FC Cincinnati: Detroit City FC’s MLS bid scares me -- here’s why
In these past, not even two years, I have seen Cincinnati grow into the soccer city that I all believed that it could be, with thousands showing up to watch FC Cincinnati play their hearts out. I have seen premier clubs like Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew SC come into Cincinnati expecting a win, and leave hanging their heads. I have loved this club from its inception and will continue to, but I know some people will abandon the club if it doesn’t continue onto the next level.
There are a few clubs that could take FC Cincinnati’s expansion spot. David Beckham’s Miami club has basically already locked up a slot if it can get its bid in control. Nashville SC may get some looks because of the massive crowd they brought in, around 56,000, for Manchester City against Tottenham. However, the bid that really worries me is the one up north in Michigan.
Starting in 2012, Detroit City FC has had an increase in the amount of people that have attended their matches. In 2012, they had an average of 1,295 and last year that had grown to 5,280. Their single game attendance record is 7,410. This information comes from Boys in Rouge, a blog similar to our own.
Now, this is a far cry from FC Cincinnati’s own records. Just talking about USL play, over 12 matches, the club has an average attendance of 20,063, almost four times the amount of Detroit City FC’s.
It isn’t the attendance of their club that scares me, if that was all that mattered, FC Cincinnati would get into the MLS before any other club. It’s the star power and market that keep me up at night. Just talking about the size of the television market, Detroit is ranked 13 in the country, with around 1,850,000 televisions and Cincinnati is 36 with just over 860,000 televisions. It has been talked about many times by many people, but MLS has been known to choose clubs that have the biggest markets. There’s a reason there are two clubs in both New York and Los Angeles. Those are the two cities with the biggest market size.
Detroit also has a stadium plan of their own, and it looks to be shovel ready. Coming from ESPN FC, a Wayne County executive has backed a plan laid out by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert for a stadium in Detroit that the MLS wouldn’t be able to overlook. Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores is also on board, and the stadium would is planned to be built near Detroit Lions’ Ford Field and Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park.
The ownership group that is backing the Detroit bid would be able to have massive pull for the fans of the city, and if the stadium is near others, it could attract fans of other sports. Detroit’s bid even has soccer personalities commenting on it. Taylor Twellman, announcer for ESPN, made the comment of Twitter that he’d, “be shocked if MLS says no to this proposal in Detroit especially with this ownership group.” If more personalities comment, and agree, Cincinnati could be pushed out of its slot, and stay in USL.
I believe that Cincinnati is still going to be one of the next clubs that gets an MLS expansion, along with Sacramento. However, if other city's bids start to look more enticing to the MLS, and have a bigger market size than ours I wouldn’t be surprised if MLS looks elsewhere.