previous day's game was the first for the club's new ownership group.” Garber said, "What I would encourage everyone to have is a bit of patience. They have an idea, they have a plan, and we're hopeful that plan will be successfully executed. I think they need to do better in the execution.” But Green asked if MLS “hasn't righted the listing Chivas USA ship in the past decade, how are things going to improve in four or five months, especially under the ownership of health supplement millionaire Jorge Vergara and his wife?” Locally, Chivas USA is “running on fumes.” A pre-Christmas “purge saw employees given pink slips en masse, leaving a skeleton staff to run and market the club.” The club also has “no local television contract whatsoever” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 3/5).

MIAMI BLUES: In Miami, Michelle Kaufman reported there have been “no formal meetings” between Garber and the Dolphins’ ownership group, and there is “no imminent plan to bring a team to South Florida, although this market will remain in consideration.” MLS Exec VP/Communications Dan Courtemanche “dismissed any suggestion that Garber is pushing for Sun Life Stadium’s proposed $400 million worth of renovations, or using possible expansion as an incentive to drum up support from taxpayers.” Courtemanche said, “We have a good relationship with RSE Ventures (Ross’ group) through our commercial arm, Soccer United Marketing, but we have not had any formal discussions with RSE or the Dolphins regarding a future expansion team in Miami. We believe we will have an MLS team in South Florida someday, but our current focus remains on securing an expansion team for New York” (MIAMI HERALD, 3/5).
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Franchises, MLS, Chivas USA

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