Archive for November, 2012

EXPANSION: Which Leagues Are Ready For It?

Posted: November 27, 2012 in CFL, MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL

Expansion has always been a topic of discussion for every major sports league, though many leagues in the past have met their deaths because they’ve expanded too much (especially the NASL).  Baseball Prospectus recently released a study that shows which ten North American cities would be best suited for MLB expansion earlier in November, the NFL has obviously been looking at Los Angeles, rumors have circulated of the NHL planning expansion into Quebec and Toronto’s suburbs, and MLS has expanded every season since 2005 (though that streak will end in 2013, with the second New York club expected in 2016 or 2017).  While expanding a league’s footprint is usually a good thing, some leagues may not be ready for it just yet.

National Football League – The NFL is the Everest in the professional sports landscape, with attendances rivaled only by some of the more popular college football teams and revenues through the roof.  The league’s 32 teams are the most of any major league, yet a glaring omission exists in Los Angeles.  The NFL and AFL have combined for three teams in the city since the AFL’s inception in 1960: the Chargers (relocated to San Diego in 1961), the Raiders (relocated to Oakland in 1995), and the Rams (relocated to St. Louis in 1995), but stadium problems forced the latter two out, leaving the city without a franchise.  Serious consideration has been given to either relocate an existing team or place an expansion team in the city in the proposed new Farmers Field.  In the case of the NFL, the time is right for expansion into the nation’s second-largest city.

Major League Baseball – Many MLB teams are seeing considerable success financially in recent years, but other teams such as Tampa Bay, Cleveland, and of course the Marlins who traded away all of their star players in a single trade just a year after receiving a new publicly-financed stadium.  While some markets may be able to support a team, specifically Northern New Jersey and Portland, relocation would seem to be the better route to take.

Canadian Football League – The Canadian Football League originally announced an expansion team for Ottawa in 2008, but the franchise has yet to begin play even after holding an expansion draft and has only recently broke ground on a stadium.  As it stands, the eight-team league is expected to expand to nine in 2014 or 2015, but the obvious struggles in launching a team in the Canadian capital should thwart attempts at any further expansion for the time being (though Halifax or Moncton are still being considered)

Major League Soccer – Major League Soccer is probably the major league best poised for expansion, as the league has expanded rapidly since 2005 with positive results: Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake (2005), Houston (2006), Toronto (2007), San Jose (2008), Seattle (2009), Philadelphia (2010), Portland and Vancouver (2011), and Montreal (2012).  In a normal scenario, this would water down the league’s talent pool, but soccer’s talent pool is so international that there is almost no risk of a shortage and the continued expansion has brought many healthy franchised into league, greatly improving its economic situation.

National Hockey League – Amid the lockout, rumors have circulated that the NHL was close to awarding expansion franchised to Quebec, Quebec and the Toronto suburb of Markham, Ontario.  While this would provide the league with new healthy franchises in the great hockey market that is Canada, and both cities could definitely support teams, it also takes away possibilities for relocation of some of the league’s struggling franchises (of which there are plenty of).  The verdict on the NHL would have to be a no.

National Basketball Association – The NBA has grown as a league in recent years, surpassing the MLB as the second most popular professional league in the US.  However, it is clear that the Sacramento Kings want to relocate, as they can not reach a proper stadium deal in their current city, and whenever a scenario like this exists, the first method to grant teams to new cities has to be relocation.

After the folding of the WPS, the US Women’s National Team players that have won so many titles in the past several years was left without a league for its players.  Now, together with the Canadian and Mexicans football associations, a new league has been founded.

The eight-team league is expected to kick off in the Spring of 2013 with clubs in Boston, New Jersey, Western New York, Washington, Chicago, Kansas City, Seattle, and Portland.  While the Boston, Washington, Chicago, Kansas City, and Seattle franchises are not expected to be affiliated with their local MLS franchises, the Portland Timbers will own the women’s team in their respective city.

The US is expected to send up to 24 players to the league, Canada 16, and Mexico 12.

November 20, 2012 – World Baseball Classic qualifying officially came to an end Monday night as Brazil beat Panama 1-0 to win their pool and advance into the main tournament.  Spain, Canada, Brazil, and the Chinese Taipei will join the automatic qualifiers in the tournament that is to start on March 2nd with games in Fukuoka, Japan (Pool A) and Taichung, Taiwan (Pool B).  Pools C and D will begin play on March 7th in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Pheonix/Scottsdale, Arizona respectively.

 

 

The Pools for the main tournament are as follows:

  • Pool A: China, Cuba, Japan (host), Spain
  • Pool B: Australia, Chinese Taipei (host), the Netherlands, South Korea
  • Pool C: Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico (host), Venezuela
  • Pool D: Canada, Italy, Mexico, the United States (host)

The second round will take place in Tokyo, Japan and Miami, Florida before the final round is hosted in San Francisco, California.

Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United States have all additionally scheduled exhibitions against MLB teams in spring training.

David Beckham to Leave Galaxy

Posted: November 20, 2012 in Los Angeles Galaxy

November 19, 2012 – The Galaxy’s David Beckham announced on Monday that he will be leaving Los Angeles after the MLS Cup set to take place on December 1st at home against the Houston Dynamo in a rematch from 2011.  Beckham began play in the MLS in the 2007 season, and helped the league become what it is today.  At the time of Beckham’s arrival from Real Madrid, the MLS was a thirteen team league with the addition of Toronto that season.  The league was coming off of a 2006 campaign that saw average attendances of just 15,504 around the league.  With Beckham’s help, Don Garber’s MLS has blossomed into a nineteen-team league that averaged 18,807 fans in attendance per game in 2012.

In his six seasons in the MLS, Beckham appeared in 102 league contests and tallied eighteen regular season goals.  Beckham’s departure leaves the Galaxy with one open Designated Player slot to fill to complement Robbie Keane and, assuming he isn’t the next to go, Landon Donovan.  Speculation of Beckham’s departure has been reported for quite some time, but Beckham has not made his intentions fully clear.  Is he intending to retire?  Go back to Europe?  Or even join the New York Red Bulls?  The answers are not quite there yet, which should make for another intriguing offseason rumor to follow along with the progress on the league’s expansion into New York City with the potential revival of the Cosmos.

ScoSports Coverage

Posted: November 20, 2012 in MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL

ScoSports is a new independent blog aimed to provide the top news from around the American sporting scope.  Coverage is intended to include mostly Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, National Basketball Association, National Football League, and the National Hockey League, though coverage will certainly venture elsewhere in the case of big events.

About Jackson Scofield

I’ve written for various sites including ChiCitySports.com and WorldSeriesDreaming.com, and still do, but have found myself trapped by the limited scope of the websites, focusing on just one city or just one team.  Recently, I decided it would be best to also have my own blog where I could write about sports in general, though a little bit of Chicago bias may still be prevalent.  I am graduating in May and am looking to attend college with a Sports Journalism major.
You can follow me on twitter as @jacksonSCOfield (personal) or @WSDScofield (Cubs minor league).