Besides for Ohio, which is on the Eastern end of the Midwest, the region is relatively untouched by the MLL. One would expect the league would want to change that, especially with talks of the league trying to expand outside of the East. Could a city like St. Louis be a possibility down the road?
Geographically it does make sense. It gives Denver a team that is closer than any other in the league currently, something the league would like. It also serves as a middle ground for teams that could possibly be added on the West coast and the already established eastern teams.
Now comes the question on where the team would play in the city, and this lead me to many loose ends. Of course at this point I ignore NFL stadiums, as they are much too large. Soccer stadiums and small football stadiums are the target venue, but St. Louis seems to lack midsized ones. The Anheuser-Busch Center, a soccer complex, only holds about 6,200 people. Hermann Stadium, home of the St. Louis University Billikens, holds even less (just over 6,000 people). This led me to believe the league should look somewhere else.
Move over a few hours West and you get to Missouri’s other large metropolitan area, Kansas City. Here we have what is my perfect venue in the Livestrong Sporting Park. Home to Sporting Kansas City, the complex was just built in 2011 and holds 18,467 people. Its been a finalist for the “Venue Of The Year”, “Sports Facility Of The Year”, and the “New Venue Award.” Perfect size, PerfectÂ facility. If the MLL is able to seal a deal on the lease this would seem much more attractive to them.
The other question is whether a midwestern city that isn’t in Ohio is ready to support a MLL franchise. The sport is just really planting its roots there, as it is not an established market at all. However sometimes a team helps spur that growth. Its really very hard to tell because its quite untested. This could scare away the league or intrigue them, depending on their outlook.
The Midwest seems like a likely place for the league to go in the coming years, and St. Louis and Kansas City should definitely be on their radar. Other cities like Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Indianapolis will all be considered as well. So even though I wouldn’t bet my money on it, it would not surprise me if a Missouri based team was one of the 8 expansion teams the league hopes to have by 2020.
Remember if this is your first read of an MLL Expansion Ideas article you can check out my other ones, including Florida, Atlanta, Seattle, Dallas, Minnesota, Portland, and California. Where would you like me to stop next on my MLL scouting tour? Comment below!