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Owners of NBA’s Sacramento Kings interested in Republic. MLS next?

Aug 4, 2014, 9:18 AM EDT

Sacramento 2

Sacramento could be about to arrive on the soccer map in North America, in a very big way.

According to reports from FOX40 in Sacramento, the ownership group of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings are lining up a bid to buy the city’s USL PRO outfit and have plans to enter Major League Soccer already in motion.

The Sacramento Republic, who began play in 2014, are continuing to attract average crowds of over 13,000 in their inaugural season and sold out their former home stadium on three occasions, as more than 20,000 fans crammed into Hughes Stadium. They now play at Booney Field, which has a reduced capacity of 8,000, but fans of the Republic continue to pour onto the terraces as they smashed the USL’s previous attendance record held by incoming MLS franchise Orlando City.

Those figures point towards one thing: a hot soccer market in Sacramento.

Apparently Kings President Chris Granger has traveled to Seattle this week to meet up with Major League Soccer reps in order to chat about getting Sacramento into MLS. More details from the report suggest that Sacramento are keen to strike a deal to arrive in MLS as soon as possible as the Mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, will also accompany Granger to meet MLS reps.

Sacramento Republic’s President, Warren Smith, has stated many times that bringing MLS to California’s capital by 2016 was his goal. If the Kings ownership group gets in on this, plus plans for a 20,000 seater stadium downtown continue to develop, it’s not out of the question to see Sacramento arrive alongside Atlanta in 2017 and possibly before Miami into North America’s top-flight. A hefty expansion fee is likely, as $100 million plus change could be what a new expansion franchise is expected to pay in the current market.

Keep an eye on Northern California, something special is happening in Sacramento and the Kings want in. Should MLS jump at the chance to have Sacramento as their latest expansion franchise?

  1. ballsoharduniversity52 - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    Definitely! More teams; more support is good for the league. Keep booming!

    • scoochpooch - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:50 AM

      Yes, but when does the law of diminishing returns kick in here?
      At this current pace, it looks like MLS will reach 40 teams in no time.
      And only in 1 Tier with no relegation, that doesn’t seem like a great idea to me.

      • wandmdave - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:43 AM

        We are a country large enough to handle several tiers of 40 teams with enough fan interest. Why must we shoe horn MLS into a model built for countries the size of our medium sized states?

      • scoochpooch - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:18 PM

        I get that but the MLS doesn’t have the talent to populate 40 teams, let alone 160 teams.
        The NBA and MLB have the best players in the world and they don’t have enough talent to field 30 good teams, how could MLS do so without taking every player from SA and Europe?

      • Sgc - Aug 4, 2014 at 8:24 PM

        Talent isn’t really the problem–talent is determined by the salary cap, which is determined by league revenues. So if the new teams kept drawing strong, they end up adding more talent to the league.

        But WINNING is a zero-sum game, and the question is how you draw while never finishing above, let’s say, 12th place for 10 years in a row?

  2. troy2 - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    They should just buy the Chivas franchise and move it to Sacramento.

    • mdac1012 - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      I agree, that would be the thing that makes the most sense but then MLS and the owners don’t get their big franchise fee payout. Also, Garber seems committed to keeping two teams in L.A. for some reason.

      • drewvt6 - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        ONE team in LA that was at one point the creme de la creme of the league can’t draw media attention in LA. Compared to the other sports teams in town the Galaxy get no coverage. When you consider the fact that the Galaxy outdraw the Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Ducks and how much more popular soccer is in LA than is hockey it’s really rather sad. In my mind it comes down to LA hasn’t really embraced Major League Soccer as its own, so it makes zero sense to continue with two teams.

      • Sgc - Aug 4, 2014 at 8:27 PM

        I’m honestly not sure it makes much difference–you could sell Chivas now for $60 million (that’s what the league is asking), which is only about $10 million less than an expansion franchise would cost. Then you can expand later to put a 2nd team in LA. I think LA can absolutely support two teams (for the first few years of Chivas’s existence, it actually did), it’s just that Chivas was run so badly that they couldn’t get any of the potential market.

  3. patriotsdefense - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    In My Opinion, MLS should grow to 40 cities. MLS A would form the top division with 20 teams, MLS B would form the bottom division with 20 teams.

    Obviously not something that can happen today or even tomorrow. Regulation and regulating the bad teams down and the good teams up should be the long long term goal for MLS. Like 2040-2050 target range.

    • scoochpooch - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      Two tiers would be key and maybe the time range of 25-30 years works but currently the MLS doesn’t have the talent to populate 40 teams.
      In its current state, The NBA and MLB have the best players in the world and they don’t have enough talent to field 30 good teams, how could MLS do so without taking every player from SA and Europe?

      • patriotsdefense - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        completely agree that now is impossible due to the lack of talent, as stated above not something for today or even tomorrow. Long long term. 2040-2050 maybe target range.

        Even then, 40 teams is a lot as you pointed out. Maybe 30 split 15-15 is better. Or 35 teams split 20-15.

      • kirielson - Aug 4, 2014 at 5:15 PM

        NBA is artificially diluted. If people could play at 18 you may get a better sense of it. MLB is because it’s not as popular.

        Soccer pretty much has the world as its talent pool, the question is the money.

    • sw19womble - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      Have promotion and relegation to and from the NASL. The grass roots structure is already there.
      Of course, that foregos any of those sweet, sweet short-term expansion fees, but would build a strong league, with interest for fans at both ends of the table.
      Until your team has been in a last-ditch final-day relegation battle, then you haven’t really experienced football at its most nerve-jangling (and ecstatic/soul-destroying).

      Of course, that would mean no more ‘tanking’ or the psychological band-aid of a ‘rebuilding year’. And it will show if a city (like LA or NY) could truly support two or more soccer teams in the top flight – whilst also creating hotbeds of soccer in ‘grassroots’ smaller markets.

      And that’s where MLS will survive long-term.

  4. granadafan - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    40 teams is a bad idea for a sport trying to crack the top 4 sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL). Not even these leagues with loads of support have that many teams. The more teams, the more diluted the product is. Keep the demand high. Soccer’s not that popular…. yet.

  5. jdfsquared - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    I’m sorry, but why does MLS need relegation? Is there something so different about soccer economics that for some reason this sport needs relegation to be relevant and interesting, and the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL don’t?? What’s the difference between being MLB (with several minor leagues and no relegation) and MLS? Just because it’s done that way everywhere else is not a good enough reason. Someone explain it to me, because I just don’t buy it.

  6. Vnice - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    I’d like to see two almost separate divisions for MLS, like AL and NL in baseball. I think it would be great.

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