Friday, September 01, 2006

Wizards Sale

With the sale of Kansas City to Cerner and friends, that means MLS now has nine different owners for its 13 teams. Pretty amazing considering that after contraction, there were three owners for ten teams.

The goal is for each owner to have only one team. Of AEG/Anschutz's four teams, it's obvious that LA is the one they want to keep. DC was supposed to have been sold already, and they've talked about selling Houston. So I would guess those would be the next two teams sold, and that Chicago is their "second" team. HSG/Hunt now only owns Columbus and Dallas. He's built stadiums for both markets, but it seems pretty obvious that Dallas will be the team that he keeps. He was raised there and has the history with the AFL's Texans and the NASL's Tornado. Plus, I believe he only owns 51% of the Crew (local investors own the rest).

As I've said before, I consider the story of MLS to be in three parts. We are in the second phase now, which is becoming profitable. The first was survival, and the third will be the rise of the league when profitability happens.

It's a great time to be a Wizards fan. The stadium in Overland Park seems to be close to a done deal, and the team's future is set. Despite all the setbacks, every MLS team will play in an SSS eventually. They make profitability possible. With the ESPN and Adidas deals and the World Cup ratings success, more and more people are realizing the potential that soccer has in this country. As the article about the KC investors says, they don't even know much about the sport.

Every day like yesterday means that MLS is one step closer to the start of that third phase and the promised land of becoming a major sport in this country (We're still probably two years away). I can't wait for that Sports Illustrated cover 5-10 years from now where they wonder how MLS got so big without anyone noticing.

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