Major League Soccer had its All Star game in Kansas City last night and as it is with all such gatherings, there was some discussion about the future of the league and the sport.
MLS commissioner Don Garber (that's him, above) said during the halftime broadcast that the league would like to expand from 20 teams to 24 by the year 2020. And here's what the league's official blog said about the expansion:
Wednesday’s news gives immediate hope to several markets looking to break into the league, such as Orlando, Miami, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Detroit and Sacramento, to name a few – several of whom had representatives presenting to the MLS Board of Governors here on Wednesday afternoon.
No word if those representatives included someone from the Minnesota Vikings ownership, though. The team didn't immediately respond to an inquiry about whether they were among the "several of whom had representatives presenting."
But they clearly have an interest, as Minnesota's stadium legislation spells out:
Subd. 15. Major league soccer. The authority shall, for five years after the first NFL team home game is played in the stadium, grant the NFL team the exclusive right to establish major league soccer at the stadium. The authority and the NFL team may enter into an agreement providing the terms and conditions of such an arrangement, provided: (1) if any of the NFL team owners whose family owns at least three percent of the NFL team purchases full or partial ownership in a major league soccer franchise, such franchise may play in the stadium under a use agreement with similar terms as are applicable to the NFL team which shall include rent based on market conditions but not less than a provision of payment of game-day costs and reasonable marginal costs incurred by the authority as a result of the major league soccer team; and (2) capital improvements required by a major league soccer franchise must be financed by the owners of the major league soccer team, unless otherwise greed to by the authority.
That said, soccer and football -- here where there IS a difference between the two -- have proven a rocky partnership recently. Deadspin last week headlined soccer's Gold Cup preparations in Texas thusly: "Cowboys Stadium is a Horrible Place to Host Soccer," noting that the field was covered with REAL grass, and the gaps were filled in with a pile of green-colored sand.