Meg Linehan says that the Salt Lake City-to-Kansas City deal is happening:
In a lot of ways this is bitter hard. For the Utah fans, in particular, who have turned out for the Royals in a way the Kansas City fanbase never did for the Blues over four seasons – and two championships! For the league, that appears to have been forced to accept the Longs’ offer rather than let the team fold. For the players who came from KC in 2017 who have to move for the second time in three years. And for the women’s game in general, which has to endure another frustrating one-step-forward-one-step-back stutter after the Louisville expansion.
The big question in my mind is Sporting KC. Right now the MLS team is being pretty rotten about not even opening discussions about sharing Children’s Mercy Park. For the Blues to have to go back to playing at dinky little Swope – or worse – would be troubling. As we’ve seen (such as Sky Blue playing at Red Bull) if you build it they’ll come, at least to some extent. But SKC seems determined to be impossible about this, so I’m not sure what options the new-look FCKC will have.
One thing I would enjoy, were it to reoccur, would be a renewed rivalry with The Blues. To me they were the Thorns’ “rival team” before The Damned Courage and the first real rivals we had; then-Seattle was just too sad back in the day. Obviously a lot of that was Vlatko and how he shaped those squads in his image. But I still think of FCKC as our rivals to a degree that they never seemed to equal after they moved to Utah.
But perhaps I’m looking for a silver lining to what has to be at least a small dark cloud over Rio Tinto right now…
Update 12/8: Linehan interview with the Longs re: FCKC v2.0 here.
For those outside the Athletic paywall, here’s the most interesting bit:
Angie Long:“We have a place that we are super excited to play in…” (Linehan adds: “multiple sources have told The Athletic the team plans to play at T-Bones Stadium)
[JL comment: for those of you not Wiz fans, this was “ComMerica Park”, the baseball diamond where the MLS franchise used to play back in the Oughts. It seats about 6-7,000 and is about a teeny step up from the Rainier’s field in Tacoma, if that.]
The rest is pretty much all just the standard owner boilerplate.
I think it’s interesting that the Longs have accepted that SKC is NOT going to even talk to them, and have agreed instead to settle for a venue that MLS outgrew a decade ago.
I’m not sure if that’s “accepting reality” or “the tyranny of low expectations”, but apparently that’s what they’re going with.
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7 thoughts on “Royals Flushed?”
At this point I think we just have to hope that the Longs have a plan; surely they’re not buying the team just to have a dumpster to burn their money in. Of course, given the notorious transparency of the NWSL, we’ll be the first to hear what the plan is (once it’s publicly announced as a done deal.) (Do I need a /s here?)
We’re all annoyed at SKC for not even being willing to talk, but maybe they have a plan of their own. And it might not involve getting entangled with an off-again on-again franchise with no history of selling tickets.
I agree that FCKC was the Thorns chief rival in the early days, maybe along with Western NY. Here’s hoping the new owners get their stuff together, LePielbet turns into as great a coach as she was a player, and we can again love to hate someone besides the Damned.
I think the Longs have an overall plan. They’re massively wealthy. But there’s only so many venues practical, and SKC has the best one off-limits. I don’t think this is being done as some sort of tax-writeoff-loss-leader. But I think nobody really has a good stadium option figured out.
The thing is that all SKC has to do is be willing to negotiate. They don’t have to commit to anything. They don’t have a partner at CMP that they have to coordinate with. They’re just being dogs-in-a-manger, it seems.
I think at this point it’s NCC first, the rest nowhere. A lot of what made the old FCKC so good was Vlatko and whatever LePeilbet is she’s not Vlatko. But it’d be good to think that FCKC 2.0 can be better than the original in some ways (like support) and make this less of what it feels like, a step backwards…
It’s would have been a plus to have a draw like Press in the line up as they re-establish the franchise. That being said, the wizz fans better put up or shut up about being “soccer city usa”
I agree. It’s not often you get a second chance to have a professional soccer franchise. The Kansas City fanbase was AWOL for the Blues the last time. I certainly hope they aren’t going to be the same way this time.
I just read Linehan’s interview with the Longs. The odor of wishful thinking is unavoidable. Having a modest number of strong supporters is not the same as having thousands who feel strongly enough to buy a ticket week after week, especially to watch soccer on a baseball field. I hope there’s more to their plan than I can see.
If they’re ready to keep the money flowing, hopefully the team can survive until they have a decent venue.
I hope I’m reading this all wrong and they will find the fan base that eluded FCKC. At the moment I’m not convinced Portland’s soccer city claim is in much danger.
What stood out to me wasn’t just WISHful thinking but a sort of “magical” thinking. They did a lot of arm-waving about supporters and venues without saying anything that showed they had actual specific plans on how to deal with things like the hangover from the crash of the original FCKC – I think they’re being unduly optimistic about the lack of hard feelings and distrust left behind in an already-small fanbase, and how difficult it will be to sell this as a major league operation playing in “T-Bones Park”…
I certainly want this to succeed. But I’m certainly not more convinced by that interview. Seemed like a lot of sizzle without seeing signs of real steak.
I’m not sure I see a loot of daylight between our positions here. Bottom line: this is not convincing.
I wish them the best, and I certainly don’t want to see another team fold. We’ll see when the fans show up … or don’t.