MLS Team In Atlanta Is a Smart Move For League and Atlanta Falcons

All indications are that Atlanta will be officially named as Major League Soccer’s newest franchise on Wednesday, and that Hotlanta, not Miami, will be the 22nd team in MLS.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank and MLS have scheduled a “major announcement” for Wednesday at 5pm in downtown Atlanta.

Unlike Miami, Atlanta has a stadium deal set with the help of the Falcons. Much like the partnership that existed in Seattle between the Sounders and Seahawks, the Falcons will get their new stadium, and Atlanta will get their MLS team.

With that being said, Miami is still a player when it comes to expansion franchises, but it will only be officially awarded the franchise when it has a stadium deal in place

One plus of having a MLS team in Atlanta is TV rights.

With Atlanta being the home to TNT (Turner Broadcasting Network), MLS could capture the attention of the Turner executives with the team being in their “back yard.” It could motivate them into a potential MLS rights bid in the future, and Turner Broadcasting would be a change from NBCSN or FOX Sports 1.

Plus, MLS’s entry into Atlanta should give the league a big boost in TV ratings by tapping into the Atlanta TV market.

Although one of the concerns that has been raised is the fact that the MLS Atlanta franchise will be playing at an American football stadium, it must be noted that it works in Seattle. But as we know, not every city is as passionate about soccer as Seattle is.

On the positive side, Atlanta has a long history with soccer and has a culture that supports the game. Just last month, 68,212 fans packed the Georgia Dome to watch a 0-0 tie between Nigeria and Mexico.

The Atlanta Silverbacks, of the North America Soccer League, averaged 4,364 as the team won the Spring Championship season, and had the right to host the 2013 Soccer Bowl. In the Soccer Bowl, the Silverbacks faced the New York Cosmos where a record attendance of 7,211 was on hand as Marcos Senna and the New York Cosmos defeated the Silverbacks 1-0.

MLS is doing the right thing in expanding to the southeast of the United States. The region loves soccer, has the demographics for a successful soccer franchise, and it is hungry to see MLS return.

With Atlanta in the fold, only two spots remain in the expansion plans Don Garber said he wants by 2020. The next two possible cities are Miami and either San Antonio or Minnesota.

6 thoughts on “MLS Team In Atlanta Is a Smart Move For League and Atlanta Falcons”

  1. Just don’t know how crazy the southeast is for soccer, and Atlanta is already a 4 sport town. How will the southeast respond to having 3 new teams with no history? It just seems like a stretch that Orlando, Atlanta and Miami will all be able to coexist for sustained amount of time. I hope I’m wrong.

  2. Another MLS team playing on artificial turf, with grid-iron lines during NFL season. Super!

    Why do MLS teams pair up with NFL teams? Why do they mimic this zombie pre-packaged soulless league, where you are told when to cheer, how to cheer and who to cheer for.

    It’s bad enough the NE Patriots owner treats the NE Revolution worse than a bastard child.

    Oh, and this is Georgia. I lived there for years. There’s only 1 relevant sports team in that state of Georgia-UGA football. In the fall, they will be lucky to get 5,000 in the stands. Bad bad idea to move to Georgia…

    But, hey, it’s Donnie Garber’s world: he is perfect, the fearless leader is always right, etc. etc.

  3. I sorta get the appeal of Orlando seeing as there’s only 1 other pro team, but Mia & Atl have tons of pro sports and they barely support those. Once the new stadium novelty wears off these teams will have trouble filling seats. Plus being outdoors in Orl in July & August is no picnic – if the heat,humidity and thunderstorms don’t get you the mosquitos will!

  4. Another ‘build it and they will come’ scenario. MLS seems to have the mentality that as long as the stadium, financing and potential tv rights are squared away, the support will be there. The mid-south is a baseball and college football area, definitely not soccer.

  5. The players need to start speaking out about playing on these fake fields especially with the CBA coming up next season.

    I also think having NFL ownership is a big mistake because once they get their new stadiums they will not have motivation to build a stadium for the soccer team they own with grass fields like in Seattle and Foxborough.

  6. Great news for Atlanta, MLS, and this boards own Atlanta Pompey. Paul you must be excited. It’s a great market for MLS and necessary for the leagues expanding TV dealings.

    The remaining question is after Atlanta where does the league go. The Midwest is badly in need of a team to be a natural rival of both KC and my Chicago Fire. The obvious choice would be ST. Louis. Hopefully it can come soon.

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