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Would a Major League Soccer team thrive in the Sacramento region?
The league seems to think so: Last week, MLS Executive Vice President Dan Courtemanche told KFBK radio reporter Rob McAllister that MLS is keeping an eye on Sacramento, as organization big wigs think the city has a strong fan base for soccer.
“Sacramento is certainly an area that has supported us,” he said in the interview.
The issue will be the subject of our next Sac Press live chat Wednesday at noon, featuring Elk Grove Mayor James Cooper, who has been looking into the possibility of his city hosting an MLS team, and Ruben Mora , Jr., the coach of Sacramento's minor league team, The Gold, which plays in the National Premier Soccer League.
The chat will be broadcast live here, and video highlights will be available soon afterward.
Sacramento Bee columnist Marcos Breton (who also happens to be a fan of the English Premier League team Arsenal) couldn’t make the chat, but said in an email that he thought MLS would be a better fit for Sacramento than Major League Baseball.
“With economies of scale, MLS is far more reasonable in its pricing structure (stadium costs, sponsorships, wage structure) than MLB," he wrote.
Breton went on to say that a challenge for any effort to bring an MLS team to the area would be close proximity of the San Jose Earthquakes, as the league might have to, “mollify the Earthquakes owners” to bring a team to Sacramento.
He also pointed out the biggest challenge for any effort to bring an MLS team, or for that matter, an MLB team to city: There needs to be prospective owners, and so far, none have stepped forward. Last year, The Sacramento Bee reported that former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, who sits on the board of U.S. Soccer, was looking into bringing a team to Elk Grove – but nothing has been announced since.
The idea of bringing an MLS team to the Sacramento region came up during our chat last week with Internet radio host Dave Weiglein, or Carmichael Dave, who holds an opinion similar to Breton's. In Weiglein’s view, soccer would be more feasible in Sacramento than baseball because it requires fewer games and less attendance.
“I have a lot more confidence in the region's ability to support an MLS team than I do a baseball team," Weiglein said.
Here's the video of that segment of cour conversation with Carmichael Dave: