With the now-official move of the Atlanta Braves' AAA team to Gwinnett County, the question for Atlanta soccer fans hoping to snag an expansion team in the next few years is WHERE????????
The northeastern suburb county had been proposed as a potential site for a new SSS, but with the construction of a new baseball stadium costing $38 million dollars, things look bleak for a potential investor looking at Gwinnett. County officials say they "hope" to pay for the new baseball stadium with private financing, something that would also be critical to a new MLS team coming to Atlanta. Face it my fellow Atlantans, a tax referendum couldn't be passed by voters in any part of the surrounding Atlanta area to pay for a soccer stadium. It's not going to happen in any of our lifetimes.
And for me, there are two major reasons why MLS in Gwinnett is a dead option: political apathy and an oversaturated market.
County Commissioner Bert Nasuti is quoted as saying that MLS has no plans for expansion, although there has been talk of bringing a MLS team to Gwinnett. Well, we all know this ISN'T true, as MLS is expanding in leaps and bounds. They'll practically give you a team nowadays if you're willing to build a SSS. To say that "MLS has no plans for expansion" shows just how much county officials know and care about having MLS in their county.
And with the new Braves minor-league team starting play in 2009, Gwinnett County residents will now have three sports teams to pick and choose from. The Gwinnett Gladiators of the East Coast Hockey League and the Georgia Force of the Arena Football League already play at the Arena at Gwinnett Center, a 12,000-seat arena right off I-85. I know the Force have been moving back and forth between Philips Arena and the Gwinnett Center, but if they stay in Gwinnett, that'll be just another roadblock to success in Gwinnett.
So I ask of you Cupcake Nation, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?