St. Louis should trade the Rams for an MLS team

By Tyler Dixon

Check out the infographic below before or after the article to learn more about soccer viewership around the world.

David Beckham recently said he was going to bring a Major League Soccer team to Miami; St. Louis has to be be the next city to get an MLS franchise.

In the last year, St. Louis hosted three soccer games. Two games featured club teams and one was an international friendly.

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In the first game, held at Busch Stadium, Chelsea and Manchester City from the Barclay’s Premier League played in front of more than 48,000 fans. Then Inter Milan and Real Madrid played at the Edward Jones Dome, the home of the Rams, to more than 54,000 fans. It was the largest attendance for a soccer game in St. Louis. Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina faced off at Busch Stadium for a friendly where colder weather most likely contributed to the lower attendance of around 30,000.

If the MLS still has to figure out if St. Louis can support a team then it has not done its job correctly. If it wants the sport to grow, why not give a city with the rich history that St. Louis has a team?

The youth soccer program in St. Louis is massive. Before the first game at Busch Stadium, every parking lot was filled with kids playing soccer. The city brought in some of the tops clubs in the world to help show they can support a soccer team, but can they?

St. Louis has a few indoor teams but that’s about it. The St. Louis Ambush recently started their season in November. St. Louis University is one of the most successful college programs in the country. New York City FC was named one of the newest expansion teams last year; it is in part owned by Manchester City.

The city currently has three professional sports teams. If they were to get a team then they would have to build a stadium downtown in place of the Edwards Jones Dome or move it to the suburbs. There has been speculation of the Rams moving to Los Angeles but that is only gossip right now. 

St. Louis needs soccer, that’s all there is to it. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, not in the U.S., but it’s growing. It has a rich tradition in the city as well.

The FIFA World Cup is one of the most watched sporting events in the world. The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa was broadcast in more than 200 countries. According to the FIFA website, 715.1 million people watched the final match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

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In December of 2013, the MLS named five cities that were rumored to be next in line for a franchise. Miami was on the list and we already know how that turned out. The other cities were Atlanta, Minneapolis, San Antonio and St. Louis. The closest MLS team to St. Louis is Sporting Kansas City who has had very good attendance recently. They even won the MLS Cup this past season when they beat Real Salt Lake in penalty kicks.

Soccer is always growing. It’s constantly expanding into more rural areas through youth leagues.

MLS, get it together, give St. Louis a team and then reap the rewards that will come.

Sports Around the World: How Does Soccer Stand Up? What viewership     Looks Like                    (in millions) | Create Infographics

Tyler Dixon can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter @tdixon_DE or 536-3311 ext. 256

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