Yesterday MLS Rumors and Goal.com broke the story about the apprehension Barcelona has about the downturn in the US economy and their current venture in Miami for an MLS expansion team. Message Boards have filled up with posters, many of which know little about the situation that have said “good” and “Miami never deserved another team” among other things.
Here is what I can report after speaking with a number of sources.
- MLS and SUM had for sometime before the Oct 15th announcement of Barcelona’s bid been soliciting a big name or financially stable investment group. That’s why among other names, David Beckham was floated as a possible investor in June of 2008. MLS wants back in the Miami market. One of my sources tells me that had the league realized the demographic changes that were coming to the area in the form of more Central and South Americans it is possible the league never would have pulled the plug on the Fusion in 2001. Miami will be the largest metropolitan area in the United States without an MLS team once Philadelphia begins play in 2010. Additionally, the Miami/Ft Lauderdale media market had one of the highest viewership numbers for US-Mexico last week even though the Mexican population in south Florida is minimal compared to other Latino groups. In other words it’s a natural football market once again. (this also contradicts the theory among some very lazy, hostile and ignorant mainstream sports writers that everyone watching that particular game was of Mexican descent)
- Commissioner Don Garber is either on his way to, or already in Barcelona and will be meeting with team officials around today’s derby match with Espanyol. It is entirely possible Barcelona like Montreal wanted a better deal on expansion or that the club is simply looking at all aspects of its financial operation. Barcelona has yet to officially pull out of the Miami project contrary to the conjecture or wishful thinking on some message boards. Marcelo Claure also from what I understand remains committed although I have no knowledge of his recent conversations with the Catalan club since the clubs financial meeting this week where this issue was brought forward.
This is an ongoing story and I’ll possibly have more to report later.