The 2014 MLS regular season came to a close on Sunday, and with it so did the 10-year run of Chivas USA. With a press release today, MLS announced its plans to fold the Chivas USA franchise and launch a new Los Angeles expansion club in 2017.
Despite catering to the substantial Latino population in Southern California, the franchise was never able to thrive in the Los Angeles market. Chivas USA attendance consistently lagged, and amid the club’s sale this year, fans stayed away altogether as the team was dead last in attendance by a wide margin.
By rebooting in L.A., MLS and the expansion franchise’s deep-pocketed ownership group that includes Dodgers co-owner Peter Guber feels that the market remains capable of supporting two MLS teams. Rather than shutter and rebrand Chivas USA, today’s announcement signals a fresh start for the new ownership.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber remains bullish on the prospects of the new franchise,
As part of our new strategy for Southern California — a major hotbed of soccer participation and fan support — we believe that engaging with a new ownership group which has the resources and local community ties, and a plan for a dedicated soccer-specific stadium, provides us with the best chance for success.
This group now has three years to find the support to build its own soccer-specific stadium, a critical component to success in the MLS. Having a high-profile ownership group with ties to L.A. will be critical in accomplishing that. Then, the challenge for the franchise will be to find space in the already crowded L.A. sports and entertainment market.