Today’s the day. Nashville SC owners and MLS2Nashville board members are meeting in New York with MLS executives in order to become one of the available expansion teams. Among the four teams meeting with MLS are Nashville, Sacramento, Cincinnati, and Detroit.
The best position of the four markets is Sacramento. They’ve had all the pieces fall into place during their bid and they have a proven track record as well, winning the USL Championship in the 2014 season.
Nashville, something most of us at HasBeenSports have been part at some point of this movement, have also had all the pieces fall into place. Funding is secured for the stadium in the event of the MLS expansion and season tickets are hovering somewhere around 3,000 at the moment for their inaugural season. And it looks very good with the ownership group having such close ties to the Nashville community.
From the outside if you’ve only been lightly following, you would think that Cincinnati deserves one of these two expansion bids. Yes, their attendance numbers have been impressive in their first two years with an average of 17,296 their first season and 21,199 this past season, but you can’t support a bid on just attendance alone. Their efforts put together bid for MLS has been sloppy at best. The mentality of people involved in the bid seems to be that they think they’re a shoe-in for the position. This would have been true a month ago before Nashville secured the land and the funding for the proposed stadium.
Last is Detroit. The soccer supporters of Detroit are incredibly passionate, I’ll give them that. Apart from that, they don’t want MLS in their city. The ownership group has scrapped the idea of having a soccer-specific stadium and are settling for Ford Field instead. There are other markets that could have easily replaced Detroit in this round, most of which would probably have a better chance in landing the bid.
Overall, the consensus is that Sacramento is guaranteed one of the two spots, while Nashville and Cincinnati are battling for the second spot. The saving grace for Nashville is how Cincinnati has put together their bid, while Detroit is in a distant fourth place.