Two MLS teams in Florida

By | November 20, 2013

The MLS has announced its plan to add four new teams, expanding the league to 24 teams by 2020. Is this a bigger push to get more Americans involved in the league? While there are many programs vying for the spots, one of them was recently given to Orlando City. With that in mind, it is interesting  that David Beckham is working with LeBron James to start an MLS team in Miami.

Is this really a good idea? I am all for expanding the MLS. The NFL has 32 teams, and the NBA, NHL, and MLB all have 30. I think that more teams, spread across the country (except for maybe 2 in a few big cities, like New York or LA) would spark more interest, getting people to come out and support their local teams. But putting two teams so close together? I don’t know about that. Granted, this could work. It works in other football (The Jaguars and the Dolphins) and the Dolphins are one of the best marketed sports teams in history. But will this translate to soccer? I am skeptical, mainly because of Miami’s past experience of failing to rally behind an MLS team. Some will be more optimistic than me, but I just don’t see it happening, even with the ‘Star Power’ behind the James/Beckham combo.


4 thoughts on “Two MLS teams in Florida

  1. Bryan Silverman

    Examining what you mention about the proximity of teams, I think that having 2 teams close together brings a much-needed rivalry to the MLS, simply inherent in the fact that people take pride in where they are from. If you look at the Yankees and the Mets, for example, while one (the Yankees) is obviously a far superior franchise, there is an inherent rivalry that brings the two fans together in a way that I think would be fantastic for MLS franchises.

  2. Matt Ochs

    Some very interesting points are brought up in this post. It’s true that Florida has not fared well in the past when it comes to professional soccer. Having said that, Florida has a very active youth soccer program and the sport could definitely gain some momentum if delivered to the people correctly. I believe Lebron James is exactly the person to grow soccer in Florida. He is one of America’s most recognizable and well-known sports stars in the past 20 years, and his clout in the south Florida area is substantial. Furthermore, James is already a partial owner of Liverpool F.C., so he understands the fundamentals of the soccer industry. I believe that if professional soccer is to ever become big in south Florida, it would be with Lebron James and it will happen when the MLS establishes legitimate teams in the region.

  3. Daniel Carp

    Using the Jaguars and Dolphins as an example to justify this doesn’t make much sense here. Both teams draw terrible attendance and often black out their home games. The Jaguars are the top NFL candidate to move to London.

    I think a LeBron/Beckham combo is all well and good, but you’ve got to let this league get a little more traction in the US before trying to expand it. The biggest concern the league should be having is diluting its talent pool, which is already thin as is.

    One thing important to note here is that the success of an MLS franchise is solely based on location. Who’d have thought that Seattle, Portland, Columbus and Kansas City would have a more spirited soccer following than New York and Los Angeles? Finding the right market is the key here, and I think regardless of star power Miami is not the right place for a team. Miami has lived up to its reputation for lackluster sports fans in previous years. The Marlins have won two World Series in 15 years, built a brand-new ballpark and they’re still only selling about 10,000 seats per game. Heat fans left Game 6 of the NBA Finals and tried to re-enter the arena after the Ray Allen shot. If the previous failed attempts at soccer in Miami have shown you anything, it’s that South Beach is far from an ideal location to start a sports franchise.

  4. Christopher Nam

    I think that expanding the league could garner more interest, as having a home team often plays a large part in people becoming interested in the sport. I know from my experience, the main reason I started to pay more attention to the MLS was because of the close relationship I had with my hometown Columbus Crew team, through their youth academies and general presence around me. I don’t think I would’ve had this same exposure without this team and thus simply paid attention to the more popular leagues in Europe. However, I also think expanding the league to 24 teams with several teams so close to each other could dilute the league. I don’t know if the MLS has enough star quality players to spread out through so many teams. Even the top leagues like La Liga and the EPL only have 20 teams in their top division. Many teams already have a small fanbase, and having to divide them up even further could be a detriment to the teams. However, I think it is worth attempting, especially with the growth in popularity in the MLS. I think though, that they should focus on expanding to areas where there is no team present, to make these areas more aware of the MLS and to give them a hometown team to cheer for. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction and we can see a league comparable to those in Europe in the near future.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *