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Is there an “out” for Chivas USA in Sacramento?

Aug 21, 2013, 3:16 PM EDT

Sacramento 2

“Expansion interest” in MLS, always a swell topic worthy of discussion, can usually be categorized in one of three ways:

There are what I call the “real estate dandies.” That’s where someone who needs to fill dates in a new behemoth stadium says, “MLS? Uh, yeah … let’s get us one of them soccer teams in here. How many dates a year does that cover?”

Clearly, MLS needs that like it needs a good deal on size 4 soccer balls.

Next, there are serious soccer guys who have grand designs, men or women who dote on the game and would love to add to the professional, domestic soccer community – but may not have enough financial weight to get there. That’s what we saw previously in St. Louis, where the passionate, sharp effort petered out for lack of high-level financing. (They were rich guys, just not mega-rich types MLS now prefers.)

And then we have serious expansion interest from groups that have the will and the ways. We see that right now in Orlando, and David Beckham’s expansion initiative appears to be coalescing into an increasingly serious player.

In all honesty, we don’t know enough yet about the burgeoning Sacramento efforts, other than that the region appears bullish on the idea, from the soccer community to local business leaders and even to the local press. That’s always a great place to start.

(Oh, by the way, cool bridge, guys! We wanted to show everyone a picture of it.)

And there is certainly some innovative thinking going on. This story from the Sacramento Press suggests that Sacramento abandons the idea of gaining an expansion team for now – and focusses on buying Chivas USA instead.

(MORE: Never a dull moment for Chivas USA and its owner)

From a standpoint of dollars, it makes perfect sense. The logic is that purchasing the mess of a franchise that is Chivas USA would be roughly equal to the going rate for expansion fees. The difference: No waiting around. You could probably get Chivas USA as soon an adequate venue was up and running, even a temporary one.

And while it would be sad for the small-but-loyal core of Chivas USA supporters, most MLS fans would love to see the Goats in a better place, literally as well as figuratively.


  1. Shane - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    But all of our professionals would have to go to Sacramento for away games. Meh. Dealkiller.

    • funsunrunning - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:04 PM

      Dumb comment. Like players would rather go to columbus than sacramento, nope!!!!!

  2. hildezero - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Phoenix is better than Sacramento.

  3. rphillish - Aug 21, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    We really should just scrap the whole operation, especially if Chivas wants to continue being a mess. If they insist on staying Mexico’s team in MLS, why not move them down to San Diego? Only location that makes sense to me.

    • mdac1012 - Aug 21, 2013 at 6:44 PM

      Are they even getting support from the Mexican population? There are a lot more people of Mexican decent in the L.A. area then go to the games now. I don’t think moving to S.D. is going to help much.

      You can’t market yourself to one segment of the population and expect to succeed. I think a lot of people also see a person who is Hispanic and automatically classify them as Mexican. If your from South America, you have as about as much reason to support Chivas USA as someone from Canada.

      I think Chivas USA franchise could succeed, but it needs to be torn down and re-built, starting with a re-branding of the name and a new direction by management.

      • lyleoross - Aug 22, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        The truth is that it’s a Latin league with growing support in the non-Latin population.

        Houston is a classic example where there is a die hard Latin base that’s been with the Dynamo since they moved here, and bit by bit the support has spread.

        Any city that has a support base will succeed right now. That’s because the sport is hot and growing and you’ve got the WC coming. Awareness and popularity is just going to grow. Sacramento, in the middle of a huge agricultural region, is going to have a Latin base that might even be larger than that of the Kings. Add in the high education end of soccer fans who are there for the government and high tech jobs, and you’ve got a great mix. I’d think it might do better than some cities mentioned here including SD. As pointed out, your fans there are going to be looking across the border. I suspect the more conservative population there might be more interested in the more conservative sports, baseball, football etc. And of course, there’s more competition for your attendance dollars.

      • babatundew - Aug 22, 2013 at 7:58 PM

        I agree. Especially when you pick a specific team in Mexico to name your team by- Chivas Guadalajara. Did they expect the Club America, Cruz Azul, Toluca, etc. fans in LA to support Chivas USA?…Poor marketing strategy by the MLS

        …and similar to this New York City FC could fail because of a similar reason since they are owned by Manchester City- All the Manchester United, Chel$ea, Arsenal, etc. fans who follow the MLS would probably prefer to support the Red Bulls.

      • funsunrunning - Aug 24, 2013 at 6:10 PM

        Ok, I live in San Diego. “Lyleross” no one is going across the border for soccer. None of my co workers or team members in my local league have ever wanted to cross the border to go watch any mexican team. Tijuana is a dump at best, with a horrible stadium. I’ve made the 2 hour and 15 minute drive a few times to go see the galaxy play, but that is it. SD Needs and will get a team, We only have 2 major sports in SD for the 8th largest city in the US, we could easily sell out a 20k stadium every week for MLS. And no one is driving to another country to watch soccer no better than ours. That is just a dumb comment!!!! I do believe Scaramento can do very well with a mls franchise though, take away the name chivas, and get rid of vergara the owner and make them the sacramento gold and start all over. I’m sure it would succeed

  4. talgrath - Aug 21, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Sacramento ain’t gonna happen, sorry. Sacramento can barely keep the Kings (their lone professional sports franchise, an NBA team) in town, I don’t see funding for a new stadium coming from a city that is already talking about building a new arena for an NBA team.

    • lyleoross - Aug 22, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      Comparing an NBA franchise to an MLS franchise, in terms of cost, maintenance etc. might be a mistake.

      • talgrath - Aug 22, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        Admittedly, the cost of acquiring the franchise is much smaller, but take a look at DC’s new stadium, some $300 million. No matter what, stadiums of any size require sizeable purchases of land, the closer you are to being in the city the higher the cost. Now, I doubt a stadium in Sacramento for soccer would cost $300 million, but I would expect the costs to hover around $200 million, all told. BBVA (Houston’s new home) cost approximately $95 million to construct, for reference, but the land was given to them for free as far as I can find (in part because it isn’t near downtown Houston), add in the land I would guess at least $110 million. Sacramento is a much pricier area than Houston, and I doubt that nearby land could be acquired for free given the speculative nature of land purchases in the area.

      • funsunrunning - Aug 24, 2013 at 6:12 PM

        NBA is way more expensive and Sacramento is one of the more affordable areas of California

  5. overtherepermanently - Aug 21, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    can i get an “amen!?”

  6. funsunrunning - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    San Diego Would be the # 1 choice here but not necessarily for Chivas, preferrably a brand new franchise. How they don’t have MLS in the 8th largest US city in phenomenal year round weather, which is considered soccer city is a crime, Let’s go San Diego. Phoenix would be 2nd ( see #1), Minneapolis would be 3rd. 4th would be San Antonio, Great stadium already and well supported, they were getting regular crowds of over 12k and now they play at toyota field which currently seats 8k but is expandable, and it’s in the 6th largest city in the US with a huge latino population, San Antonio is a recipe for success but yet they cater to San Antonio and not to mexicans only like chivas. Lastly, I’m pulling for St louis, but will that entire metro area support soccer, thats what comes with smaller big cities, ala orlando as well.
    Sacramento And Tampa Bay would be my 5th and 6th choice for getting a new or transferred MLS franchise, Tampa Bay has a great organization already in the rowdies and pulling in 12k crowds vs the cosmos, I went down there, the atmosphere was as good as any mls team. And Sacramento would really support soccer, Cali has great weather, they wanna support outdoor sports teams there, not dome teams. I just think in the long run, that area of Cali (Sacramento) and being in a bigger city, lets face it, Orlando is a small city will be more beneficial for the MLS in the future. Although I’d eventually like the MLS to spread to Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Detroit and Charlotte and or raleigh

    • oldmaroon - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:40 AM

      Phoenix is an awful spot for an MLS team. It’s already oversaturated with 4 pro teams for only the 12th biggest TV market. NHL is hanging by a thread in Glendale, but they are the odd man out in this town. Would absolutely need a domed stadium to play in the brutally hot summer months (most summer days hover between 108 to 115 degrees). Phoenix has two, but MLS overlaps both baseball (Chase Field) and football (UoP), so there’s no place to call home, and no billionaire to build his own soccer playground. It hurts. I’d love to have an MLS team. But Phoenix will never be an option.

  7. mikeevergreen - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    San Diego? Forget it. Soccer fans there just go across the border to watch America’s entry in Liga MX, Club Tijuana.

    • funsunrunning - Aug 24, 2013 at 4:15 AM

      I live in San Diego. You must have downs syndrome Mikeevergreen!!!! Trust me, no one ever talks about tijuana or cares to go to their soccer games. Their stadium would be condemned if it was in the US, it’s a walking lawsuit of twisted broken metal. San Diego would be a great place for MLS, and probably the best market for it in the US

  8. jackalope78 - Aug 22, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Not only is Chivas USA a horrible team, they are a black spot on the reputation of the MLS. Blatant racism shouldn’t be tolerated. Let someone buy the team, move it and rebrand it. Maybe then they will start attracting supporters instead of just bad press.

  9. pstevenson1082 - Aug 24, 2013 at 3:59 AM

    Step one…. Buy out Chivas USA

    Step two….. Relocate the team to either St. Louis(who should already have a team) or Orlando/Miami(Beckham’s team)


    • funsunrunning - Aug 24, 2013 at 4:17 AM

      Id day San Diego deserves a MLS Franchise but Chivas needs to be moved far away outside of cali and renamed and rebranded, San Antonio, St Louis and Miami all sounds like decent propositions

  10. funsunrunning - Aug 24, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    the MLS is doing well, but they need to act on Chivas. It’s really bad. 7k fans at the last game, Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Ny Cosmos are pulling more fans than this each game. I think the future of top flight soccer in americas looks great, but don’t drag it down or turn off potential new fans with the Chivas Situation. Time to step in and do somethign about this franchise and get it bought out and moved. I don’t think keeping it in LA, San Diego or Fresno are the answers those cities are somewhat too close in proximity of the initial problem.
    IT has to be moved far enough away for a completely new fan base and change its team name and be completely rebranded. Sacramento, Phoenix, San Antonio, Miami, Las Vegas and if someone steps up with the funding then send them to St Louis

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