Despite it's minimal exposure on ESPN (which does air its matches but offers no outside analysis), MLS continues to be hot-hot-hot in the minds of sports investors. Less than seven years since the league had to contract its two Florida franchises, investors are now lining up to get involved with the America's top domestic league.
The 2011 expansion bids already had Steve Nash pushing Vancouver, world power Barcelona FC trying to make Miami viable, again, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank backing Atlanta and the son of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson trying to get the league to consider Portland. Today we can add freshly minted National League MVP Albert Pujols to the list.
Pujols is throwing his celebrity behind St. Louis, which if you go back in history has the richest soccer history in America, yet no MLS team to call its own. Pujols is from the Dominican Republic, which has never been known as a hotbed for soccer, which makes the announcement a bit of a surprise, but a welcome one.
In any case, big name investors can only help the MLS expansion progress, though will every million spent it makes the pie-in-the-sky dream of promotion and relegation with the USL more of an impossibility. Like it or not, investors are ponying up millions to play in USL, even if the soccer itself can be pretty good at times with passionate fans -- especially in Portland for the Timbers.
The odd thing with this current slate of expansion, the cities in question seem more viable than some of the places the league already calls home. For instance the upper deck at the Home Depot Center for the Chivas USA/Real Salt Lake playoff match was completely barren. I'm just saying.
Pujols Stumps for St. Loo MLS Bid originally appeared on Soccer FanHouse on Tue, 18 Nov 2008 17:49:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.