Together with the profound lack of life and financial spoil attributable to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, the continued heath disaster has now additionally carried out what nothing else managed to by means of many of the final twenty years: gradual Main League Soccer’s speedy growth throughout the US and Canada.
MLS introduced Friday afternoon that the deliberate begin dates for 3 of its subsequent 4 new golf equipment — in Charlotte, Sacramento and St. Louis — could be pushed again by a 12 months due to the influence of COVID-19.
Charlotte, which was awarded MLS’s thirtieth membership final December, will now start play in 2022 somewhat than subsequent season. St. Louis and Sacramento will debut in 2023 as an alternative of 2022. Austin FC, slated to kick off subsequent 12 months in Texas’ capital, will nonetheless kick off in 2021 as initially deliberate.
“We now have all the time taken a considerate and strategic strategy to our growth planning,” stated MLS Commissioner Don Garber, whose league has tripled in dimension since 2004. “It will be important for every membership to take the mandatory time to launch their inaugural MLS seasons the best way their followers and communities deserve. With the additional 12 months to make up for what has been a difficult 2020, these groups might be well-positioned for his or her debuts and for long-term success.”
Growth has been one MLS’s greatest successes by means of its first quarter-century on the North American skilled sports activities scene. The then-10 staff circuit practically folded within the early 2000s, however wildly standard new golf equipment in cities as various as Atlanta, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Orlando, Portland, Seattle and Toronto modified the league’s trajectory.
Atlanta United received MLS Cup in simply its second season and performed in entrance of greater than 50,000 followers per sport in 2019. Charlotte proprietor David Tepper dropped a $325 million growth price to hitch MLS final 12 months, 62.5 p.c greater than Sacramento or St. Louis pair for his or her golf equipment simply months earlier.
MLS grew to 26 groups this season with the addition of Inter Miami and Nashville SC. The addition of Austin will make it a 27-club league in 2021.