Major League Soccer (MLS) has announced intentions to expand the league from 24 to 28 teams by 2022, with hints of further expansion to come. Expansion will allow the league to capitalize on the growing ticket and merchandise sales in new markets. League officials have 3 major considerations when choosing a city for expansion, which include a committed local ownership group with a passion for soccer and sufficient resources, a desirable geographic market with a history for supporting soccer and other sporting events, and a comprehensive stadium plan. Twelve cities across the country have submitted bids for expansion teams. Given the proposed bids, MLS needs to review the cities to determine which markets provide the highest likelihood of financial prosperity. As bid groups prepare their proposals for the committee, they will need to conduct a market-demand analysis. Each city will then be evaluated based on how well it meets the 3 criteria outlined by MLS, as well its ability to garner financial success.
Sattler is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA. Warren and Achen are with the Dept. of Kinesiology & Recreation, Illinois State University, Normal, IL.