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Garber lists Vancouver as MLS Expansion Candidate


Gian-Luca

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They aren't alone in the list (obviously) but might this be the first time Garber has officially mentioned Vancouver? This is from a internet chat earlier today:

http://www.mlsnet.com/chat/2007/07/garber/

Question:

Can you give us the status on some other markets?

Don Garber

There's more interest in MLS expansion than at any other time in the history of the sport in the country. Without prioritizing any one market, here is a rundown of the cities: Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Antonio, St. Louis, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Rochester, New York City, Atlanta, Miami and Las Vegas.

--------------------

Of course, we need the stadium situation to sort itself out for that to happen.

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I am sure the initial success of TFC will play a part in MLS expansion deliberations but it is early days to pass judgement on the long term prospects for TFC. Remains to be seen if they can sustain the level of support they have enjoyed initially. I hope they can of course.

Point of interest, the Whitecaps' last home game was another sellout at Swangard. According to Bob Lenarduzzi the club is enjoying average ticket sales at 95% of capacity this season versus 90% for the 2006 season, for the men at least.

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...But not Montreal. Of course that may not mean anything in the whole grand scheme of things. I don't remember Toronto being on any expansion candidate list prior to receiving a club as it all happened so fast.

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quote:Originally posted by Metro

I don't remember Toronto being on any expansion candidate list prior to receiving a club as it all happened so fast.

Toronto was listed by Garber on a couple of similar occasions prior to being announced as a candidate. Additionally Toronto was listed as a prime candidate on its own apart from the initial suggestions of the list.

It could just be talk of course. But MLS is perfectly aware of what is happening in Toronto thus far & I suspect news of the goods crowds for the U20 World Cup in some of the other cities has also reached their ears, and so you'd have to figure they must be somewhat more interested in expanding further into Canada than they were before. The problems are going to be the stadium issues in Vancouver & the associated timing that goes with it. For this reason, it seems doubtful that Vancouver would be one of the three cities that Garber indicates in the chat that he is confident will be granted an expansion team by the end of the MLS season. Then again, there is no suggested timeline for that expansion.

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There is no real reason why the MLS could not make a commitment to a franchise in Vancouver contingent upon stadium availability. I suspect nothing like that will happen publicly for a while yet however. The Whitecaps carefully evade any real discussion about MLS and consistently express support for the USL. It is not in their short or medium term interests to undermine their position in the USL by talking up any desire to abandon the USL for MLS.

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He also mentioned Vancouver in The Salt Lake Tribune recently, for what it's worth.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/2y5ph8

EXPANSION TO TORONTO AND BEYOND

Expansion has been a very successful experience for us this year. I'm sure if you follow us, you know those games have all been sold out. Fourteen thousand season tickets and those games have all been sold out in advance. We have a unique situation in Toronto. It's the first time we've opened a new team in a new stadium, so as we think about expansion going forward we're going to try and do everything we can to replicate that formula that's worked so well for us. We've got plans in certain parts of the West Coast in Southern California and San Diego, but also in Seattle and Portland and Vancouver and Philadelphia, St. Louis, Atlanta.

By the way, those teams are paying far more for their entry fee than the 2005 expansion with Salt Lake and Los Angeles.

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quote:Originally posted by Richard

There is no real reason why the MLS could not make a commitment to a franchise in Vancouver contingent upon stadium availability.

You may be right about this. That appears to be what they are about to do with a new expansion team in San Jose for 2008, if this report about an upcoming announcement for the MLS All-Star game announcing the team is true:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/jonah_freedman/07/17/quakes.return/index.html

Here's an interesting part of the article - might something like this (albeit with less options) be done in Vancouver?

"Here's the most interesting part of the plan: Until the Quakes have a permanent home, they'll be barnstormers. Wolff says his team will play in different venues around Northern California, varying in size depending on the opponent.

In other words, when David Beckham and the Galaxy roll into town, the game could be at Oakland's McAfee Coliseum (where as many as 50,000 have turned up for soccer games) or Stanford Stadium. When, say, the Columbus Crew come to the Bay, the match might be at 9,000-seat Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, or perhaps the brand new, 15,000-capacity Aggie Stadium at UC Davis, 100 miles northeast of San Jose."

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quote:Originally posted by Gian-Luca

"Here's the most interesting part of the plan: Until the Quakes have a permanent home, they'll be barnstormers. Wolff says his team will play in different venues around Northern California, varying in size depending on the opponent.

Bad idea if it's anything more than 1-2 games at ONE different stadium.

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quote:Originally posted by Richard

I am sure the initial success of TFC will play a part in MLS expansion deliberations but it is early days to pass judgement on the long term prospects for TFC. Remains to be seen if they can sustain the level of support they have enjoyed initially. I hope they can of course.

No question they will be able to. These aren't some business suits that come watch the games as a new fad. The fans are cultured and know their football. I haven't been able to go a day without seeing someone wearing a TFC jersey in the downtown area. Toronto is a big footballing city.

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quote:Originally posted by Richard

There is no real reason why the MLS could not make a commitment to a franchise in Vancouver contingent upon stadium availability. I suspect nothing like that will happen publicly for a while yet however. The Whitecaps carefully evade any real discussion about MLS and consistently express support for the USL. It is not in their short or medium term interests to undermine their position in the USL by talking up any desire to abandon the USL for MLS.

Why would the Caps need to abandon the USL? Seems to me the "USL Caps" could serve the "MLS Caps" just fine.

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quote:Originally posted by Richard

Point of interest, the Whitecaps' last home game was another sellout at Swangard. According to Bob Lenarduzzi the club is enjoying average ticket sales at 95% of capacity this season versus 90% for the 2006 season, for the men at least.

You keep shrinking the seating capacity of the stadium and that will happen.

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90%, 95%... doesn't really make much difference. Essentially a sellout for every game. Keep shrinking he seating capacity? How many times was the stadium capacity reduced? I am only aware of it happening once in the last five years and that because of the folding seats for the U-20 WC. In fact with the addition of the east side bleachers the capacity has been increased during Kerfoot's ownership of the club.

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quote:Originally posted by Richard

90%, 95%... doesn't really make much difference. Essentially a sellout for every game. Keep shrinking he seating capacity? How many times was the stadium capacity reduced? I am only aware of it happening once in the last five years and that because of the folding seats for the U-20 WC. In fact with the addition of the east side bleachers the capacity has been increased during Kerfoot's ownership of the club.

Untrue. Those east side bleachers that are on the east side track have less seating capacity than those permanent ones that are behind the track.

In the last few years they put the VIP section in the north and stopped selling the 3 north side bleacher sections which reduced capacity approximately 900 seats. Then they put those new bleachers on the track in the east side which reduced capacity again (from approximately 6,100 seats to 5,722. Then the new seats in the grandstand reduced the capacity even further. There was a day a few years ago when the Caps were drawing 7,199 against the Sounders.

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Well there you go, I'd forgotten about those bleachers. I don't have the data to argue your capacity numbers but I'll wager the revenue is higher as a result of trading the bleachers for the VIP section and I always thought those bleachers set way back behind the goals were awful - they never seemed to be particularly full.

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quote:Originally posted by Metro

...But not Montreal. Of course that may not mean anything in the whole grand scheme of things. I don't remember Toronto being on any expansion candidate list prior to receiving a club as it all happened so fast.

You have to wonder. There are a few current or past USL cities ( Rochester, Milwaukee) on that list. Then you also have Miami / south Florida which has already been a failure in MLS. It has to be that there is no interest from Saputo.

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quote:It has to be that there is no interest from Saputo.

That would be my guess as well, seeing as the only thing needed to get on this list would be for a team to express some serious interest in joining MLS. Maybe Joey has watched some of the TFC games and is frightened by the fans and prefers the more family USL atmosphere.

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quote:Originally posted by Grizzly

That would be my guess as well, seeing as the only thing needed to get on this list would be for a team to express some serious interest in joining MLS. Maybe Joey has watched some of the TFC games and is frightened by the fans and prefers the more family USL atmosphere.

Why the **** would he be frightened of that. If he doesn't do anything with the MLS than it would perfectly fitting for Gillete to come in and take action.

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Guest Jeffery S.
quote:Originally posted by Gian-Luca

Anyway, it is now official that San Jose will be the 14th team, once again called the Earthquakes, starting up in April 2008

http://web.mlsnet.com/mls/about/sje.jsp

That evens up the divisions. I would expect something west and something east for something like 2010 or 2011.

Frankly I am worried about the capacity of the Whitecaps as an organization, I think they believe they are top notch and high level, when in fact they are neither. Lenarduzzi's illusions of grandeur combined with Kerfoot's deep pockets and excessive dependence on Bobby is an unreliable combination. They need more and more professional sport managers in there. And they also need to think seriously about making this stadium with such low capacity bigger, as this size makes no sense. Vancouver should be assuring 20,000 capacity as well, to hell with the dinosaurs at city hall.

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quote:Originally posted by Jeffrey S.

That evens up the divisions. I would expect something west and something east for something like 2010 or 2011.

Frankly I am worried about the capacity of the Whitecaps as an organization, I think they believe they are top notch and high level, when in fact they are neither. Lenarduzzi's illusions of grandeur combined with Kerfoot's deep pockets and excessive dependence on Bobby is an unreliable combination. They need more and more professional sport managers in there. And they also need to think seriously about making this stadium with such low capacity bigger, as this size makes no sense. Vancouver should be assuring 20,000 capacity as well, to hell with the dinosaurs at city hall.

Well, they'd be going to a League where Alexi Lalas is at the helm of their flagship, so I'd expect that Bobby L would not be too far behind the standard :D

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Guest Jeffery S.
quote:Originally posted by Gordon

Well, they'd be going to a League where Alexi Lalas is at the helm of their flagship, so I'd expect that Bobby L would not be too far behind the standard :D

Alexis and Bobby are made for each other. Though I think those running the Galaxy actually know about pro sport, while Kerfoot does not. Imagine Lalas having to do everything and not just be the brash spokesperson and public face.

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quote:Originally posted by Jeffrey S.

That evens up the divisions. I would expect something west and something east for something like 2010 or 2011.

Frankly I am worried about the capacity of the Whitecaps as an organization, I think they believe they are top notch and high level, when in fact they are neither. Lenarduzzi's illusions of grandeur combined with Kerfoot's deep pockets and excessive dependence on Bobby is an unreliable combination. They need more and more professional sport managers in there. And they also need to think seriously about making this stadium with such low capacity bigger, as this size makes no sense. Vancouver should be assuring 20,000 capacity as well, to hell with the dinosaurs at city hall.

Have you ever spent any time at the Whitecaps offices on Waterfront street and met the people who form the heart of organisation? If you haven't then you know not of what you speak with such supercilious confidence.
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From Friends of Soccer:

VANCOUVER OFFICIALLY A MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER TARGET!

The Commissioner of Major League Soccer, Don Garber, officially confirmed today that Vancouver is one of the cities being considered for expansion into Major League Soccer. In an exclusive interview with the league's official website MLSNET.COM, Garber revealed that the league was looking at expansion and Vancouver was a serious candidate.

From MLSNET:

"When will MLS be expanding to Pacific Northwest/Florida/New York/Philadelphia/Canada?"

Don Garber

"If I answer that here, we certainly won't have much to talk about during the State of the League address tomorrow. I'm well aware that much of the internet traffic and fan buzz recently concerns expansion and all of you know I, and MLS president Mark Abbot, spend a great deal of our time traveling from city to city meeting with potential owners, officials and sports authorities and all others to manage the expansion of the league. I'm very confident that we will be able to announce a 16-team league by the end of the year. It's still a moving target as to what cities will flow in when."

"Can you give us the status on some other markets?"

Don Garber

"There's more interest in MLS expansion than at any other time in the history of the sport in the country. Without prioritizing any one market, here is a rundown of the cities: Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Antonio, St. Louis, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Rochester, New York City, Atlanta, Miami and Las Vegas."

"Has the success of Toronto FC given the MLS a blueprint for success in new markets and the future? And has its success blown your mind over how crazy and how popular it is?

Don Garber

"The answer is to all of that is yes, yes, yes. So the answer to that question is yes, yes, yes. My hat goes off to MLSE who have proven to be terrific operators, who understand the sports business and now the soccer business like few others. From the time we began discussing the opportunity with MLSE to the opening home game, the success they have at home games each week, I'm impressed and thrilled at what we have going on up in Toronto. In many ways it is a blueprint yet every market has its own idiosyncracies, opportunities and challenges. One of the things that has really impressed us, and something we hope to replicate in other markets, is the passionnate involvement of teams' supporters groups, something we hope to replicate in other markets."

Vancouver was the only Canadian city mentioned by the MLS Commissioner on Wednesday. Major League Soccer expansion in the past has traditionally relied on these factors before teams were able to particpate in North America's top league:

1. An owner with reliable resources to support the franchise. On this front, the Whitecaps are secured.

2. A city with significant soccer interest among the population. On this point, Vancouver has rich soccer culture and the oldest continuous running professional soccer club in Canada.

3. A Soccer Specific Stadium...or concrete, feasible plans to build one.

The third point is entirely in the realm of our City Council. In the coming days, weeks and months, Friends of Soccer are going to do our best to consult with you, work with you and mobilize the entire country to put pressure on City Council to push the stadium forward in time for the 2011 Women's World Cup and a new MLS team.

The time for patience and restraint are over. The people of Vancouver have already said yes four times to the stadium. All that's left is for the Whitecaps & the Port of Vancouver to present a vision for the Waterfront lands and to present a design for the new showcase of Canadian Soccer.

Every stadium we build in this country is a major victory for Canadian Soccer. When Toronto faced their council debate on the first Soccer Specific Stadium in Canada, fans from Vancouver to Bathurst, N.B. voiced their support and encouraged you to contact the elected officials involved.

Now, it's your turn.

It's time for Canadian Soccer Supporters EVERYWHERE to to let Vancouver City Council know how important the stadium is for soccer in this country. Please write city council today at mailto:mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca .

Please remember, this is just the start. I believe that together, we can set the framework for the creation of soccer specific stadiums and facilities across Canada. I'll write more on this in the coming days.

Please help us...we're reaching a critical time in development of this stadium and Canadian Soccer as a whole. In the coming months, it will be your voice that matters.

Until Kickoff,

Bill Currie

Friends of Soccer

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