After years of rumours [mbv] it seems like Vancouver is going to get an Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise. Granted it’s at a slightly low point for the MLS, after the David Beckham experiment which was meant to prove that soccer in America was on its way to becoming as much of a force as it is in Europe has failed. Beckham’s decided he prefers playing in the semi-retirement league that is Series A in Italy and is paying out of his own pocket to stay there.
Meanwhile what this means for the Whitecaps we’re not sure. The ownership group of the new team is largely the same as that of the Whitecaps with owner Greg Kerfoot heading the group that paid the $35 million dollar fee for an MLS franchise, but it seems like it’s not a sure thing that the new team will be called the Whitecaps and there’s clearly not enough soccer support to keep the two teams going in Vancouver.
The new team will play in BC Place as opposed to Swangard, because if you can’t sell out Swangard you’re might as well go big and not sell out BC Place.
The example of Toronto FC [mbv] shows that a Canadian city can support professional soccer, but the population and demographics are a lot different in Toronto than they are Vancouver. The success of the new MLS team is hardly a sure thing, on or off the pitch.
Of course now this also means that there’s no way that we’ll ever get any sort of media accreditation for the Whitecaps. While the team is great at calling me back to renew my season tickets, they’ve never once returned an email or a call about press accreditation for covering the Whitecaps games. Any of the photos for the posts on the team I’ve taken have been with a camera that I’ve learned how to smuggle into games.
As a former (damn economy) season ticket owner I hope the new team succeeds. I do think Vancouver hast the potential to support another major league sports franchise in town, and this will certainly be less of a fiasco than the Grizzlies were, and I am very eager for some higher level soccer to be played in town. Even if there will be no David Beckham. Even if I have to assemble my camera in a washroom stall so that I can cover the games.