MLS Owners Support Future Expansion to 28 Clubs

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COLUMBUS, OHIO (Press Release) – Major League Soccer’s Board of Governors met today and announced its support for future expansion to 28 clubs, with a process and timeline to be unveiled at a later date.  The League’s owners also announced their support for the proposed stadium location in Miami for a future expansion team owned by David Beckham and his partners.  In addition, MLS announced six competition and scheduling updates.

MLS’ current expansion plans call for 24 teams by 2020.  Atlanta, Los Angeles and Minnesota will join the league during the next three years, with Miami taking one step closer today to becoming the 24th team.  In addition, MLS has engaged in discussions with multiple markets and potential owners regarding future expansion.

“There is no shortage of demand for MLS expansion teams and we believe the opportunity exists to grow beyond our current plans,” Garber added.  “We will evaluate how to grow the league to 28 teams and establish a process and timeline for future expansion.”

“We are very supportive of Miami Beckham United’s plans to locate their stadium in the City of Miami’s Overtown neighborhood,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber.  “Their vision for a world-class venue within the urban core that is accessible by mass transportation is impressive, and we believe it will be an important part of the continued revitalization of the area.  We look forward to working with David and his partners to finalize plans to bring Major League Soccer to Miami.”

An overview of additional items approved during today’s meetings follow below:

Copa América Centenario Break – MLS will take a two-week break during the 2016 seasons for the Copa América Centenario tournament (June 2 – June 14).

Video Replay Update – The MLS Board of Governors was provided an update on possible real-time video review at today’s meeting and will continue to evaluate a plan for the future.

Decision Day Matches at Same Time – All matches during the final weekend of the 2016 regular season will be played on the same day and in the same time slot.

New Policy for All-Star Players Unable to Compete in Game – If a player is unable to play in the AT&T MLS All-Star Game, that player will be prohibited from playing in his next MLS match.  In the event a player is declared medically fit for his match immediately following the All-Star Game, he will be precluded from playing in such match, but will receive “credit” for playing in such match for bonuses and option triggers.

New Match Postponement Policy – In the event a match is abandoned at any point prior to its conclusion, it will be postponed, rather than cancelled and/or final. In the event the game is abandoned at any point, any remaining time will be completed the following day or as soon as practical.  NOTE:  MLS’ previous policy stated that in the event a match was abandoned in or after the 76th minute (i.e. 75:00 on the official game clock), the result and all statistics will stand.

Hydration Breaks at Lower Threshold – The mandatory threshold for hydration breaks (aka “cooling breaks”) in 2016 will be 82 Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT).  The previous WBGT index was at the threshold of 89.6.  NOTE:  At 82 WBGT, hydration breaks would have occurred in 12 MLS matches during the 2015 season, 10 more than what occurred at 89.6 WGBT.

In addition, Major League Soccer’s owners discussed further investment in club rosters, including utilizing Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) for the 2016 season and beyond.  More details regarding TAM will be announced in the near future.

Major League Soccer’s 20th championship match, MLS Cup, takes place Sunday, Dec. 6 when Columbus Crew SC host the Portland Timbers at 4 pm ET.  MLS Cup will be televised on ESPN, UniMás, TSN, RDS2 and in more than 140 countries and territories


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  • Th league can’t survive with that many teams

  • BleedingRed

    That’s what the critics said when we had ten teams in 2004.

    • HydraHamster

      But no league in the USA survive passed 24 clubs is the point. Sure there was other elements on why the NASL folded, but the ASL (1933-1983) is our longest running league in history and they even folded because of over expansion in the 1980’s. MLS still have problems where 28 clubs is a scary plan. MLS is already losing money in the hundred thousand range and spreading out the players even further would really weaken the clubs quality.

      No US league in history has ever stop expanding before folding. Hopefully that won’t happen to MLS, but only time will tell.

      • johnny99

        If MLS can find prospective owners who have the financial muscle to ride out the tough times, there’s really no ceiling on how large the league can grow.

        One of the problems the (original) NASL had with expansion was the addition of owners who didn’t have deep enough pockets to absorb the losses but still survive and compete. Since the Miami Fusion folded, MLS has been pretty good at only letting the truly fat cats into the club; owners who won’t bat an eye at losses in the tens of millions.

        It’s a big country with plenty of markets that can support an MLS team. Comparisons with other countries aren’t useful, since very few other countries are the size of the USA. Also, this isn’t the NFL, where you need to draw 50K a game and where your payroll is in the 75 million range; there are a lot of mid-size markets that MLS could go to (like Columbus or Portland; maybe Sacramento, Raleigh etc.). In terms of talent, there’s plenty out there, both in the lower American leagues and internationally, so I don’t think dilution of talent is a big issue.

        • Talent is already diluted my friend

          • johnny99

            I disagree.

            If you compare the talent in the league now to what it was in 2000, I think it is as good or better now.

            Over 15 years, MLS has gone from 10 to 20 teams. And you know what, MLS has drawn more fans, gotten more TV exposure, and become more popular by any measure. Assuming your point, that the talent level has been diluted, it is pretty clear that dilution of talent hasn’t hurt the league.

            You can criticize the level of play in MLS (certainly yesterday’s championship game was a good example of a sloppy MLS game), but that criticism has always been there, regardless of how many teams are in the league.

            • HydraHamster

              I disagree. The funny thing about MLS during it’s early years was, that’s when they had the most international success. They won the CONCACAF Champions Cup more than once and even a few CONCACAF-CONMEBOL tournaments (DC United) during the leagues first 6 years. So there is a good argument the forced parity actually weakened the clubs instead of strengthening them.

              The players during the first 6 years of MLS are better than the players who are new in this generation. We had a young Tim Howard, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Altidore (Donovan don’t count since he did not get early development by MLS).

  • Cosmo

    Nice, now we r talking but 32 teams is perfect.
    4 more teams in the east and 4 more in the west.
    West= I like Vegas, Austin, Phoenix and okc. (But it’s going to be sac, San Antonio, San Diego and Vegas)
    East= Indy, Charlotte, Detroit, st.louis

  • Arsenal 10023

    I think they should shoot for 36 teams total and break it into MLS D1 (18 teams) and MLS D3 (18 teams) —and introduce promotion/relegation. They could then tag on USL Pro and make it D3 to make it even more interesting!

    • Arsenal 10023

      Sorry for the typo…meant MLS D2 above.


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