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Will major league soccer ever come to North Carolina?


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#1 cityboi

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 12:47 PM

There have been a few brief efforts in attracting major league soccer to NC. Winston-Salem had a plan for a downtown soccer stadium and the Triangle was hoping to land a major league team to a soccer complex near Cary outside of Raleigh. Both those efforts have died but there is talk of possibly building a major league soccer stadium between Greensboro and Winston-Salem in "The Heart of the Triad" development. As of today thats only on the development's wish list with no concrete plans are in place. There have been two efforts in attracttin a major league sports stadium between Greensboro and Winston-Salem. The first was in the 1960s with a sports complex that would have included an NFL stadium and a NASCAR track. There are even renderings of the stadium and track. Guilford and Forsyth County residents in a poll surprisingly voted in favor of taxes to pay for the complex but some local leaders didnt see it that way so that plan was squashed. In 1998 there was a plan to build a major league ballpark between the two cities and that plan failed when voters rejected a prepared food tax to pay for the stadium. The ballpark would have been built on the Guilford/Forsyth County line and would have included a Six Flags theme park on the Guilford side. Now maybe the third time is the charm.

The two largest CMSA's in the United States without a major league sports franchise are

1) [Hampton Roads] Norfolk--Virginia Beach--Newport News, VA--NC MSA ( 1.6 million)

2) [Piedmont Triad] Greensboro--Winston-Salem--High Point, NC MSA (1.4 million)

The Triad has one of the fastest growing hispanic populations in the country which is a segment of the population that loves soccer or "futbol"

Major League Soccer is growing is steadily growing in popularity. Will the Piedmont Triad land a major league soccer team? and if so when would it likely happen?

BTW the Triad did at one time have a major league team which was the ABA Carolina Cougars. The team was based in Greensboro but home games were played in Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte. The ABA was the NBA's rival and some former ABA teams such as the Indian Pacers moved on to the NBA when the two leagues merged in the 1970s. In the late 1990s Greensboro was temporary home for the NHL Carolina Hurricanes while the RBC Center was being constructed.

Edited by cityboi, 07 July 2008 - 01:02 PM.


 

#2 suburban george3

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 02:24 PM

With the large latino population that NC has now, it seems we would have a bigger potential audience to draw from. I just did watch the game between DC United and the LA Galaxy and was fairly impressed at the crowds in Washington. (However, there were still empty seats.) The Triad would be a good place to situate a team as it could draw spectators from the Raleigh and Charlotte markets.

The question is, are there individuals/groups in the Triad who could finance such a mammoth undertaking of establishing a major league sports team?

#3 cityboi

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 03:11 PM

With the large latino population that NC has now, it seems we would have a bigger potential audience to draw from. I just did watch the game between DC United and the LA Galaxy and was fairly impressed at the crowds in Washington. (However, there were still empty seats.) The Triad would be a good place to situate a team as it could draw spectators from the Raleigh and Charlotte markets.

The question is, are there individuals/groups in the Triad who could finance such a mammoth undertaking of establishing a major league sports team?


certainly in today's economy Its not possible at this moment. 8 to 10 years from now this could be a real possiblity in my opinion. I would love to see the third big metro in North Carolina crowned with a major league sports franchise and Soccer is very popular in the Triad even at the minor league level. But you asked the key question. Who would be the individuals/groups that would step up to the plate? As far as big companies getting involved, we could see Dell, FedEx or HondaJet seek naming rights for soccer stadium. Local banks such as Winston-Salem based BB&T and maybe even Greensboro based NewBridge Bank could get involved. Other local companies could purchase suites

Maybe the Triad will one day have a major league soccer stadium similar to this one

Posted Image

Edited by cityboi, 07 July 2008 - 03:25 PM.


#4 suburban george3

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 03:16 PM

certainly in today's economy Its not possible at this moment. 8 to 10 years from now this could be a real possiblity in my opinion. I would love to see the third big metro in North Carolina crowned with a major league sports franchise and Soccer is very popular in the Triad even at the minor league level. But you asked the key question. Who would be the individuals/groups that would step up to the plate? As far as big companies getting involved, we could see Dell, FedEx or HondaJet seek naming rights for soccer stadium. Local banks such as Winston-Salem based BB&T and maybe even Greensboro based NewBridge Bank could get involved.


Unfortunately all those companies named are facing major challenges right now; the banks from the credit meltdown, Dell from the economic downturn, and FedEx and HondaJet from spiraling fuel prices. Of course, BB&T did just sponsor the massive soccer park in Advance, just outside of Clemmons on I-40.

#5 cityboi

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 03:32 PM

Unfortunately all those companies named are facing major challenges right now; the banks from the credit meltdown, Dell from the economic downturn, and FedEx and HondaJet from spiraling fuel prices. Of course, BB&T did just sponsor the massive soccer park in Advance, just outside of Clemmons on I-40.


True. But if the economic situation looks much better in 10 years, it could be a different story. With the opening of the FedEx hub next year at PTI Airport, We will see more Dells and HondaJets come to the Triad over the next 10 years.....first we have to get the democrats back in the White House. Thats step one in turning the ecnomic situation around ;)

Edited by cityboi, 07 July 2008 - 03:33 PM.


#6 dkst0426

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 03:36 PM

You don't know how pissed I when I found out that once again, the south (and particularly North Carolina) have been overlooked with regards to MLS expansion.

I fail to understand how the state that has one of the highest percentages of youth involvement (in both rec and club teams); a strong tradition of college-level excellence (including the reigning NCAA Men's champs, let alone the Carolina women's strong tradition); a good fanbase for support of its minor-league teams (Greensboro, Charlotte), a growing minority population, many of whom come from countries where football is highly popular; and was apparently desirable enough to be picked as the training camp headquarters for the US national team leading up to the 2006 World Cup is not deemed good enough to support an MLS team.

As for the stadium issue, if there's one to be built, it can be done over time. Cary has the facilities to host a team and Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, and Greensboro all have the stadiums that could host a team in the meantime.

#7 cityboi

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 03:41 PM

You don't know how pissed I when I found out that once again, the south (and particularly North Carolina) have been overlooked with regards to MLS expansion.

I fail to understand how the state that has one of the highest percentages of youth involvement (in both rec and club teams); a strong tradition of college-level excellence (including the reigning NCAA Men's champs, let alone the Carolina women's strong tradition); a good fanbase for support of its minor-league teams (Greensboro, Charlotte), a growing minority population, many of whom come from countries where football is highly popular; and was apparently desirable enough to be picked as the training camp headquarters for the US national team leading up to the 2006 World Cup is not deemed good enough to support an MLS team.

As for the stadium issue, if there's one to be built, it can be done over time. Cary has the facilities to host a team and Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, and Greensboro all have the stadiums that could host a team in the meantime.


Lets not forget that the NCAA Final Four Soccer Division III final rounds were played in Greensboro. Major League Soccer is a good fit for the Triad for the reasons you mentioned plus the fact that its a franchise easier for the Triad to support because the players dont have sky high salaries like in the NBA or major league baseball. So you wouldnt need as much corporate support. But yea North Carolina is a nobrainer and particularly the Triad because there are no other competing major league sports franchises in the region.

BTW Welcome to the forum :)

Edited by cityboi, 07 July 2008 - 03:49 PM.


#8 dkst0426

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 03:54 PM

Lets not forget that the NCAA Final Four Soccer Championship has been played in Greensboro. Major League Soccer is a good fit for the Triad for the reasons you mentioned plus the fact that its a franchise easier for the Triad to support because the players dont have sky high salaries like in the NBA or major league baseball. So you wouldnt need as much corporate support. But yea North Carolina is a nobrainer and particularly the Triad because there are no other competing major league sports franchises in the region.

BTW Welcome to the forum :)


Thanks for the welcome! :)

Don't forget the Bobcats and Panthers to the south and ACC basketball in the Triad and just due east. Those will definitely pull some fans. That being said, there's no denying that football will be a very attractive proposition for this state, because of its popularity among segments of the population and young people.

The sad fact is that the south tends to get overlooked by the footballing establishment in the US. Why, I'll never know. Atlanta, Birmingham, and Athens all did a great job hosting the Olympics tournament in 1996 and Orlando was a good venue for the World Cup in 1994. However, since then? MLS has pulled teams out of the south and venues in the area rarely get looked at for hosting US matches. If/When the US gets the chance to host the World Cup again, I almost expect the south to get snubbed.

Hopefully, the head honchos over at the MLS front office will realize that they can only snub us for so long.

#9 cityboi

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 05:14 PM

Thanks for the welcome! :)

Don't forget the Bobcats and Panthers to the south and ACC basketball in the Triad and just due east. Those will definitely pull some fans. That being said, there's no denying that football will be a very attractive proposition for this state, because of its popularity among segments of the population and young people.

The sad fact is that the south tends to get overlooked by the footballing establishment in the US. Why, I'll never know. Atlanta, Birmingham, and Athens all did a great job hosting the Olympics tournament in 1996 and Orlando was a good venue for the World Cup in 1994. However, since then? MLS has pulled teams out of the south and venues in the area rarely get looked at for hosting US matches. If/When the US gets the chance to host the World Cup again, I almost expect the south to get snubbed.

Hopefully, the head honchos over at the MLS front office will realize that they can only snub us for so long.


Ironically there are a number of NHL teams in the south which has always been known as a more northern league.

#10 dkst0426

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 08:09 PM

Ironically there are a number of NHL teams in the south which has always been known as a more northern league.

Send some NHL front office thinktank people over to the MLS.

#11 ProjectMaximus

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 09:26 PM

With the large latino population that NC has now, it seems we would have a bigger potential audience to draw from. I just did watch the game between DC United and the LA Galaxy and was fairly impressed at the crowds in Washington. (However, there were still empty seats.) The Triad would be a good place to situate a team as it could draw spectators from the Raleigh and Charlotte markets.

The question is, are there individuals/groups in the Triad who could finance such a mammoth undertaking of establishing a major league sports team?


LOL...i like your enthusiasm but don't knock the crowds in Washington. Of course there are empty seats...they play in RFK stadium!! That place is more than double the capacity of all the soccer-specific stadiums, like the Home Depot Center where the Galaxy and Chivas USA play (57,000 vs 27,000). And almost triple the size of Toyota Park (20,000), home of the Chicago Fire. So let's be fair to one of the sturdiest and flagship franchises in the MLS.

As far as a team coming to NC...I don't see it happening in the immediate future. I think it would be great (I have nothing against the Triad or Charlotte) but the league has its eyes set on a few other worthy candidates that have been preparing their bids for quite some time. And the league is doing things the intelligent way...expanding cautiously and slowly so as not to outpace its potential and, more importantly, dilute the product on the field. As the MLS becomes more and more popular and attracts quality talent in large numbers, then you guys will have a shot. So you should root for good overseas talent to continue their migration to the states, hope that the USSF can keep developing quality players domestically, and also hope the popularity of the current teams continues to grow so that more teams will operate in the black (currently only two franchises are profitable, and three more are expected to be very soon).

If all this happens, then MLS will look to add even more clubs in 5-10 years, and your chances of landing one of those will be much better than wresting one of the two remaining expansion teams from the current frontrunners.

#12 dkst0426

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 09:33 PM

So you should root for good overseas talent to continue their migration to the states

You mean washed-up talent in their early-to-mid-30s who can still run rings around players here? :P

#13 ProjectMaximus

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 09:50 PM

Send some NHL front office thinktank people over to the MLS.



Ehh...actually the NHL isn't the best league to emulate. They expanded beyond their popularity and may have to contract in the coming years if things go bad financially. And of the 8 teams in the south, 6 of them were ranked between 20-30 in average attendance. I'm not scoffing at the league's hopes to increase its presence in the south, nor am I one of the many naysayers who proclaim that hockey doesn't belong here (yes, I'm a southerner) but I do think it's silly to use the NHL's southern expansion as a guideline for success when it has not been successful thus far.

You mean washed-up talent in their early-to-mid-30s who can still run rings around players here? :P


Yes.

#14 The Voice of Reason

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 09:57 AM

I am not going to dog the south here, but it is being "snubbed" because it is in fact the weakest market for professional soccer in the US right now. Untill last year it can be said that the pacific North West has been snubbed as well. this little fact should tell you that this fledgling league is pretty small still and has not yet expanded to cover the entire nation yet.

Now that the Pac West has a team in seattle the SE might have a chance in the next 10 years.

furthermore, it has nothing to do really with anything other than a strong ownership group stepping up to the plate with a plan. Add in vocal local support and you get a team.

If you really want a team organize the local support, attend local lower division games, make some noise, and the investor will materialize I assure you. Look at The Sons of Ben from Philly. This group pretty much made the decision for MLS and its investors.


Another thing, is Hartford-Springfield a CSA? because we have something like 2.2 Million people and no pro team. Not that we are a fit for soccer, but was just wondering.

#15 Lowerdeck

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 08:36 PM

Another thing, is Hartford-Springfield a CSA? because we have something like 2.2 Million people and no pro team. Not that we are a fit for soccer, but was just wondering.



If it wasn't for the Red Bulls (and the Revolution) within two hours drive... Hartford could probably support a MLS team. While you may or may not see it, there is definitely a good amount of love for soccer in this state. It's just too bad everyone's priorities lie in some other state around here.