It started with a tweet on Sunday. Univision show Republica Deportiva tweeted out the following:
Translation: "According to a reliable source, it appears that Chivas USA will return for one more season."
Since it started in Spanish, and there have been no subsequent articles published on the topic that I can find, this rumor has been a slow roller so far compared to most rumors concerning the club's future. But the fact that no other writers have picked up this story at all, in either English or Spanish, makes me skeptical about this report of the Chivas USA name remaining in place next season. I think the league is keeping their plans for the club under lock and key, and are not chatting freely with the press at the moment.
Here's what we know right now of what will happen for sure next season:
That's right, nothing.
The league, which of course owns Chivas USA right now and is looking for a new owner for the club, has repeatedly said the team will rebrand in 2015, though they have allowed themselves some semantic wiggle room to allow for the possibility of keeping the name.
Here's what MLS Commissioner Don Garber wrote in February in an open letter to CUSA fans regarding the purchase of the team by the league:
The club will play as Chivas USA and will still call the StubHub Center its home during the 2014 MLS season. It will then be rebranded with a new team name and logo in connection with the sale to a new owner.
The obvious clause in that second sentence is that the rebrand has been planned contingent on a new owner being in place. Of course, if a new owner isn't in place, that could be a problem, and it is possible (not necessarily likely, but possible) that Chivas USA could continue to be the team's name.
Now, the most recent reports, around the All-Star break last month, had it that the next owner could be on board as soon as this month and as late as "Who knows, really?" So, the truth is that the situation continues to be unclear.
The team is working as though the name will change after this season. While they may have to backtrack from that position if a new owner does not materialize before 2015, it's not the fault of the team, as they're working under directions from the league. The league has continually been publicly optimistic about the prospects of Chivas USA getting a new owner, a new brand, and setting plans in motion for a stadium of the club's own in the Los Angeles region before the 2015 season begins. If anyone gets egg on their face if they have to switch positions, it will be MLS, not the people who are currently working for the team.
If Chivas USA remained the team's brand next season, needless to say it would be disastrous. It would mean the holding pattern would likely be ongoing, the team's ultimate fate would be hanging in the balance, and there probably wouldn't be any positive momentum for the franchise moving forward.
Could the league change the team's name even without an owner in place? Yes, they could. Again, I have to reiterate that there are no indications at the moment about what might happen.
And that's where this rumor from Republica Deportiva sits, uneasily, for now. Could it be true? Yes, it could. I have no indications that it is or is not going to happen. Could the opposite be true, with a rebrand and also a new owner in the cards ahead of 2015? Yep, that's in play, too.
Unfortunately, I can't provide any sourced reports to affirm or deny the rumor right now. I have to say I remain skeptical, though. It could happen, and I've been wrong before, but that doesn't mean the name Chivas USA is definitely here to stay for 2015.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!