Easy, but not cheap

Jeff Rusnak has more detail about Barcelona's Miami MLS bid's DNR bracelet. ITTET, basically, with a side of "Dave's not here, man." Interesting read, except for one paragraph where he goes completely off the rails:

Well, no. As long as there are two bidders willing to pay, insisting on the $40 million is the smartest thing MLS could do. Lowering the price to accommodate weaker bids strikes me as ill-advised.

Rusnak seems to be saying that Miami adds so much to the league and will make so much more money in the medium and long-term that it's worth letting them buy in for less. Well, if Miami is such an awesome market, Barcelona should be willing to pay the asking price. Inconveniently, if totally coincidentally, the years after Miami left MLS were the league's most profitable. Seattle and Philadelphia are going to be major successes, and from an attendance point of view everything suggests that any of the remaining bids will be as well. And that's still ITTET.

MLS can make small markets work - the most obvious example is Salt Lake City. Utahns, I don't think I'm talking out of turn when I say that not everyone was optimistic about MLS making it in Salt Lake. Non-traditional sports market, non-traditional soccer market, smaller than God knows how many other media markets, and ask a Knicks fan about Dave Checketts. (Well, okay, NOW Checketts seems awesome, compared to what the Knicks have now. Wasn't the case in 2004, though.) And it worked like a charm. So MLS isn't exactly petrified to play in second-tier markets.

As far as lowering the price because of tight money ITTET, well...y'know, that's actually less of a reason to lower the price. $40 million will come in awfully handy ITTET. Once MLS recovers - and Seattle might be an outlier, but it's coping ITTET better than a lot of leagues - $40 million will seem cheap. And if MLS fails, well, it would have failed if they had let Miami in for $35 million and Montreal in for $30 million. That extra money might prove to be the difference, for all any of us know.

As far as Beckham - an MLS team is a ten year commitment at the very, very least. Twenty is more realistic, if we're talking about what it takes to establish a soccer team as a permanent fixture. If there's a bidder that's saying "Ya mean Beckham might not be here?!", I'm not sure we want that guy in the league.

Any of the candidate cities will work as MLS cities, as far as the fanbases are concerned. That includes Miami - c'mon, we've had to have learned something since 2001. The difference is the strength of the business planning behind the teams. If bidders are screwing up even before an ugly shirt and a stupid name is unveiled, then that's neither MLS' fault nor MLS' problem.

Who was it that said Claure should have just made this bid without Barcelona? Oh, wait, that was everybody? Well, there's always next time.