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Sounders GM likes New York expansion, doesn’t think league will stop at 20 teams

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on May 21, 2013 at 1:53 pm with No Comments »
May 21, 2013 1:54 pm

Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer met with the media this morning, about an hour after Major League Soccer announced it would expand, placing its 20th team in New York City starting in 2015.

Here’s some of what Hanauer had to say:

“It’s exciting. Obviously massive market – you could argue the most important market on the planet. Great rivalry opportunities. Great visability. Huge investment between the franchise and the stadium from a foreign group that sees the potential in our game and in our league. Personally I’ve very excited. Can’t wait for them to start playing. Another of those stepping stones along the way in the development of Major League Soccer.”

On whether the league will stop at 20 teams: I don’t know. I don’t anticipate that 20 is the end of the story. How and when the next expansion happens, I couldn’t say. But there’s certainly a lot of big, important markets left in this country. I know most leagues around the world have 16, 18, 20 teams, but this is just a different beast in North America. When you look at the size of Canada and the United States put together, to compare that to another league around the world and suggest that we should have 20 teams as well, I just don’t think is realistic long-term.

On whether the league can achieve its goals without a Southeastern presence: The league is past where many of us maybe envisioned it five, six, seven years ago. But certainly getting into the Southeast is another step along the way. It’s just clear that there’s a big fan opportunity, bit television opportunity that just don’t exist today.

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