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The Silverdome and Major League Soccer?

mls logo 300x266 The Silverdome and Major League Soccer?

No, there isn’t thing officially saying that MLS is coming to Detroit, and I’m not insinuating that it is.

Today the Pontiac Silverdome was sold for peanuts, really. $583,000 for an 80,000-seat stadium.  The Silverdome certainly has aged, and it hasn’t aged well, but it could always be upgraded and when it’s all said and done this firm, which at the moment is still anonymous, got it for a steal.

The Detroit News reports that the company would like to bring a soccer league to the area, which is interesting when you consider that the United Soccer Leagues just announced plans to put a USL First Division team — most likely promoting the existing Michigan Bucks, who also call Pontiac home, from the PDL.  I don’t think the two groups are related, which leaves open the possibly that the group is talking about MLS.  MLS is now using a guideline that expansion teams have a stadium, or at least play in a stadium that the owner has control of — like Seattle does — and the purchase of the Silverdome gives this group a stadium.

The stadium has seen soccer before, it famously became the first indoor stadium to host World Cup matches in 1994, during these matches it was specially fitted with a raised pitch to allow for more width and the use of grass, at the time the stadium used an Astroturf surface for Lions games. It was also home the the Detroit Express of the NASL briefly in the late 70′s.

Today Don Garber announced Montreal as the possible 19th MLS team, and said he wasn’t sure what the 20th would be. There are several other options, but we now know that there is a group in Detroit looking at soccer a serious possiblity.

Is this a non-story? Possibly. But it is interesting.  Personally I’d turn the Silverdome into some sort of post-apocalyptic castle and live in it, but that’s probably just me.

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23 Responses to The Silverdome and Major League Soccer?

  1. steve says:

    when did the Don make the Montreal anouncement? It’s not on the league website.

  2. Andrew says:

    Detroit is a sink-hole for money, business, and most other things. MLS should avoid this like the plague. It has other pressing issues – getting Portland up and running, pressing for attendance fixes in Columbus and Dallas, getting Stan Kroenke to build some momentum for his home club, and getting stadiums up in DC, Houston, DC, KC and San Jose.

    Oh – and a little something called the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

    • Bobby Brandon says:

      Yea, Garber mentioned how important it is for an MLS team to win the Champions League. That CBA better give squads some more depth if that’s gonna happen.

    • This One Guy In Detroit says:

      “Detroit is a sink-hole for money, business, and most other things.”

      You are correct — if we’re talking about the City of Detroit. But we’re not. We’re talking about the Detroit metro area. For instance, I’m posting right now from Oakland County, which is the home of the Silverdome. It’s the fourth-richest county in the United States.

      I know it is confusing for outsiders, but “Detroit” and “Detroit” can mean two different things. (Two very different things.)

  3. Nick says:

    Wow, that is dirt cheap. But it costs $1.5 million per year to upkeep. I doubt an ownership group would take that on without some agreement with MLS.

    I would guess that MLS plans on coming to Detroit soon.

  4. dan says:

    could be interesting to see what develops

  5. ddtigers says:

    Being from Detroit I would love this but I not sure if the Metro-Detroit area is ready to support a MLS side. But it would be great if the M Bucks moved to the ‘dome

  6. This One Guy In Detroit says:

    “I don’t think the two groups are related, which leaves open the possibly that the group is talking about MLS.”

    The Detroit Free Press specifically reported MLS.

    I’d keep an eye on the Free Press for this story in general. They tend to be better overall with scoops and info on just about everything.

  7. Charles says:

    >>>when did the Don make the Montreal anouncement? It’s not on the league website. <<<

    http://web.mlsnet.com/news/mls_news.jspymd=20091116&content_id=7674580&vkey=news_mls&fext=.jsp

  8. Charles says:

    I wanted to read about a stadium selling for that little amount of money and ran into this which references the Free Press:

    “The winning bidder, one of four and whose identity has not yet been released, plans to use the facility for a men’s Major League Soccer team and women’s professional soccer teams, Fred Leeb, Pontiac’s emergency financial manager, told the Free Press in an exclusive interview.”

    http://freep.com/article/20091116/NEWS03/91116065/1318/Canadian-firm-submits-winning-bid-of-583000-for-Silverdome

  9. ELAC says:

    Detroit FC (DFC). Sporting Detroit. Detroit Athletic. Detroit United.

  10. RedRover says:

    - Detroit Motor City FC (DMC FC)

    - Detroit International (Detroit Inter), or International Detroit (Inter Detroit)

  11. Charles says:

    A twist in the plans…..

    http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2009/11/18/pontiac-silverdome-sale-halted/?mod=rss_WSJBlog

    IF it works out…..
    with Tigers, Lions already in place in Detroit, they should leverage off of those names rather than the huge connection to Euro soccer teams that Detroit has. Tough call, as Detroit has a big InterMilan fan base. ;-)

  12. Joey says:

    Michigan has an incredible amount of soccer players at the grassroots level, not to mention competitive high school and college teams. I think a club here would be well supported.

    what ever happened to the Detroit Arsenal, are they still around? The MLS team could steal that name, and perhaps some of the glory from our North London counterparts

    Livin’ in a Bergkamp wonderland…

  13. Eric says:

    It would be a great sport to add to Detroit, the sport is growing very fast and we need to get a team so we can win unlike the lions.

  14. MBT shoes says:

    Michigan has an incredible amount of soccer players at the grassroots level, not to mention competitive high school and college teams. I think a club here would be well supported.

  15. cra says:

    bring back the express at the silverdome !

  16. vaudiophile says:

    Rebirth the old Detroit Cougars name. That would be even better.

  17. Dave says:

    WOW HUGE NEWS
    Pontiac Silverdome ownership announced Tuesday they would be bringing two of the most successful soccer teams of all-time to the Silverdome in August to play an exhibition match.

    Powerhouse A.C. Milan will take on current champions of Greek professional soccer Panathinaikos F.C. on August 6th at the Pontiac Silverdome. Tickets go on sale 6/14 at 10p and start at $29.95, and range up to $150 for front row seating.

    Silverdome Senior Soccer Advisor Roger Faulkner stated that it is the Silverdome’s goal to bring events like this to the Silverdome on a regular basis. Faulkner also stated the Silverdome is commited to “finishing what we started in ’94″ when World Cup matches were at the Silverdome. Faulkner said that like the ’94 World Cup matches at the Silverdome, these events will be played on natural grass. Faulkner said that international coverage is in place and they are working on local media deals to televise the event but didn’t have details at this time.

    The match will feature 10 players on Panathinaikos F.C. currently on the 2010 World Cup team and 7 from A.C. Milan.

    Steve Apostolopoulos, Head of Sports for Triple Sports and Entertainment stated that the event will draw local and international attention. Apostolopoulos said that Triple Sports will reach out to many local youth soccer leagues in the area to provide discounted tickets and they’re going to stick to their word of making Silverdome events affordable for the entire family. It is Silverdome ownership’s hope that matches like this will be the norm at the refurbished Silverdome and that there is also hope of one day an MLS or USL team will one day call the Pontiac Silverdome home.
    http://www.silverdometickets.com

  18. Dave says:

    OMG THIS IS AWESOME !!! Whos going? I just checked it out and hotel is $65 for a stay at the marriott and gameday tix are 30-150. I ot my tix today.

  19. JR says:

    Still actively following the MLS bringing soccer to Detroit. I
    really hope this happens. There is a lot of support in Michigan for
    professional soccer.

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