Man, I love hype. It just builds and builds before it every has to prove itself. It was Wednesday morning, when MLS commissioner Don Garber and future Miami club owner David Beckham announced that MLS Miami will happen. That’s all that was said. No team name, no stadium location, no color scheme. Nothing. “Let’s hype so much that no one cares what happens next!”
After the press conference ended, we still didn’t really learn anything that we hadn’t already heard. MLS #22 has been in the works for month with little to no secrecy. This meeting was the official letting-the-cat-out-of-the-bag.
Garber’s prerequisites to join MLS have stated that a stadium plan must be in place before admission is accepted. When New York City FC became MLS #21, there was no stadium plan, and even now, NYCFC hasn’t unveiled any agenda for their home field, which will be needed at the start of next March. Now Miami joins the league, with little else than a plan to get a stadium plan.
This deal once again makes Garber look like a push-over. He allows these home-arena-less teams because they are nearly guaranteed to bring future money and hype to the league. During the announcement, #MLSMiami was the 2nd highest trend on Twitter in America — free publicity via popular social media.
It’s highly doubtful that St. Louis would be allowed to join the league without the backing of an English Premier League team (NYCFC is partnering with Manchester City) or a superstar owner (Beckham). Yes, Miami and New York are much, much (much) bigger markets than St. Louis, but that’s beside the point. Garber has now made two clubs promises of league acceptance, without the prerequisite stadium plan.
I can’t decide if it’s a sell-out or not. It looks to be like a great move for the progression of MLS, but at the same time, Garber isn’t staying true to his own set of rules. Does the commish get bonus points for adding another team, or does he lose points for being ignored?
It’s good to know that the league is growing. More teams provide more people with soccer, an event with rising demand and limited supply in America. But next time a press conference like this happens, let’s hope that it isn’t all hype and some kind of relevant information is produced.