New Kids on the Block

Atlanta United – the official name of the latest expansion franchise to be rubber stamped to join the Major League Soccer growth train.

Atlanta unveiled the whole thing – name, logo, colours and stadium – in a celebration to a raucous crowd eager for a piece of the new identity.

Open for business.

An impressive crowd turned out – whose size was further substantiated by the franchise owners. They claim that the club already boasts 7,500 members in its Founder’s Club – 4,000 of whom have pledged to purchase a collective 21,000 season tickets.

This is a solid start for a team who is still two years away from playing its first game.

Leading the charge.

The entrepreneur – and Home Depot co-founder – Arthur Blank is at the forefront of the Atlanta pursuit.

He made clear his ambition for the franchise; an ambition, which is altogether simple, inviting and inclusive – that is, building a winning product and a rewarding game-day experience. As a fan, you can’t ask for much more.

Given this isn’t his first foray into sports ownership – having owned the Atlanta Falcons NFL franchise since 2002 – that is likely the reason Atlanta’s progress to date has been without hick-up. He is also no stranger to the World of stadium development having also led the Flacon’s push to build a new stadium during his tenure.

#Bringyour‘A’game

A passionate night for Atlanta United fans was branded with #Bringyour‘A’game.

The “A” will be taking a leading role in Atlanta as they build the franchise from the ground up, with the owners strongly against a mascot or symbol to represent them. A gold “A” on top of red and black stripes with two gold circles make up the new logo – and then the rest of the brand is mandated to the franchise’s supporters to take ownership of.

There is a lot of road to travel before they make their entrance in 2017, but so far Atlanta United is a brand arriving with intention to make a difference.

Doing as you say is everything.

In stark contrast to the Atlanta United announcement, Minnesota United’s expansion plans – they were awarded franchise status in March this year – failed to meet a deadline to announce their stadium plans to the league.

Their initial proposal was for a $180 million downtown Minneapolis stadium, but after failing to win the property-tax exemptions required to make it financially viable, they missed their July 1st deadline to confirm to the league their next steps on moving the franchise forward.

They are now at a critical juncture looking at alternative options to keep the franchise in Minnesota. The capital and second-most populous city in Minnesota, Saint Paul’s, is an option.

Other kids on the block

Minnesota is on the rocks.

Atlanta is certainly on the up – next up is moving on from the commercial element and onto the operational side of things, starting from grassroots building a training ground and the team’s youth academy.

All this, while on the pitch some other new kids are make waves…

– Kaka shines and scores a solo goal reminiscent of his Brazil days and putting MLS standards firmly on the map. West Brom is not a push over side. They were easily pushed over here.

– Steven Gerrard arrived in L.A. in style helping to pull the Galaxy from the brink of defeat against San Jose Earthquakes. And in the process, before making this debut, was controversially named in the MLS All-Star squad.

– And with Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo due to make debuts soon enough, the upcoming All Star game against Tottenham should make for interesting viewing.

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