Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor
The trouble is that the league has absolutely no presence in the SE United States -- growing TV revenues is a laudable goal, but a national TV contract is never going to be big-dollars with such a large (and fast-growing) part of the country left out.
That's why getting a team in places like Atlanta, Orlando, the Carolinas, etc. is so important.
While I agree that the Southeast is a prime region for expansion, I think it needs to be done the right way. That means identifying which cities have shown support for soccer, have ownership commited to soccer, and plans for a soccer specific stadium. The commitment to soccer goes beyond a willingness to pony up the expansion fee, but plans to set up an academy system to increase the talent pool. My concern for some of the proposed cities is that you're looking at owners just wanting to put a team in a city because it's a "sexy" pick or the owner is seeking a second tenant to justify a new football stadium. So, for example, I would encourage potential owners like Beckham and Arthur Blank to invest in existing clubs in their cities and build a support base and an academy to prove they'll be successful.
TV contracts are going to be driven less by which teams are in what markets and more by having compelling games. Haphazard expansion could result in a dilution of talent and decrease in the quality of play. I don't think we're at the point yet where you can add a team in a market and expect overnight success.
I'd also refer back to the question, "How big is too big?" Upon further research, I'm thinking 24 teams might be pushing it, just because of the limited number of games in the season. Any bigger and you're getting to the point where teams only play each other once a season. Then you need to decide whether you want to split the league conferences where they only play the other conference in playoffs and open cup play or forming a premier league/first division split with promotion and relegation.