Atlanta – A New Home for Major League Soccer?
Atlanta’s first professional sports franchise championship was won by the 1968 Atlanta Chiefs of the North American Soccer League (NASL).
Now, some 45 years later, Major League Soccer (MLS) may be coming to Atlanta.
The new Atlanta Falcons stadium is being built with soccer in mind.
According to a report from 4E sports, Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay says Atlanta has great potential as an MLS market and that their group is interested in acquiring a franchise. “We believe that a world-class city like Atlanta needs a Major League Soccer team, and that Major League Soccer will be very successful here,” McKay told the Atlanta Business Chronicle. “At this point, we are open to various options, including our own ownership of a team or someone else owning a team.”
The same report calls Atlanta the “largest television market in the country without an MLS team” and said that there is an ongoing expansion discussions between the league and Falcons owner Arthur Blank. “We believe Atlanta could be a very successful MLS market,” said MLS VP of communications Dan Courtemanche. “Atlanta soccer fans have come out in very large numbers for international friendlies and Georgia has one of the fastest growing Hispanic markets in the country.”
A recent report showed that an MLS franchise in Orlando would have en economic impact of $1.2 billion. It is expected that a similar franchise in Atlanta would have an ever greater positive impact.
The Atlanta Silverbacks are a member of the North American Soccer League - considered the 2nd Tier of American Professional Soccer behind MLS.