By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
  1. Dan Loney

    Dan Loney BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 10, 2000
    Cincilluminati
    Club:
    Los Angeles Sol
    Country:
    Philippines
    #1 Dan Loney, Nov 30, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017

    Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

    By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
    I don’t think there’s a more important story in American soccer right now than the effort to keep the Crew franchise in Columbus. Or, to put it in 2017-speak, #SaveTheCrew. I assume most of you have already joined that effort in some capacity, or have made an equally considered and informed decision not to, but I would feel remiss if I didn’t link to these:

    Steve Sirk’s Patreon, collecting a number of wonderful Crew fan stories, and Morgan Hughes’ YouTube feed, one of many people who have been hammering at MLS over the Austin fiasco.

    I'm still amazed by the folly of it all. But I had not considered this, from MLS original Dante Washington:

    https://twitter.com/DanteWashington/status/934989622786035712

    So that’s how Garber sold the Austin idea to the other owners – the value of their franchises will go up when other communities fight over them. To me, that sounds completely cockeyed. Other American sports franchises are very valuable, and other American sports franchises threaten to move every twenty minutes or so. But that’s not what makes them valuable, right? Don’t you actually have to become popular first?

    Apparently not. I’ve been remiss on keeping you up to date on other expansion news, but in the past month or so there were decisive votes that have helped the league narrow it down to the following finalists:

    SACRAMENTO: I lied, there has been nothing new here. In fact, I was worried the lack of news meant trouble, but nope. At least THESE Sacramento Republicans are doing well – even with Meg Whitman!

    ….sorry, I heard there was an opening for a new Al Franken-type political humorist, and I wanted to try out my A-list stuff.

    NASHVILLE: In fairness, these guys voted themselves a soccer stadium before Anthony Precourt and Don Garber’s heel turns. On the other hand, I hope the Nashville City Council has a series of Zygi Wilf-size weights handy to throw, just so they’re aware of how far they can trust him. Wilf is such a crummy person even by NFL owner standards that in 2013 he was dinged $85 freaking million for racketeering. And now Nashville can’t wait to ask him to the barn-raising. Maybe Homer Simpson was right about hugging and kissing poisonous snakes.

    DETROIT: Dan Gilbert. I guess Donald Sterling wasn’t available. For some reason the Ford family isn’t listed with the NBA guys (after further review, Whitman isn’t listed in the Sacramento entry, either). It’s possible MLS has had this press release ready for a while, and simply didn’t bother to update it. Sweet summer children that we are, we might have briefly believed that the updated bid’s proposal to share Ford Field with the Lions or the Tigers or whoever (but PROBABLY not Detroit City FC) meant the Detroit MLS bid was moribund. After all, the league’s been pretty clear to places like (to pick a couple of places at random) Nashville, San Diego, St. Louis, and Cincinnati that a soccer-specific stadium is a must-have. We probably ought to stop believing everything we hear from Major League Soccer. We’re lucky they didn’t suggest groundsharing with the Pistons.

    COLUMBUS: The league reached out to the Ohio capital, offering them a position as a last-minute entrant in the expansion race. Early reactions have been mixed.

    CINCINNATI: You’d have thought someone around here would have noticed Crew fans getting a state visit from His Majesty, the Royal Shaft. And you’d have been right! P.G. Sittenfeld, a respected local liberal councilman (and not, as his name would otherwise suggest, a classic mid-twentieth century British humorist), finally busted out the “Wait, why are we trusting these guys?” line. The rest of the City Council, and the Oakley neighborhood council and the Hamilton County Council, finally decided enough was enough, and stood up to the political, financial and fan pressure FC Cincinnati brought to bear on – no, obviously, they folded like beach towels. Just as baby economists will study the Paul Brown Stadium deal, they should also study how FC Cincinnati was able to win over the hearts of what was probably one of the world’s least promising cities for soccer. It helped a lot that the owners were as local as chili spaghetti, although hopefully when it comes time to sell someone is looking over their shoulder at any random out clauses.

    Of course, they’d have to leave the name and history here, because how would “FC” make sense anywhere else?

    AUSTIN: You know how the other locations in our jolly tour of future MLS cities have stadiums? You know what Austin doesn’t have? A place for an MLS team to play.

    The current proposal is to take public park land and, basically, hand it over. Precourt and Richard Suttle, according to an article that looks like fried garbage on my browser but might work for you, I don’t know, I’m not your IT guy, “would like to avoid” an election on whether the city is allowed to do that. Of COURSE there are laws against doing it without an election. Precourt would like to have a site picked by January 1, and an agreement with the City of Austin by next summer.

    I assume Team Beckham hasn’t stopped laughing yet. At least San Diego and St. Louis had their fates decided quickly.

    And this is the main reason why I think Dante Washington’s theory isn’t 100% true. This is like a weird supervillain plot that we’re seeing step by step from the supervillain’s point of view. Sure, you found the perfect volcano, but there are zoning laws against putting a supervillain lair within a government-designated environmentally sensitive area, and don’t even bring up getting a permit for a missile silo. Meanwhile Jaws keeps putting off his orthodontist appointment, and James Bond is busy screwing around with Sheriff Pepper in Thailand – he doesn’t even know you exist yet. Yeah, Don Garber is a hell of a villain, but he’s no Christopher Lee. And Anthony Precourt for damn sure isn’t Hervé Villechaize.

    (On This Site In 2017 Dan Loney Built His “Man With The Golden Gun” Metaphor. Marred only by the fact that Jaws did not debut until “The Spy Who Loved Me,” this legendary metaphor survived several North Korean (cont. on other side))

    Sorry for that.

    I haven’t wanted to bore you with What The Crew Leaving Would Mean To Me, because, ain’t a Crew fan. And I really think the business reasons against the Crew move are overwhelming.

    I wasn’t going to dwell on this, but…okay, read this. If you want, you probably don’t. It’s a primer on why the Austin Posse were ahead of their time. And it just BUGS me. It’s from the non-astroturf wing of Austin soccer supporters, and it’s called “What We Believe.”

    Had this linked to “We’re nihilists, Lebowski! We believe in nothing!”, well, then, I’d probably still be upset about the Crew moving, but I’d at least know they were finding a good home.

    My reaction – and I’m aware I’m not the target audience – boils down to “That is, I think I disagree.” But the Austin supporters are depressingly accurate in one respect. What did we think this was, anyway? It’s a business. Fun is short for fungible. If teams couldn’t move, we’d have a lot of teams in Ur of the Chaldees, wouldn’t we?

    I gave up on the National Football League when the original Cleveland Browns left for Baltimore, after thirty-five years of sellouts. What would become the Ravens were welcomed by the very same fans who for over a decade had cursed the day the Colts left for Indiana. The greed of the owners and the hypocrisy of the fans just crushed me.

    I wasn’t even a Browns fan. But I could take a hint. Fans meant nothing, and, based on how quickly angry ex-Colts fans become enthusiastic not-Browns fans, deserved nothing.

    Major League Soccer had begun by that point, and one thing you could say for it, it wasn’t going to be in a position to turn down thirty-five years of sellouts any time soon!

    It seemed risky to form an attachment to MLS and (in my case) the Galaxy, for the exact opposite reason the NFL offered. When a team moved, maybe a new one comes back, maybe not. When a soccer team shut down, though, it shut down for good. (This was the late 1990’s, before the San Jose Earthquakes kicked off the NASL revival craze.) But it was also safe. If a team or league folded, it wasn’t because we weren’t good enough fans. There just weren’t enough of us.

    So worrying about whether MLS owners would be tempted by sexy deals from unwise civic leaders – the idea seemed ludicrous. At least substandard cases could be made that a baseball or football team provides economic benefit that would justify public spending. But an MLS team? Get out of town.

    I also thought that, for the most part, civic leaders had wised up. Even if MLS achieved the kind of stroke that the NFL or Major League Baseball could bring to bear – local economies had taken a beating over the past decade or so. Even if MLS brought the gravy, there weren’t any more trains.

    So when Austin supporters chide Save The Crew types for naiveté, they have a strong, if brutal, point. Sure, we knew something like this could happen. But it seemed years and years away. An MLS owner taking a viable team away, like Art Modell took the Browns? That’s Future Dan’s problem!

    Well, we’re living in the future. Still no flying cars.

    However, when God closes a door, he opens a hole in the roof. In the interests of equal time, allow me to link to the MLSAustin2019 blog. I think they make many interesting points worth serious debate.
     

Comments

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Dan Loney, Nov 30, 2017.

    1. Ch(Elsey)

      Ch(Elsey) Member+

      Columbus Crew
      United States
      May 2, 2003
      Green, Ohio
      Club:
      Columbus Crew
      Country:
      United States

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      Great plug to Sirk's Patreon.

      Sign the #SaveTheCrew Letter as well!
       
      CrewV Man, DAFCrew and Robbo Crewfan repped this.
    2. DAFCrew

      DAFCrew Member+

      Feb 27, 2007
      Terre Haute, Indiana
      Club:
      Columbus Crew

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      My sincere thanks to you for writing this, Dan. Nicely done.
       
      TOAzer repped this.
    3. (They call him) RMc

      Jun 1, 2013
      Club:
      Celtic FC

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      If that's your A-list material, son, you'd better hold on to your job at the car wash.
       
      USRufnex repped this.
    4. MM66

      MM66 Member

      Mar 9, 2009
      Brookline, MA
      Club:
      Real Madrid

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      To quote the great philosopher Spicoli, "What Jefferson was saying was, 'Hey, you know, we left this England place 'cause it was bogus; so if we don't get some cool rules ourselves - pronto - we'll just be bogus too!' "

      The battle that's being fought is over whether MLS is going to be like all the other Big Four sports, where owners gonna own, or if it can be a league that recognizes fans have a certain ownership of their teams. I don't think MLS being just like all the others is going to sit well with soccer fans.
       
      Dan Loney repped this.
    5. Adiaga_2

      Adiaga_2 Member

      Aug 30, 2007
      St. Louis
      Club:
      Kansas City Wizards
      Country:
      United States

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      After enjoying your "supervillain-evil-hidden-lair" metaphor, it makes me really want any future team in Austin to be named the "Austin Powers."
       
    6. SetPeace

      SetPeace Member+

      Jun 22, 2004
      SC Illinois
      Club:
      Torquay United
      Country:
      United States

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      I disagree with you to some extent, MM66. Fans across the league aren't going to be overly concerned about franchise re-location unless it's their particular team that's under consideration for being poached. Maybe things will be different with MLS fans over the expected demise of Columbus, but fans in Austin will turn out to support this team, and I can't see soccer fans in other cities boycotting their teams' home games with Austin to show their displeasure.

      Winning cures a lot of ills in any sport. The Chargers got off to a rough start this season, and games at Carson were either poorly attended or had as many fans in the stands rooting against the home team. Now that they've started to win and gotten into the thick of an unexpected divisional race, I think the local L.A. fans will warm up to the Chargers (at least, more so now than when the season started).

      Of local interest to me is a lawsuit that's been filed by the St. Louis Regional Sports Commission against the NFL and its teams over breaches of promise on how the Rams move back to Los Angeles was handled. I don't know what the chances of success are on this suit, but if successful, it might provide a template for cities in all sports that are threatened with a franchise loss due to greedy owners looking for that greener pasture on the other side of the fence.

      It is particularly galling when owners are dismissive of fans and local governments that are willing to do whatever they can to appease these corporate pimps with their requests. It's a lot easier for them to pack up and leave when they don't get what they want, but if a place is willing to help out and that's not good enough, well, I have little sympathy for the flak the owners get.
       
    7. TOAzer

      TOAzer Member

      May 29, 2016
      Club:
      New England Revolution

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      Austin will support it's team with about the same proportion of the surrounding population as Houston and Dallas have achieved. If you think that's All A OK down Texas Way then Texas is a much more small minded state than it used to be.
       
    8. scott47a

      scott47a Member+

      Feb 6, 2007
      Austin, Texas
      Club:
      Seattle Sounders
      Country:
      United States

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      This is nonsense. In what way is Austin at all like Dallas or Houston? I don't think you know what you are talking about.
       
    9. TOAzer

      TOAzer Member

      May 29, 2016
      Club:
      New England Revolution

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      You know, Scott, if you look over your post you are just saying this: "I don't think that what applies to Dallas or Houston will apply to Austin. I think Austin will have a greater percentage of its population willing to act on interest in the sport than holds for Houston or Dallas. A percentage large enough to make Austin a popular success in the way those others have not been. ". Ok, that's possible....so then what is your argument? Because huffing and puffing like the very model of a modern major general is not an argument.
      For example, yes, there is a significant Hispanic population in the Austin area. And it has been suggested on these threads that's the kick in the special sauce that would be Austin's success. Hmmmm, setting aside reasonable doubt as to the claim "more hispanics implies greater support", I would point out that Houston is now a dominantly hispanic city, and the Dallas-Fort Worth area ain't far behind. Yet both teams struggle to sustain a decent attendance.
      For example, the argument has been made that Austin has a significant number of college students [duh] and a young professional corps attached to the enterprises attracted by what UT offers. These, presumably, translate into the kind of success you wouldn't find in Houston or the Dallas area. But, that's hooey. Houston, for example, has many enterprises attracted by the great medical centers, by Rice, by U.Houston, by the financial and commercial center it is. It is flush with college students and young urban professionals. Yet the percentages attracted to the Dynamo are thin. It is a similar situation for FC Dallas.
      For example, perhaps you believe that the culture of the sport has deeper roots in the Austin area? That there is more homegrown affinity for the game? Then you ignore the long and rich enjoyment of the sport around Houston and Dallas, you ignore the popularity of youth and amateur leagues around those cities. There has been nothing in Austin to match it. Yet the MLS teams struggle there...
      So, what is your argument as to what Austin's population has as to make it so differently enamored of the sport from the populations of its fellow Texas cities of Houston or Dallas? Heck, of San Antonio?
      Or is it that you believe that the ownership or leadership of such a franchise has shown qualities of engaging and inspiring the citizenry in ways that qualitatively surpass the leadership and ownership of the Dynamo or FC Dallas? Because the evidence is powerful that Frat Tony P. is one to die for, eh?

      Of course, Scott47a, it was tempting to answer you by simply paying homage to you. Something like: "This is nonsense. In what Universe does Austin literally have nothing in common with Houston or Dallas? I don't think you know what you are talking about.". But that style is not mine, it's yours. I will just say that I look forward to your arguments as to why and how Austin will succeed in ways that Houston and Dallas have not, and San Antonio could not.
       
      MM66 repped this.
    10. MM66

      MM66 Member

      Mar 9, 2009
      Brookline, MA
      Club:
      Real Madrid

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      I'd think potential Austin fans would be turned off by a repugnant liar of an owner and a bald-faced scam to steal another city's team.
       
      Q*bert Jones III repped this.
    11. kgilbert78

      kgilbert78 Member+

      Dec 28, 2006
      Cowlumbus, OH
      Club:
      Borussia Mönchengladbach
      Country:
      United States

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      Didn't stop Baltimore from embracing the Scum Sucking Scavenger Birds (i.e., Ravens)--and they'd had it done to them with the Colts.
       
    12. MM66

      MM66 Member

      Mar 9, 2009
      Brookline, MA
      Club:
      Real Madrid

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      Different sport. Maybe soccer fans will prove just as reptilian as fans in other U.S. sports, but the people I know aren't. A big part of the attraction of soccer is it's not like the others.

      And Austin wears its "weird" on its sleeve. So fratboy scumbag owner rips a team away from a city that's supported it since the dawn of the league and Austin's going to reward him? Maybe, but if enough people there truly are wired differently I can see it becoming a badge of honor that you never go see that team.
       
    13. scott47a

      scott47a Member+

      Feb 6, 2007
      Austin, Texas
      Club:
      Seattle Sounders
      Country:
      United States

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      A few thoughts:
      Nearly 30 percent of Austin residents are between ages 21 and 34, and 44 percent are between 21-44. Both of those numbers are higher than Dallas and Houston, which trend slightly older despite also having more children.

      The per capita and household median incomes are both higher in Austin than in Dallas or Houston. It is true that some Dallas and Houston suburbs are very wealthy, but that's not the population that would live within walking distance of the stadium.

      47 percent of the Austin population has at least an associates degree, compared to 34 percent in Dallas and 33 percent in Houston.

      Basically what I'm trying to do here is paint a picture of the average Austinite - who they are and how they live - that is different than the rest of Texas, including San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas. Houston and Dallas are gigantic megalopolises with people spread as far as you can see in every direction with massive freeways and a suburban lifestyle. Austin is a vibrant city with people flocking to it from all over the country to be part of its city music and food scene. They are very different places with very different people living there.

      Assuming the experience in one Texas city will be the same as in the others is a mistake.

      And just to be clear, I don't think the Crew should move to Austin.
       
    14. Boloni86

      Boloni86 Member+

      Jun 7, 2000
      Baltimore
      Club:
      DC United
      Country:
      Gibraltar

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      It most definitely is a different sport. It's the only major league in the US that doesn't capture the majority of the fans of that sport. Most soccer fans in the US are not MLS fans. MLS has always been battling against Premier League, Liga MX and Champions League as much if not more than other American leagues.

      This is why this sort of behavior will play out differently in the soccer community. Everyone can make the contrast that "at least in league/country X they don't relocate teams". International soccer is as accessible today as ever. I have access to every Bundesliga match, every Premier League match, every UEFA CL/EL match, every major international tournament, 75% of La Liga and Liga MX and 50% of Serie A for a fairly small price.

      Personally I'll be leaving MLS the moment the Crew is moved. I'm a '96er and my perspective is different compared to an Atlanta fan for example. With that said, I think the league can and probably will relocate the Crew unscathed. But once you open that pandora's box, you're not going to close it easily. It's not implausible to see it happen again relatively soon. I'd be watching my back if I was a Galaxy or Red Bull fan. Having two teams in a major city is cute, but not absolutely necessary. Salt Lake should watch its back. San Jose too. These are not "must have" franchises for the league. When you look further into the future like 20+ years, who's to say that a market like Kansas City doesn't go into the crosshairs? One owner passes on, a new owner comes along, the stadium gets old and not sexy enough for MLS 7.0 or whatever ... So this will become a never ending cycle. Someone always has to be below average, and someone always will be in last place in "business metrics".

      From there it's everyone's personal choice as to how long they want to stay on the ride. For me the decision is very simple. It's one club, once city. Operating a franchise model doesn't necessarily have to cancel out that concept. MLS is consciously choosing to turn its back on soccer traditions and follow NFL/NBA/NHL traditions instead. Well, that's not what I signed up for. If I wanted NFL traditions, I would have been an NFL fan.
       
      Adrian and MM66 repped this.
    15. POdinCowtown

      POdinCowtown Moderator
      Staff Member

      Jan 15, 2002
      Columbus

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      With the recent discovery of Ohio anti-Modell law, I'd guess the team is more likely to stay in Columbus than move. Preferably with new ownership.
       
      Adrian repped this.
    16. MM66

      MM66 Member

      Mar 9, 2009
      Brookline, MA
      Club:
      Real Madrid

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      I'm of the same mind as you. It's not even my team, but if MLS goes this route, I'm out. Like you said, we can get soccer from a lot of other sources. That includes live soccer.
       
    17. The Franchise

      The Franchise Member+

      Nov 13, 2014
      Bakersfield, CA
      Club:
      Real Salt Lake
      Country:
      United States

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      Having two teams in NY and LA is more or less necessary in the television age. The concerns some on BS have about the Galaxy in particular are odd. The team is valuable (topping the league in 2016), has a good facility, and has committed ownership. And the Red Bulls have had steady attendance growth with another team in the area, actually have the great soccer stadium in the area, and are more valuable than most teams in the league, especially the other early teams. San Jose has one of the largest markets to itself, and if Sacramento gets admitted, there won't be another in northern California.

      There are teams apart from Columbus that have cause for concern if they're sold or when stadium leases near their end, though. Denver is the smallest market with teams from each major league and most, including the Rapids, have low attendance for their leagues and an owner who won't care if a buyer intends to move them. KC and RSL are in areas the size of Columbus, and both had been rumored to move in the past, so while they are currently quite secure things could change at some point. Vancouver isn't much larger, and if there's strain at some point with the CSA, they might see greener pastures elsewhere. Maybe Montreal, in extreme cases. Others vary between very safe and safe enough, that if a team moved for some odd reason, they would be replaced shortly.
       
    18. NicktheGreek

      NicktheGreek Member+

      Feb 15, 2001

      Crew and MLS Expansion - Future Shock

      By Dan Loney on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:41 PM
      Wish we had a soccer writer of your caliber at the WAPO.
       

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