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MichaelQReilly

Major League Soccer

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A little background: I'm not currently a fan of the MLS. I have, however, been a fan of the EPL for sometime now. With the growth of soccer in this country I've wanted to pick an MLS team to support. The thing is, my most natural choice, the New York Redbulls, are unappealing to me because they are building a new stadium in suburban New Jersey, and I want to root for a city team. My other potential choice, the New England Revs, I don't want to support because I've never been able to stomach the patronizing big-brother attitude that the Boston area has toward the rest of New England. (As an aside, I don't know how those in Providence manage to stand it being that much closer to Boston.)

As a result of this, I was doing some reading about the MLS on wikipedia concerning potential expansion locations like Philly or a second NY team. Apparently, some of MLS's biggest factors in chosing where to put expansion teams are having dedicated stadiums for watching soccer and committed local ownership with strong financing.

This has got me thinking. Larry G. desperately wants to bring major league sports to Hartford. But until we have a new arena, which is at best 4-5 years away, hockey or basketball is going to be a very difficult sell. Given that its unlikely that either of those sports is comming in the near future, what about MLS? The Hartford area has the potential to be a perfect match for what MLS is looking for. Rentchsler Field is very comprable to MLS's new stadiums. Home Depot Center in LA holds 27,000. Pizza Hut Park in Dallas holds 22,000. Rentschler Field offers more capacity, but is still very well suited for soccer as seen by the Liverpool vs. Celtic match that was held there. Plus, Rentschler is pretty much unoccupied for the duration of MLS's season, with only a slight overlap in the fall that can be scheduled around. I'm sure the state would love to have another major tenant and would have no problem granting very favorable financial terms.

Besides just having the field in place, the timing works out well. With David Beckham and other coming to the US under MLS's new rule, the sport is in its strongest position yet. Just as MLS is on the upswing, so is Hartford. We all know the myriad of reasons why the Hartford metro area is such an attractive place for a sports team that I don't need to recap them. Next year MLS is going to start selling sponsor space on thier jerseys. Don't you think a local company like UTC would snap that kind of exposure up? And think of the kind of rivalry Hartford's team could develop with New England and New York.

The huge celebration in the South End after the World Cup last year shows that support for the game exists in the region. Even among non-soccer fans our desire for a major league team is so great, I could see a Hartford team pulling in many casual fans. The more I think about this idea, especially how there are currently so many less obstacles than basketball or hockey, the more excited I get. What does everybody else think about this idea? Could we do anything to help get it off the ground?

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Doing a little research of my own AEG owns San Jose which does not have a home this year, could the Rent be a perfect fit? Bruce Arenas loves the Rent, I would love to see MLS there...

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I think MLS could potentially be a pretty good fit for the area. I know AEG has experience in this area as well. I certainly think that the Rent has capacity for another tenent of some sort though, so let's hope for something.

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Doing a little research of my own AEG owns San Jose which does not have a home this year, could the Rent be a perfect fit? Bruce Arenas loves the Rent, I would love to see MLS there...

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I thought the San Jose team moved to Houston and became the Dynamo. I didn't put two and two togerther regarding the AEG connection to MLS. Well, thats one more reason I hope AEG and Larry G get to run Rentschler.

San Jose was supposed to be first in line for a new team but, another bonus for us, according to ESPN, San Jose's effort to build a stadium have fallen through. http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id...589&cc=5901

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The team moved but the rights still belong to AEG or something like that. Either was AEG is big into MLS, which could be a huge boost for the Rent if they are picked to run it...

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I couldn't care less about the MLS, but if we got a team, count me in, I'll watch anything.

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The huge celebration in the South End after the World Cup last year shows that support for the game exists in the region. Even among non-soccer fans our desire for a major league team is so great, I could see a Hartford team pulling in many casual fans. The more I think about this idea, especially how there are currently so many less obstacles than basketball or hockey, the more excited I get. What does everybody else think about this idea? Could we do anything to help get it off the ground?

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I like your thinking. Soccer and the NHL would work in the Hartford market. One can't use the argument that there are not enough fans to support an MLS team, because attendance expectations are lower than for other sports and the demographics of soccer supporters are much different than other sports. An MLS team would draw from throughout the region. I hope Larry is as smart as this board gives him credit for....

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I'm not sure Larry G would have to be a genius to work his plan. It just so happens that no one else with money from around here has a grand vision for the region, so by default he's our rich guy that's going to bring the good stuff here. I hope so, because we don't have a plan B rich guy waiting in the wings....

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I'm not sure Larry G would have to be a genius to work his plan. It just so happens that no one else with money from around here has a grand vision for the region, so by default he's our rich guy that's going to bring the good stuff here. I hope so, because we don't have a plan B rich guy waiting in the wings....

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The beauty of it is, so much of what we need for this to happen in already in place. We have exactly the kind of stadium that the MLS is looking to get all of its teams in, no other prospective expansion location can offer that.

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This is the most logical and realistic proposal I've heard for the city in awhile. This would really bring everyone's confidence level up that Hartford is a contender for major league sports. It also really puts the city back on the map in obvious ways.

Although studies need to be done, it seems like a no-brainer that Hartford can support an MLS team due to the metro area's existing demographic profile, population, and interest in the game alone. I know for a fact that soccer is pretty big in Hartford and its suburbs on all levels.. even UConn has the largest avg. attendance per game in the nation for Division I soccer.

Is there a way we can take collective action and pitch the idea to Northland and Larry G? There are some pretty good thoughts and ideas floating around on these boards from Hartford's own residents, and I'd like to see something materialize out of it.

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There is a reason the US men and women's teams play at the Rent each year, it is attended well.

Connecticut is a soccer state. UConn men and women have national championship contender teams many years, in fact I believe the men have won it twice. Like the previous poster has said, UConn has the highest average attendance in the country for D-1 and I would assume all of college because D-1 is usually more popular than D2 and D3.

Also, there are many great high school programs in the state that are ranked nationally every year. Wethersfield, Farmington, Guilford, New Canaan have all been ranked in the top 10 nationally. There are others I am missing. The point is Connecticut has a rather strong following overall from Fairfield county to Windham County and MLS would probably shine here.

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There is a reason the US men and women's teams play at the Rent each year, it is attended well.

Connecticut is a soccer state. UConn men and women have national championship contender teams many years, in fact I believe the men have won it twice. Like the previous poster has said, UConn has the highest average attendance in the country for D-1 and I would assume all of college because D-1 is usually more popular than D2 and D3.

Also, there are many great high school programs in the state that are ranked nationally every year. Wethersfield, Farmington, Guilford, New Canaan have all been ranked in the top 10 nationally. There are others I am missing. The point is Connecticut has a rather strong following overall from Fairfield county to Windham County and MLS would probably shine here.

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A little background: I'm not currently a fan of the MLS. I have, however, been a fan of the EPL for sometime now. With the growth of soccer in this country I've wanted to pick an MLS team to support. The thing is, my most natural choice, the New York Redbulls, are unappealing to me because they are building a new stadium in suburban New Jersey, and I want to root for a city team. My other potential choice, the New England Revs, I don't want to support because I've never been able to stomach the patronizing big-brother attitude that the Boston area has toward the rest of New England. (As an aside, I don't know how those in Providence manage to stand it being that much closer to Boston.)

As a result of this, I was doing some reading about the MLS on wikipedia concerning potential expansion locations like Philly or a second NY team. Apparently, some of MLS's biggest factors in chosing where to put expansion teams are having dedicated stadiums for watching soccer and committed local ownership with strong financing.

This has got me thinking. Larry G. desperately wants to bring major league sports to Hartford. But until we have a new arena, which is at best 4-5 years away, hockey or basketball is going to be a very difficult sell. Given that its unlikely that either of those sports is comming in the near future, what about MLS? The Hartford area has the potential to be a perfect match for what MLS is looking for. Rentchsler Field is very comprable to MLS's new stadiums. Home Depot Center in LA holds 27,000. Pizza Hut Park in Dallas holds 22,000. Rentschler Field offers more capacity, but is still very well suited for soccer as seen by the Liverpool vs. Celtic match that was held there. Plus, Rentschler is pretty much unoccupied for the duration of MLS's season, with only a slight overlap in the fall that can be scheduled around. I'm sure the state would love to have another major tenant and would have no problem granting very favorable financial terms.

Besides just having the field in place, the timing works out well. With David Beckham and other coming to the US under MLS's new rule, the sport is in its strongest position yet. Just as MLS is on the upswing, so is Hartford. We all know the myriad of reasons why the Hartford metro area is such an attractive place for a sports team that I don't need to recap them. Next year MLS is going to start selling sponsor space on thier jerseys. Don't you think a local company like UTC would snap that kind of exposure up? And think of the kind of rivalry Hartford's team could develop with New England and New York.

The huge celebration in the South End after the World Cup last year shows that support for the game exists in the region. Even among non-soccer fans our desire for a major league team is so great, I could see a Hartford team pulling in many casual fans. The more I think about this idea, especially how there are currently so many less obstacles than basketball or hockey, the more excited I get. What does everybody else think about this idea? Could we do anything to help get it off the ground?

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MLS would be a perfect fit for Hartford. There are many Italians in the State that absolutely love soccer.

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Not only UCONN but Southern, Central and Western CT State Universities have won championships... It's a huge soccer state and I think where the term "soccer mom" originated... I think it makes perfect sense although the New England Revolution and NY MLS teams may disagree.

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I like your thinking. Soccer and the NHL would work in the Hartford market. One can't use the argument that there are not enough fans to support an MLS team, because attendance expectations are lower than for other sports and the demographics of soccer supporters are much different than other sports. An MLS team would draw from throughout the region. I hope Larry is as smart as this board gives him credit for....

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what kind of attendance numbers would be needed to consider an MLS franchise to be successful in hartford? if it is much more than 10,000, i am not sure that it would work. i believe that most people in this country and this state look at the mls as major league in name only, despite attempts to boost its image with star players from europe and elsewhere. i would love to see it here and would attend.

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I love these comments and adamantly support bringing ANY major league sports to Hartford. I hated the WNBA but since they came to CT, I became a fan.

I am not a fan of MLS, but sign me up for season tix if they come to Hartford.

Having said all that, there was an article about MLS and Hartford in the Hartford Advocate several months ago. There are two strikes against Hartford: 1) MLS is looking for soccer only stadiums, 2) MLS commissioner said that he views Hartford as in the New England Revolution market and would be concentrating on larger markets for expansion.

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I love these comments and adamantly support bringing ANY major league sports to Hartford. I hated the WNBA but since they came to CT, I became a fan.

I am not a fan of MLS, but sign me up for season tix if they come to Hartford.

Having said all that, there was an article about MLS and Hartford in the Hartford Advocate several months ago. There are two strikes against Hartford: 1) MLS is looking for soccer only stadiums, 2) MLS commissioner said that he views Hartford as in the New England Revolution market and would be concentrating on larger markets for expansion.

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Look's like Mr. Kraft is getting in the way of Hartford's sports plans as usual. I really dislike that guy. I think MLS could make a decent attempt to build a fanbase here. Hopefully, Northland/AEG will keep fighting for this and an NHL team.

HBJ Article

Eight years after teasing local fans with the idea of relocating the New England Patriots to Hartford, owner Robert Kraft remains the major hurdle to bringing another kind of football to the area

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I'm not sure why in the world Kraft sees the Hartford area as a threat to the Revolution. If anything, Hartford fans would be supporting the Red Bulls and not the Revs. Springfield, he could have some argument here... slightly?

Either way, the MLS team in Connecticut would only really be popular to the I-91 corridor and Waterbury. It probably wouldn't even be a threat in eastern Connecticut or central Mass., never mind Rhode Island or traditional Boston territory.

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Soccer is destined to be a failure. So hartford can do without it.

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