There's a report on SI.com on Wednesday from Brian Straus, the man who broke the story about Chivas USA's
hiatus demise earlier this year. He recaps the lay of the land concerning MLS expansion, including the bits of info known about the presentations this week by interested parties in Minneapolis, Sacramento and Las Vegas. It's pretty interesting stuff.
Of note for our neck of the woods is two tidbits about Los Angeles Football Club. According to Straus, the new team in LA paid a $110 million expansion fee, higher than any reported expansion fee to date. What's strange is that in contrast, the new teams coming in afterward are expected to pay a flat $100 million, again, according to Straus.
So what's the deal with that? Did LAFC have to pay a premium because they're in a (theoretically) richer market? Was it a "failure tax" from Chivas USA? (I just made that concept up...I have no idea if that's even a thing. Though to be fair, it's possible MLS did force LAFC to pay more to start a new team given the headaches that emerged from shutting an existing team down.) Did the league charge more to ensure this group was serious about starting a team? Or did they just see that there were 22 owners and figure they could bump up the price a bit?
That much is uncertain, and will remain that way unless a connected reporter like Straus gets more info.
The other note from Wednesday's piece to keep in mind is that MLS is reportedly flexible about when specific expansion teams begin play. So even though LAFC (which he uses as an example) has been using 2017 as their entry date for actual play in MLS, if they hit some snags, say the stadium quest/construction is delayed a long time and they don't want to play in a temporary location, they could remain on the sidelines longer if another team (that has previously been announced as joining the league, of course) is ready to go.
Since the LAFC owners did put down a $110 million down payment of sorts for entering the MLS club, I can't see them walking away from the venture, but certainly if a delay comes about and they don't start playing in 2017, that's going to be concerning. Obviously, the team was just announced a month ago, and the projected start date for the team is still more than two full years away, but something to consider as we hear news about LAFC and MLS expansion in general.
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