Blank on the brink of bringing MLS team to Atlanta

Soccer in the United States has never been and probably never will be as popular as the three other major sports. However, the popularity of the sport has grown. Major League Soccer (MLS), the United States’ top-tier professional league, now has 19 teams. According to a 2013 Forbes article by Alex Morrell, aver- age attendance has surged to 18,600, which is a 35 percent increase from 2000. There has never been a better time to own an MLS team. The MLS is looking to grow, and in addition to adding a team in Orlando, the MLS is considering bringing a team to Atlanta.

The city of Atlanta is growing and its demographics will continue to change over the next 10 years. Atlanta is home to people and cultures from all over the world. Particularly intriguing to the MLS is the large Hispanic population of Atlanta. Soccer is by far the most popular sport among people of Hispanic heritage. According the research by Pew Research, Atlanta has the 19th-largest Hispanic population in the United States, with around 530,000 Hispanics or close to 11 percent of Atlanta’s total population. Seven of the cities with a higher Hispanic population already have an MLS team. The more attractive number that the MLS should look at is that about 54 percent of those 530,000 Hispanics are foreign born.

The city of Atlanta has already decided to build a new baseball stadium and football stadium. The baseball stadium is planned to be moved, meaning Turner Field will be empty. A new soccer team could inhabit Turner Field when the Braves leave. Renovations will need to be made, but it is a much cheaper option for the city and MLS. After losing the Atlanta Thrashers, the city of Atlanta yearns for another professional sports team to root for. The combination of the large Hispanic population and the projected growth of the population over the next 10 years make Atlanta a viable and enticing city to place a soccer team.


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