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To the surprise of nobody - Major League Soccer announces 2011 MLS Cup will be in LA

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2011 MLS Cup logo
2011 MLS Cup logo

So here is the official announcement:

NEW YORK (Tuesday, May 10, 2011) - This fall, The Home Depot Center will host Major League Soccer's championship event for the fourth time in League history. MLS Cup 2011 will kick off at 9 p.m. ET (live on ESPN and Galavision in the United States; on TSN2 in Canada) on November 20, 2011 at the home of the LA Galaxy.

"We are proud and excited to bring Major League Soccer's championship event back to the City of Los Angeles and The Home Depot Center, one of the finest sports venues in the United States," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "MLS Cup has grown into a four-day celebration of the world's game in North America. We believe that Los Angeles and The Home Depot Center will be a superb stage for MLS Cup 2011."

You know it was funny several months ago when Tim told the AEG folks that they would be hosting the Championship in LA, and MLS quickly tried to down play it as they hadn't made a decision yet. 

Did anyone, and I mean anyone out there fall for that line?

So one has to ask the question of why LA?  I mean honestly there are 18 teams in the league now, so why in the world would you chose a team and city to host the MLS Cup for the 4th time in the last 10 years?  At first thought I would say it is about the money, but since this match is already part of the LA Galaxy season ticket plan there will be fewer tickets for them to sell.  So it isn't like the Home Depot Center is in the center of downtown or in a trendy neighborhood, so clearly that wasn't the deciding factor.

more after the jump:

Now I know the top argument that MLS will present, it is about the weather.  I again will say BS, did you not have to open the upper deck to accommodate fans in Seattle, and likely if the MLSE hadn't blown their handling of the event last year we would have seen fans stay despite the lackluster match being played.  So clearly the weather factor is a bit overblown.  The average weather in Kansas City, New York, DC, Portland, Salt Lake, Seattle, and other cities isn't so awful that you couldn't hold the event there, and none of them have hosted it 4 times in 10 years.

So I am going to ask again, why not let the highest seeded team in the match play host?  Does MLS really need 6 months to plan their meetings and a couple of banquets?  If so they are in real trouble.  If you are going to say you want the match to be held in warm weather, then stop awarding it to teams and simply put it in a neutral market, I am sure Phoenix, San Antonio, Orlando, Atlanta, and many other markets would love to have the match played there.  

Heck you might even grow the base of fans in those markets, but no we will host it in LA. Now we all know that the league would love nothing better than to have LA vs. New York in the Cup final, and have gone so far to change the format of the playoffs to try and ensure a Eastern Conference team will make it to the Cup final for the first time in 3 years.  Of course all of their moves are so transparent that fans simply roll their eyes when any type of official announcement is made by the league any more.

I think it all kind of sad, that there is simply so little creative thought coming out of the leadership of the league.  Now I will give them a bit of credit in keeping the match the Sunday before Thanksgiving, some think competing against Sunday night NFL hurts ratings but I will point to the most watched MLS Cup in 2009.  If the story lines are interesting and the match is promoted correctly (they were and weren't last year), then you can draw in viewers.  I guess we will just wait and see what happens, but I can ensure you of one thing, no matter what MLS will claim it will be a overwhelming success.

I can say with all honestly that I think it is simply sad that the league panders so much still to AEG, trust me I get how much they have meant to the league and I get that there probably wouldn't be a MLS without them,  but for how many years will the league continue to show such constant favoritism to LA?

OFF MY SOAPBOX