Major League Seldon

I feel for attendance geeks/box officers/gateophiles - or whatever the MLS attendance equivalent of "Trekker" is. This year above all others the attendance numbers can be misleading as all get out. All the previous years' problems are still around - the Rapids are monstrously popular once a year, the teams in the Home Depot Center lie and lie and lie about their gates - plus now we must factor in the fact that San Jose and Kansas City are in effect sleeping on their brother-in-law's couch (I would have called it "Section 8 housing" were it not for the Fire), the Red Bulls are so ineffective that fans are hiring voodoo artists to summon forth the Zombie Cosmos, and Toronto's overperforming to such a degree that there's even talk of building them a soccer-specific stadium.

The arguments go on even about current numbers, let alone guys like Bojendyk who try to predict the future, like the play that got burned by Hedda Gabler. Now, if MLS teams would trot out their confidentiality agreements, let Bojendyk or whomever in on their actual marketing plans, the models might be even closer to eventual reality. Wide-eyed readers will notice that Bojendyk predicts that Seattle does the impossible, and gains attendance in its second year....provided the Sounders sign Thierry Henry. (Seattle fans in the thread have pointed out that the Sounders have already sold something to the tune of 17,000 season tickets, numbers only Toronto can approach, so maybe Sebastian Le Toux is enough.)

This year's numbers will certainly draw some questionable conclusions, if not put into proper context. "Move the Wizards" and "re-brand the Red Bulls" doesn't make sense in years when they're building their own stadiums, although we can venture guesses as to how well they will do in their new homes. The Galaxy's living high off the hog, but the Beckham bubble has to burst at some point, doesn't it? If there's one thing we've learned from the Houston Dynamo, it's that attendance has naught to do with the future of some teams - for example, even if the Earthquakes build their own stadium, it had better be public transportation accessible, or I don't know the Bay Area nearly as well as I thought. And as far as assuming other Canadian cities will necessarily do as well as Toronto, I'm going to need to see a little more before I put my negligible opinon behind the New Calgary Boomers.

Both Kenn and our fellow posters do this more reliably than I do, but here are my guesses as to what the future holds:

NEW ENGLAND: I'm basing this on nothing, but if one NFL owner can offload an MLS franchise that played in a shared building, so can another. Might not be in Boston, but in some other tiny little New England farming community. (The New Fall River Marksmen? Nah)
COLUMBUS: What did I tell you, put a decent team in there and we're fine.
DC UNITED: Every SSS has a bunch of near misses and false starts before something gets built. This will be no different. (Yeah, but San Jose was a special case.)
CHICAGO: Boy, they could really use an el train extension down there.
TORONTO: Novelty HAS to wear off at some point, right? Hopefully the CSA forces real grass into the place.
NEW YORK: They move into Red Bull Park and live happily ever after.
KANSAS CITY: They move into Gryffindor (or whatever they end up calling it) and eke out a precarious, Kansas City Royals-esque existence. What do you want from me, it's a Chiefs town, take it or leave it. Could use a St. Louis rival, too.
PHILADELPHIA: Really tough from this angle to see this franchise screwing up.

CHIVAS USA: Well, I've told you what I've thought about this many many times now.
LOS ANGELES: Absolutely have to be planning on what to do when BC turns in to AD. (That's "Beckham Circus" and "After David." Jim Murray, eat your heart out.) This town ain't big enough for the two of us.
DALLAS: Right now Frisco makes Foxborough look convenient and centrall-located, but I think the Metroplex is extending northward, so it's possible their fan base will come to them eventually. Might look into not torturing their fans year in and year out in the meantime.
HOUSTON: Just a matter of getting the place built, and eventually they'll find a place. Unless I'm hideously mistaken, I don't see the St. Louis Dynamo happening anymore than Real St. Louis.
COLORADO: Seem to be doing acceptably in the pretty new digs.
REAL SALT LAKE: Okay, every stadium looks good at this stage, but this one looks pretty good. Weird, crazy hijinks with a happy ending.
SAN JOSE: We're still assuming that AEG wasn't motivated to build a stadium, Lew Wolff is, and that was pretty much the problem, right? Man, I hope that's true.
SEATTLE: Okay, ever MLS team looks good at this stage, but what if Qwest is actually the right size for this team? It would be, like, major league.