By Eduardo Monk Jr.
Sports leagues are places driven by the growth and the quality of their rosters, whether it be more cities added and awarded franchises or the names on those teams growing in national spotlight and general adoration. So it goes without saying that whenever any league adds a whole new team, every fan, hardcore and casual, is put on notice. A good expansion can breathe completely new life into a stale season.
The NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights are the latest in a long line of expansions in sports history. But where to next for the world of professional athletics? Which cities deserve to have a pro sports team call home?
That’s the question I have been wondering for while now and I think it’s time to do something about it. For the next five days, Sporting Daily will be analyzing, researching and experimenting to determine the six finest cities to house a new franchise in the five major sports leagues, the NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL and MLS.
The MLS is usually ridiculed for the relative lack of talent in comparison to the European leagues but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the prime source for soccer in the US. With Los Angeles and Miami receiving franchises in the coming years after St.Paul and Atlanta received them this past season, the MLS is beginning to streamline their growth.
But where to next for soccer in the US? That’s question we’re answering today, folks. Here are the six best cities for an MLS team.
Yeah, so Nashville isn’t a big soccer town. But so is much of the US. They also weren’t viewed as a hockey town but after the recent booming success of the Predators, this is a city who loves sports and will accept any team that they can be proud of. Insert a strong MLS team here and soccer could potentially explode in Music City.
Milwaukee, despite its pretty small population, will automatically have a massive fanbase ready for any sports team. This is one of the most underrated sports cities in the country and slotting in an MLS team would more than likely be very successful. Not to mention the rivalry they would have with the powerhouse Chicago Fire. A strong fanbase and a potential rivalry. What more could you want in a sports town?
There is no doubt. Detroit is one of the most hardcore sports markets in the country. The fandom for the Lions, Tigers, and Red Wings are borderline legendary and the fact MLS hasn’t set up a soccer team here surprises me. Not many cities are hardcore soccer towns and Detroit is definitely not one but it’s a massive sports town and there is no doubt a soccer team could flourish here.
This is also another city that could have an epic rivalry with Chicago. The MLS doesn’t have great rivalries to help draw fans in but Detroit-Chicago games could be incredible.
Cleveland is one of the unluckiest sports towns in the country, if not the most unlucky. The Browns are the Browns, the Indians blew a 3-1 lead in the World Series and the Cavaliers are about to lose Kyrie Irving. The MLS could be the sports savior Cleveland needs. All this team needs to be is decent and there is already a ton of sports fans flocking to it just to enjoy the success.
This pick capitalizes on the depression that Cleveland sports fan endure every season, no matter the sport. A strong team could allow the sport of soccer to blow up in Cleveland, plus a rivalry with the Columbus Crew will be able to rake in even more fans.
San Diego, California
San Diego has just recently lost their beloved Chargers and is now stuck with only the Padres to cheer for. Yeesh. This is the exact city that should have an MLS team. There isn’t much else to enjoy for sports in San Diego so setting up shop will bring in nearly every sports fan whether or not they even like soccer simply because they don’t have anything else. A solid team to cheer for will be huge for the city. Plus I think I smell a rivalry with the LA teams after the city stole their Chargers from San Diego.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is an extremely passionate city, passionate about their culture, passionate about the city itself and passionate about sports. The NFL’s Saints have one of the best followings in the league and the potential for a top-notch fanbase is there. Being such a unique city, an MLS team in New Orleans would bring a lot to the league culturally, which would be able to bring many more fans in just for New Orleans.