Why the Vancouver Whitecaps should get a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise

October 23, 2008 at 3:38 am | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium | 3 Comments

The bid for Vancouver to get an MLS franchise is in!  There are 2 expansion spots available for 2011 and Vancouver is competing with Montreal, Ottawa, St Louis, Portland, Atalanta, and Miami.  Here are the reasons why we should get a club:

1. Proven attendance record.  If the MLS thinks the Toronto crowds are impressive, wait until they see the ones in Vancouver.  Vancouver has always outdrawn Toronto in soccer crowds.  This was true in the NASL days and in the USL and A-league days.     If the MLS wants big crowds, they will get them here in Vancouver.  Vancouver’s soccer attendance record was always better than all of the other applicants for a franchise.  

2.  BC Place is an excellent stop gap solution until the new stadium is built.  BC Place is proven as a soccer venue.  When the Whitecaps opened the venue in the early 80’s, they drew 60,000 to see the Seattle Sounders.  When the LA Galaxy came recently, 48,000 people arrived to watch.  The spectre of MLS teams playing in front of 10,000 fans in a massive American Football stadium simply is not a scenario which would occur here in Vancouver at BC Place stadium.  Try typical crowds of 30,000 in a refurbished BC place reconfigured to be soccer friendly, with a retractable roof.  It will be spectacular and largely filled, thank you very much. None of the other bids will get anywhere near Vancouver’s attendance figures. 

3.  Vancouver has a huge grass-roots soccer scene.  Soccer is the biggest participation sport in the Lower mainland and in British Columbia.  The public are very well informed about soccer and watch it on television.  Furthermore, our multicultural society is comprised of many different peoples who come from places in the world where soccer is an all consuming passion.   When the Vancouver Whitecaps won the 1979 soccer bowl, 100,000 people lined the streets for the victory parade.  And soccer is more known and popular in Vancouver now than it was then…

4.  The Vancouver Whitecaps have a full-fledged football club and player development scheme already in action which stretches over British Columbia.  This will ensure that the franchise will have stability and success far earlier than other teams which are starting at ground zero. 

5.  A terrific ownership group.  The Ottawa and Montreal bids are financed by those who are hoping to ensure the success of their hockey teams, not their soccer teams.  The Hockey people in Canada fear that soccer may take away from hockey revenue.  The Owner of the Montreal Canadians is in on the Montreal bid, and the Ottawa Senators boss is mounting the Ottawa bid. What they are hoping for is an insurance policy against lost revenue. Vancouver’s bid is financed by people who  have no ulterior motives for buying a team.  Kerfoot, Mallet and Nash love footy and want to bring the top level available to Vancouver.  They plan to funnel profits back into soccer to continue to develop the sport.  Furthermore, unlike other applicants like Portland, they do not need public money for their stadium plans but are willing to build it with their own.

6.  Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium will get built.  In spite of the red tape, the stadium is just too good an idea for the city of Vancouver to pass up.   The stadium will bring life and new infrastructure to a moribund part of the city blighted by social problems.  When it gets built, it will be one of the most beautiful soccer stadiums in the world in a fantastic natural location.

7. Natural rivalry with Seattle.  Vancouver and Seattle have an intense soccer rivalry which goes back to the NASL days and continues today.  Vancouver would have a Canadian derby verses  TFC (and Montreal too, I hope) and a “local derby” verses the Seattle Sounders which would mean fan exchanges and travelling support. What a show it will be!

None of the other bids have the soccer pedigree that Vancouver has. There are other reasons to choose Vancouver, but for now, it is indeed a convincing case!!!

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3 Comments »

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  1. Uhmmm… the Whitecaps had an average attendance in
    2007 of 4999. The Toronto FC had an average attendance of over 20,000. Sorry to interrupt your Vain-couver rant, but I think we can chalk this statement:
    ” Vancouver has always outdrawn Toronto in soccer crowds”
    up to bitterness, or wishful thinking! LOL

    • Typical idiot plastic Toronto fan reply. Vancouver has always beaten Toronto in average attendance while playing in the same league. Duh! You can’t compare attendances when one team is playing in a higher league and the other in the top league. NASL days, Whitecaps almost doubled Toronto’s attendance in that league. In the CSL the Whitecaps averaged double the Toronto team in the same league. USL-1? Toronto were lucky to get 1,000 a game some seasons, Whitecaps got 5 times as much. MLS? Just like Seattle is now averaging 10,000 more fans a game than TFC, Whitecaps will do the same.

      Just a little history lesson for the new TFC fan.

  2. The point is, when Vancouver has been in the same football league, we have always out-drawn T.O. If you check the stats for attendance from the NASL days we always outdrew the Blizzard. When Toronto was in the A-league as the Lynx, we also outdrew them. When we get into the MLS we WILL outdraw T.O…


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