MLS Expansion Focused on New York

November 11, 2011

MLS commissioner Don Garber has said the league is still focused on basing its 20th franchise in New York.

At his 2011 State of the League teleconference, help Garber said  MLS has hired a full-time staff member, physician and a series of consultants, to investigate potential stadium sites in New York and focus on developing the expansion process.

There is a desire within the MLS organisation to create a team to rival the New York Red Bulls. The recent resurrection of the New York Cosmos franchise has led to them being widely-tipped to be awarded  an expansion franchise. Saudi Arabian company Sela Sport’s recent takeover of Cosmos, has complicated the issue and Garber has said they are not the only candidate for the 20th franchise.

Garber stated there is also interest from Orlando Las Vegas and Detroit.

Garber said: “We’ll continue to work with [the Cosmos], but also with many others,” he said. “I think people think we throw that out just to have leverage. People in New York know that there are several potential ownership groups and, until we’re further along in the process, we’re going to speak to as many people as we can because that’s the best way to ensure that we get an ownership group that will have resources and be able to make the commitments to be good partners in Major League Soccer.”

Garber has affirmed the addition of the Montreal Impact as league’s 19th team will not result in additional games due to the logistical challenges presented by such a move. Montreal Impact will make its competitive debut in March, but MLS will not change its 34-match schedule to accommodate its addition.

Garber said: “We will have a 34-game schedule and it will be unbalanced. It’s simple math: 389 games would almost be impossible for us to execute with the other competitions we’re required to play, the weather issues we have, the challenges in a handful of markets, the FIFA dates. All the things we have to do differently in the United States from a competitive standpoint, along with the travel impact that exists in our country.”

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