I had a nice discussion today with a source familiar with the widely reported process underway that has Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim buying Chivas Guadalajara from Jorge Vergara. During that conversation I gleaned a bit of information about where MLS is thinking Chivas USA (CUSA) could end up.
That said, before we get to where CUSA might move, there is the pesky reality that CUSA’s valuation is apparently proving to be a point of contention between Vergara and Slim. Slim does not want to purchase an MLS team, which means that MLS needs to find a new investor/operator for the team fairly rapidly.
Beyond just the issue of the MLS club, I’ve been told could still be potential snags that could delay or derail the sale of Chivas Guadalajara and its assets to Slim. That said, I’ve been told that the sale could be announced within 12 hours if no eleventh-hour surprises emerge.
But on to the fun part, and that’s examining where CUSA could move. Here’s what I know about the cities/regions that are currently in play.
- The league’s preference is for this team to end up in the Southeast with Miami, Orlando, and Atlanta as apparent options. The Southeast was described to me as “the likely landing spot.”
- Florida has recently seen some public funding issues arise in both markets but that has not taken them off the board.
- MLS seems more amenable to letting a team share an NFL stadium, especially a newly-contructed (Atlanta) or renovated one (Miami), than they have in prior expansion efforts.
- I also learned that there is an additional darkhorse city that has emerged and held recent talks with MLS. My source compared it to Dave Checketts’ group out of Salt Lake City that surprised observers by beating out Seattle and Oklahoma City to join the league in 2004. I believe I know what that darkhorse city is and am running down additional sources to try to confirm it.
- I can tell you with certainty that the darkhorse city is not Sacramento.