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SBD/November 20, 2013/Franchises
You've Got 21! MLS Officially Announces Orlando City SC Will Join League For '15 Season
Published November 20, 2013
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A WIN FOR THE CITY? In Orlando, Mike Bianchi in a front-page piece writes Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs "came together and worked in unison and reached the realization that sports teams truly are important not only to the identity of a city but to the economy of a city." If MLS can "thrive in cities such as Seattle and Kansas City, it's unfathomable what it might do in Orlando." MLS is a sport "undoubtedly trending upward, attracting a younger demographic of fans that sports such as baseball and hockey are losing" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 11/20). Also in Orlando, Scott Maxwell writes an MLS expansion franchise is the "best sports deal Orlando has seen in a long time." For about $44M "taxpayers are not only getting a new stadium, but a completely new major-league sport in Orlando -- a dynamic and growing one at that." For about one-tenth of what Orlando taxpayers spent on Amway Center, the city is "getting an entirely new sport that other Americans are clamoring for" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 11/20).
MANIFEST DESTINY? In K.C., Charles Gooch writes while there may be "doubts about the available talent pool needed to keep expanding and concerns about the state of the league's TV ratings," it is "hard to argue with the league's growth pattern." With the exceptions of Chivas USA and Toronto FC, all the recent expansion teams "have been successes on and off the field." MLS attendance in '13 was "led by some of these franchises," and many of them are "driving the league to new heights" (K.C. STAR, 11/20). Meanwhile, ESPN's Taylor Twellman said bringing Orlando into MLS is a "good thing," but noted there are still "concerns" about continuing to expand. Twellman: "The southeast of the United States is football country -- American football country -- and I don’t care what anyone tries to tell me on Twitter or elsewhere. We need to improve TV ratings and we're going to an area of the country where Miami with David Beckham, Atlanta is rumored to come in." ESPN's Steve Nicol said the expansion is "great because they're bringing in loads of money." However, he added, "Every single time another team comes the product is watered-down once again." Twellman asked, "What do you want them to do? Wait 30 years until they expand?" Nicol: "Stop adding. Have two leagues, do something, don’t just keep adding and adding and adding and watering the whole thing down" ("ESPN FC," ESPN2, 11/19).