Monday, July 7, 2008
Commentary: Club America de Mexico interested in expanding into MLS
As I posted on the MLS Rumors website, XM Satellite Radio's XM Deportivo Deportes De Primera radio show reported that Club America de Mexico is looking to "reach out" to its considerable following in the United States and also look for partnerships with MLS. Michael Bauer, recently elected president of said institution, discusses among other things, participation of America in MLS.
As to whether this is an exploratory partnership a-la-Bundesliga or a rebranding of one of the MLS teams or acquiring a new team remains to be seen.
From some of the comments posted following the story there are two clear sides to the coin: Chivas USA didn't work and this is an American league, and the other, potential rivalries could spark up with Chivas or other teams and an additional border state team could take shape. I might even venture to say FC Dallas could change names (their attendance is meager at best right now). Further, maybe Chicago--as suggested by soccer365.com some time back--could also rebrand and have an excuse to cling on to Blanco for another season (his contract expires at the end of 2008). [Also note that Chivas USA is among a few teams that have seen increases in attendance this year... just look at the 07-08 difference plot.]
Although I tend to side with some of the fans and bloggers out there that this should be an American league, there is nothing wrong with having teams be named after teams abroad. It actually happens to be common practice in Latin America and, and nobody seemed too concerned about this, teams such as FC Barcelona and Boca Juniors have expressed interest in starting up an MLS franchise with their name on it.
We must also be objective and realize that there is a large Hispanic (mainly Mexican) population in the States and that these are soccer-addicted individuals. I also see nothing wrong with repatriating players such as Orozco to play for the red, white and blue. Maybe more transfers will take place between the MLS and the Mexican Leauge. This would be a great deal for the MLS, accruing increasingly more experience against foreign teams that may get the league play in tournaments outside the SuperLiga and Concachampions. . . but that is another thread.