Posted by David Oates 6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Let me be the first to say that San Diego’s sports brand is not just ok, but FRIGGIN’ awesome!

Why? ‘Cause we’re getting a Major League Soccer team.

I know this may be a bit premature, but I submit that the odds are better than good since the official franchise submission came with significant pomp and circumstance and the league commissioner in attendance. That plus the introduction of a well-backed business group creating a plan for a privately-funded stadium has me jumping for joy. 

Now there will be those who still mourn the demise of America’s Finest City’s professional American Football team. I get it. The sport still reigns supreme in this country. Though that may continue for some time, I believe the NFL has lost some of its luster. The league’s days of holding cities ransom for building egregiously expensive stadiums with no possibility of economic returns in exchange for keeping their teams are waning. Valuations will begin to normalize and television contracts will start to shrink over the next 10 years. In short, this is the perfect time for San Diego to divest itself of professional American Football.

In its place is a sport that’s rising exponentially in popularity. Moreover, for as good as San Diego was to the NFL, it will be an even greater market for MLS. The region is rated as one of the top areas for soccer. As important is the sport's growth prospects. The Huffington Post reports that among 12- to 17-year-olds, MLS is now more popular than Major League Baseball, and only basketball is more popular than soccer with this demographic.

San Diegans should also take into account the fact that American Football still exists in town, and is far better than anything the pros have provided in nearly a decade. The Aztecs of San Diego State finished the year ranked in the top 25. That, plus our continued presence in college basketball, professional hockey and beloved Padres playing in one of the best parks in the country makes us a great sports town. The strong prospects of an MLS franchise is icing on the cake. That makes the loss of the Chargers, as I predicted it would be just a few weeks ago, no big loss and, quite arguably, a huge gain.

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