MLS: 4 Reasons Why the New York Cosmos Should Be the Next MLS Expansion Team
Finally American Soccer is getting some international recognition. Building off of the relative success of the United States Men's National Team, Major League Soccer is starting to develop into a respectable destination for more mainstream players.
Though still far from most European leagues, the MLS has experienced steady growth since its foundation in 1993 with only 10 teams. Now boasting 19 franchises, the MLS has had success with many of its expansion teams, most recently the Montreal Impact, Portland Timbers, and the Vancouver Whitecaps.
With an eye toward future expansion, the MLS is looking to add another franchise in 2013 or 2014, and there is a strong case to be made for the rebirth of the New York Cosmos.
The New York City Market
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The simple fact is that New York City is the largest sports market in the nation. The city already supports eight major professional sports teams, some competing within the same sport. By size and revenue, the market clearly has the resources to support another soccer team.
Furthermore, the city has strong immigrant roots, which can help in creating a strong, loyal fanbase, along with the Cosmos supporter's group, the Borough Boys.
But most of all, the city really isn't being captured. The New York Red Bulls play in Harrison, N.J., not the city itself, making them outsiders in a sense. Which leads us to my next point...
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By adding a second team to the New York area, the MLS would instantly create one of the most iconic themes in sports: the rivalry.
The Red Bulls, as an established side, would want to assert their dominance over the newcomers, while the Cosmos would seek to prove their worth.
New York soccer fans will see their loyalties divided, much in the nature of Mets/Yankees or Jets/Giants, creating one hell of an atmosphere come derby day.
A Global Brand
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Ask any average international soccer fan to name a few MLS teams, and I'd imagine they'd have a hard time going beyond the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York Red Bulls. The MLS needs another marketing powerhouse, so why not use the already established New York Cosmos?
At one point, the Cosmos were arguably the most entertaining team in football, attracting the likes of Giorgio Chinaglia, Carlos Alberto, Franz Beckenbauer, and most notably, Pele.
Most soccer fans will have at least heard of the Cosmos, which presents the league with a fantastic marketing opportunity.
Ability to Attract Top Players
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Not only will fans know of the Cosmos, but players certainly have as well. If the Cosmos could attract top talent in the '70s, they most certainly can again.
The franchise could leverage the powerful connections of Honorary President Pele, Director of Soccer Eric Cantona, Assistant Director of Soccer Cobi Jones, and International Ambassadors Chinaglia and Alberto to reach players at the very highest levels.
Just for fun, here are a few players who will be, let's say "slowing down", come the 2013 season: Ronaldinho (will be 34 in 2013-14), Xavi (34), Gianluigi Buffon (36), Miroslav Klose (35), Frank Lampard (35), Rio Ferdinand (35), Didier Drogba (36), and Diego Forlan (35),
What do you think? Would the New York Cosmos be a good expansion for the MLS? Who would you like to see lead a new Cosmos team? Leave a comment below with your response!