New Basketball League Tips Off To Mixed Reviews

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The new Big3 basketball league, which is a 3-on-3 league created by Ice Cube and featuring former NBA players, tipped off this weekend at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in front of 15,177 fans.  Four games with all eight of the league’s teams played.

All of the teams have fantasy-like team names such as the Power, coached by former NBA star Clyde Drexler coaching the Power which beat Tri-State 62-58 on a game-winning three-pointer from 13-year NBA veteran DeShawn Stevenson.

The game’s unique rules may need some tweaking as some games lasted longer than necessary.  Instead of using a game clock, the teams play to 60 points and a two-point lead to win.  The rules also have four-point shots from three spots on the floor.   However, some games had long stretches that were scoreless and some of the quality of play looked like a game of retired NBA stars.

Results from the first games:

  • 3-Headed Monsters 62, Ghost Ballers 60 – Rashard Lewis led the 3-Headed Monsters with 27 points.  Trailing 60-59, Lewis scored and drew a foul, making the free throw to win the game.
  • Power 62, Tri State 58 –  DeShawn Stevenson finished with 20 points for the Power, making five 3-pointers. Cory Maggette scored 15 and Cuttino Mobley had 14.  Jermaine O’Neal scored 18 points for Tri State, coached by Hall of Famer Julius Erving. Mike James had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
  • 3’s Company 61, Ball Hogs 51 – Andre Owens had 20 points and 15 rebounds for Allen Iverson’s team. DerMarr Johnson added 14 points and Al Thornton scored 13.Iverson finished 1 for 6 with two assists.  Rasual Butler made six 3-pointers and scored 22 points for the Ball Hogs. Derrick Byars chipped in 19.
  • Triology 60, Killer 3’s 45 – Al Harrington scored 25 points as Trilogy cruised in the final game of the day. James White added 16.  Reggie Evans scored 18 and Stephen Jackson 17 for the Killer 3’s.

The league has received mixed reviews from the first weekend.  Some like the style of play while other do not.  The teams will have 10 more weekends to win over their critics and fans as they will finish with the championship game in Las Vegas on August 26.

The teams will play this weekend in Charlotte, N.C.

For more information about the league:  Big3

 

Happy (and Holy) Campers

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Rare photo of me at church camp (1990s)

It’s summer time.  When this time of year rolls around I think back to the summers when I attended week-long church summer camps in Georgia.  We called it Youth Camp.  I have a lot of memories and formed a lot of friendships from those years.  It wasn’t your normal summer camp.

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I am just right of the kid holding the sign (1975)

My first year to attend was in the summer of 1975.  My Dad was working in the camp as a counselor for one of the cabins and he was also teaching a class.  The first camp I attended was in Pine Mountain just outside of Columbus.  It was quite a new experience for me as the only church I knew was our local congregation.  There weren’t many people my age in our local church and then I attend a camp where it is an overload of kids my age.  I didn’t my first church camp experience and didn’t return the next summer.

In the summer of 1977 our state headquarters started having camps at our own campground in a place called Camp Echeconnee located west of Macon.   Due to a fire in the kitchen, the first week of camp was postponed and my camp ended up being the first camp held there.  It wasn’t anything like it is today.  In camp standards – we roughed it.  ?During that week, someone thought it would be a good idea for us to go on a hike and when we returned several campers had chiggers.  I’m itching again just thinking about that.

I continued attending camp until I left for the United States Air Force in 1982.  When I returned to Georgia in 1985, I tried my effort at being a cabin counselor.  I can tell you that was a whole different experience.  It was a lot of work but it was also very rewarding too.

If you look back through photos or old camp annuals you probably will find little evidence prove that I attended since I wasn’t one of the popular ones at camp.  The popular ones got the most of the attention of the photographers.   I was always an introvert so it really didn’t matter to me.  I just wanted to keep from looking stupid most of the time.

camp2As you would think with a church camp, it was about church obviously.  We had church services every night.  During my days, we knew a lot about revivals and having church every night.  That was nothing new.  We were also a Pentecostal group so you know we had some wild times and there are some stories I could tell you.  One thing I look back and laugh about was during that first camp, we had our church service under a picnic pavilion.  A group of guys were “in the spirit” and running around the outside of the pavilion.  When me and another kid decided to join them the guy in front stopped and looked at us and said, “You guys are only running around because we are.”   He seemed to be put off that we were joining them.  I laugh about that now.

Some other unique things about youth camp in those days were that they would not allow us to wear shorts or anything “worldly”.  Girls were allowed to wear pants but encouraged to wear dresses to church services every night.   We also had separate times for swimming at the camp swimming pool.  Boys and Girls could not swim together.  It was considered “mixed bathing” and a no-no in our church rules.

Yes, there was a lot of church but we had fun too.  Aside from the chigger incident, we got to have lots of recreation time.  Honestly, that was probably my favorite time.  I loved playing basketball although I wasn’t any good at it.  Another favorite was what they called “Killer Ball” (Yes, at a church camp no less) but it was just a variation of Dodgeball.

We had a schedule that included devotions, singing, Bible classes and other classes like learning how to do CPR.  Church camp was the first place I learned how to do CPR.  We also had fun time which would be anything fun for the campers like water gun fights, group games, field day type activities.

On the Friday night of camp it was a tradition to have a camp banquet where it was a non-spoken thing that guys would ask a girl to the banquet and sit together although any signs of affection were totally prohibited.   I attended many, many camps where guys were just thinking they were all that and, of course, had their pick of who to ask.  Me?  Yeah, right.  Mr. Introverted, All-Dressed-Up-And-No-Place-To-Go guy?  Oh I tried but I crashed and burned in my attempts to secure a “date” to the banquet during the entirety of my camp career.  Now I look back and see how overrated all that was.  We were just going to the same cafeteria to sit together and eat a fancied up meal and see who were going to get various awards that the camp gave out.

Speaking of the meals…..let me tell you the meals were always good.  I can’t remember ever complaining about the meals at camp.  The cooks there were awesome.

Camp was probably one of the first places I learned about how to budget.  In those days we bought a “snack shack” card which we used throughout the week for sodas, candy and other snacks.  Workers would punch the card for what you would purchase.  I had to manage my card so that I wouldn’t run out before the end of the week.  Somehow I seemed to manage okay in those ancient days before debit/credit cards.

Let me say that most of the time, kids were WILD.  I guess from all the Pentecostalism at home in their local churches they cut loose at camp.  Forget about getting much sleep because there were all kinds of activities after lights out.  You learned to sleep with one eye open.  If not,  your bunk would end up in the shower or shaving cream would mysteriously appear on your face.

A successful camp for camp directors would be how many kids got saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost.   It was a good camp if everyone got some or all of those check marks.  Counselors in the early days would brag about how many kids in their cabin were saved.

I have to say that I will never forget some of the amazing people that I got to know at church camp.  Yes we had some of that strange Pentecostal thing going but aside from that craziness, there were some good people and experiences mixed in the madness.  No, I never attempted to run about the building again and I never got the hang of speaking in tongues but I did get some good foundation in spite of those things.   When you get older you just sort through all of that and find the good from it.

Camp is a lot different now.  There are no rules against wearing shorts.  There is air conditioning.  The chapel has carpet and padded seats.   The gym doesn’t double as the chapel now with metal chairs.   I wonder how they handle the whole issue of social media and kids having their smart phones now.  I am sure it is a challenge for workers now.  It was always a unique experience to disconnect from the real world for a week.

Several of my camp friends have become pastors, teachers and careers in the church.  I keep in touch with many of them through social media.  We always think back to those days when the summer arrives each year.

Yes, we got a lot of God during that week but there is nothing wrong with that.

Friday Flashback: International Volleyball Association (IVA)

IVA2Volleyball has always been one sport that I thought could be a professional sport during the summer months while the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) were in hibernation.  Over the years, the beach version has overshadowed the indoor game.  During the 1970s there was an attempt to create a major league with the International Volleyball Association (IVA).

The IVA was a co-ed professional league which lasted from 1975 to 1980.  Most of the team were located in the western United States.  Teams in the league were:  Santa Barbara Spikers (1975-1979), El Paso-Juarez Sol (1975-1977), Los Angeles/Orange County Stars (1975-1978), San Diego Breakers (1975-1978), Southern California Bangers (1975), Tucson Turquoise (1976), Tucson Sky (1977-1979), Phoenix Heat (1976-1977), Denver Comets (1976-1977), Seattle Smashers (1978-1979), Albuquerque Lasers (1979), Salt Lake City Stingers (1979) and San Jose Diablos (1979).

The most notable player was former NBA great Wilt Chamberlain who played with the Seattle Smashers in 1977.   Chamberlain also played in the IVA’s All-Star Game which was televised on CBS.  He also played in three games for the Albuquerque Lasers in 1979.  Chamberlain was involved with the league from the beginning serving as the Commissioner during the late 1970s.

League champions were:

  • 1975 – Los Angeles Stars
  • 1976 – San Diego Breakers
  • 1977 – Orange County Stars
  • 1978 – Santa Barbara Spikers
  • 1979 – Tucson Sky

The IVA featured two women and four men on the court at all times.  The league did manage to attract the world’s top volleyball talent during its existence.  Mary Jo Peppler, Lino De Gama and Ed Skorek were just a few of the international players that appeared on team rosters.

The Denver Comets  were one of the league’s most stable franchises.  However, in July 1979 government agents raided the offices of the team and arrested team owners along with other team employees on charges of running a multi-state cocaine and marijuana trafficking operation.

The Salt Lake City Stingers had relativity strong fan support with an average of 2,000 per game and nearly 400 season ticket holders.  While most IVA teams played in small high school arenas, the Stingers played their home matches in the Salt Palace which was also home to the Utah Jazz of the NBA.

Most accounts claim that the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics was the final blow to the league.  The league had hoped the exposure of featured Olympians would help them with an expected television contract with ESPN.  The boycott forced many teams to fold.

 

 

 

Obscure Sports Page

The Obscure Sports Page is a weekly report of sports leagues in the United States that are unique or get little coverage from the sports media.

American 7s Football League (A7FL) – The league will get national exposure on ELEVEN Sports Network on Sunday, July 9th for the A7FL Championship Game.  The league’s third championship game will be played at Palisades Credit Union Park.   NJ Paterson U, NJ Savage, PA Immortalz, NJ BIC, NJ Chiefs, Baltimore Kings, Baltimore Gators and PA Dynasty will begin the playoffs this weekend.

American Flag Football League (AFFL) – The league’s inaugural “test” game will be played on Tuesday, June 27th at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California.  The game will feature Michael Vick, Chad Ochocinco and Justin Forsett.   The league has advertised to be a modern version of flag football and will feature several technical innovations to the game.

American Hockey League (AHL) – Martin Frk scored the winning goal with 7:19 left in regulation to give the Grand Rapids Griffins a 4-3 win in Game 6 of the Calder Cup finals to defeat the Syracuse Crunch.  This is the Griffins’ second Calder Cup title in five years.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The league’s “Cross Coast Challenge” concluded last weekend with a high scoring game in Toronto.  The Rush overcame an early three goal deficit for a 33-27 win over San Francisco.  After trailing 16-15 at halftime, the Rush went on a 5-1 run to start the second half and never looked back.  The current division leaders are:  South-Raleigh (10-1), East-Toronto (8-3), Midwest-Minnesota (8-1) and West-San Francisco (7-3)

Arena Football League (AFL) – Philadelphia Soul running back, Mykel Benson, became the fifth player to rush for 100 touchdowns in league history.  He joined the elite group on his second touchdown in the win over Tampa Bay.   The Soul remain undefeated and on top of the league at 9-0 followed by Tampa Bay (7-2), Cleveland (3-7), Baltimore (2-6) and Washington (1-7).

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Richmond Roughriders win the APF title over the Florida Tarpons

 

Arena Pro Football (APF) –  The Richmond Roughriders won the championship over the Florida Tarpons 74-61.  On the game’s final play, Tarpons’ quarterback Chris Wallace rolled to his left looking for a receiver.  Two Roughrider defenders closed in on Wallace as he hurried the pass which was intercepted by linebacker Malique Johnson who returned it for a touchdown to end the game and give the Roughriders the title. Richmond (8-0) completed an undefeated season.  Although the Roughriders claimed the first title in the APF, it will be their last in the league as it is set to merge with the CAN-AM Indoor Football League to form the American Arena League but Roughriders’ owner isn’t sure about following the rest of the league into the merger.  Owner Gregg Fornario is considering other options including the National Arena League (NAL) and Indoor Football League (IFL).

Big 3 Basketball League (BIG3) – The inaugural season of the 3-on-3 basketball league tips off this weekend in Brooklyn, NY at the Barclays Center.   The league was created by Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz.  The league will feature eight teams with former NBA players.

Champions Indoor Football League (CIF) –  The Omaha Beef will face the Texas Revolution on Friday for the CIF title.  Omaha defeated the Sioux City Bandits 55-45 and Texas got past the Amarillo Venom 77-71 in the semifinals.

Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) –  Here are the current Top 10 rankings in the GDFL:

  1. Oklahoma Thunder
  2. Alabama Sabers
  3. Chattanooga Eagles
  4. Missouri Cyclones
  5. Huntsville Rockets
  6. North Mississippi Road Warriors
  7. Starkville Steeldogs
  8. River City Pythons
  9. Tri-City Outlaws
  10. Georgia Crush

Indoor Football League (IFL) – Nebraska Danger quarterback Drew Powell was named the league’s offensive player of the week after leading his team to a 59-44 win over the Wichita Falls Nighthawks.  Powell completed 17 of 23 passes for 167 yards and one touchdown.  He also rushed for 71 yards.  Sioux Falls Storm defensive back Rashard Smith was the defensive player of the week as he helped his team end the Iowa Barnstormers’ 11-game winning streak returning an interception 49 yards for a touchdown to give the Storm a 21-point lead with less than five minutes left.

Major League Futsal (MLF) –  Diablos Ensenda MX leads the Men’s Pro Division with 18 points.  The Women’s Pro Division is led by Alianza F.C. with 3 points.  Futsal is the official version indoor soccer which played without dasher boards.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) –  Davey Emala and Will Manny combined for eight goals in Boston’s 16-9 win over the Outlaws in Denver on Saturday night. The win avenged Boston’s loss to Denver two weeks ago.  Boston goalie Tyler Fiorito earned the Coca-Cola Player of the Game after stopping 20 of the 29 shots against him. He made eight saves and did not allow a goal in the fourth quarter.  The teams were within a goal of each other at the end of the first quarter and within two goals after the second quarter, but Boston pulled away by outscoring Denver by a 7-2 margin in the second half.   The loss drops Denver into a first place tie with the Ohio Machine (5-2).

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) –  Boston (3-0), Rochester (3-0), Austin (3-0) and Los Angeles (3-0) continue to lead their respective divisions early in the season.  Austin’s Monroe Augustine leads the Individual Quaffle Stats with 12 goals and nine assists.    This weekend’s matches will feature Boston hosting Ottawa and Phoenix at San Francisco.

National Arena League (NAL) – The playoffs are set for this weekend’s league semifinal games.  The Columbus Lions (9-3) will travel to play the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (9-1) while the Jacksonville Sharks (11-1) will host the Monterrey Steel (7-4).   The Steel upset the Sharks in the final regular season game last weekend 44-37.

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) – Here are the current standings for the league:

  1. USSSA Pride (8-2)
  2. Scrap Yard Dawgs (7-5)
  3. Chicago Bandits (9-7)
  4. Texas Charge (7-6)
  5. Akron Racers (5-7)
  6. Beijing Eagles (0-9)

North American Soccer League (NASL) –  Week 14 of the NASL Spring Season comes with another stern test of Miami FC’s title-winning credentials. Miami faces the New York Cosmos, who sit seven points behind along with the San Francisco Deltas in the table, on Saturday night. A win at Riccardo Silva Stadium would move Miami closer to gaining the Spring Championship. A loss, of course, would bring the rest of the pack a little closer.  The Deltas head north to take on FC Edmonton and the club has yet to lose on the road in league play. The other Saturday night kickoff gets underway in Cary as North Carolina FC squares off with Indy Eleven.  On Sunday, Jacksonville Armada FC hosts Puerto Rico FC as both sides look to rebound from conceding four goals apiece a weekend ago.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – The North Carolina Charge are still on top of the league with 21 points.  The Charge will play Boston this weekend.  Boston is in 9th place in the standings.

Supreme Indoor Football (SIF) – The Cape Fear Heroes had little trouble with the Cap City Bulls in the first round of the league playoffs.  The Heroes ran away with the game 63-14.  Unfortunately, there appears to be no information about the next round this weekend.

United Soccer League (USL) – Trevin Caesar had a hat trick and a highlight-reel assist to lead Sacramento Republic FC to a 6-2 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC in the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3 in front of a sellout crowd of 11,569 at Papa Murphy’s Park on Wednesday night.

Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) –  In the second round of the playoffs:

  • St. Louis Slam 69, Madison Blaze 8
  • Orlando Anarchy 57, Cincinnati Sizzle 6
  • Arkansas Wildcats 36, Austin Outlaws 6
  • Southern Oregon Lady Renegades 46, Rocky Mountain Thunderkatz 6
  • Toledo Reign 22, Maine Mayhem 7
  • Boston Renegades 27, DC Divas 24
  • Chicago Force 45, Pittsburgh Passion 0
  • Dallas Elite 53, Minnesota Vixen 0
  • Montreal Blitz 49, New York Sharks 27
  • Tampa Bay Inferno 35, Carolina Phoenix 26
  • San Diego Surge 35, Central California War Angels 34
  • Mile High Blaze 28, Sin City Trojans 14

This week’s schedule for the third round:

  • Chicago at Boston
  • San Diego at Dallas
  • Tampa Bay at Montreal
  • Mile High at St. Louis
  • Orlando at Toledo
  • Arkansas at S. Oregon

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) –  Glory Johnson recorded her fourth 20-point game of the season to help the Wings get their second consecutive win over the Stars, 81-78. Johnson ended the day recording her sixth double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Throughout the game, the Wings found themselves down by as much as 14, then were lifted back up when Skylar Diggins-Smith drove it up the lane late in the fourth quarter sinking a layup and a chance to make the 3-point play, when a foul was also called on San Antonio’s Erica deSouza. At the line, Diggins-Smith completed the play to give the Wings a one point lead over the Stars 79-78. The team sealed the win, when Karima Christmas-Kelly was sent to the foul line and sunk one to put the Wings up 81-78.  Three Wings players recorded double figures for the day. Diggins-Smith and Christmas-Kelly scored 16 points, with Diggins-Smith leading the team in assists dishing out six.

First Timer At The Grand Ole Opry

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Let me start off by saying that I have not been known as a Country Music fan but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally listen to it.  I do listen to it more now since living in Nashville.  You just can’t help it.  I mean, this IS the Country Music capital of the world.   You can’t exactly run around the Music City with fingers in your ears.  I have realized now that when scanning radio stations, I don’t always scan past the Country stations.

Last night my wife and I attended the Grand Ole Opry for the first time.  We were not disappointed.

My extent of Country Music growing up was Hee Haw.  I don’t recall ever listening or watching the Grand Ole Opry before last night.

We were close to the stage.  I’m talking like four rows out.  It was awesome to be that close to the various acts.  Last night’s line up included:  Riders In The Sky, Raelynn, T. Graham Brown, Chuck Wicks, Danielle Bradberry, Dailey & Vincent, Bill Anderson and Kelsa Ballerini.  The only people I knew before last night were Bill Anderson and Kelsea Ballerini.

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Kelsea Ballerini performing at the Grand Ole Opry

 

Just a few facts that you should know about attending a performance at the Grand Ole Opry:

  • The show is a LIVE broadcast.  There is a worldwide radio audience listening to the show.
  • Each act performs three songs which is fine for some acts but for some you wish they performed longer.
  • Seating is long “church pew” seats so if you better hope everyone is within the average size.
  • The show isn’t like a concert.  It’s more like watching those old variety television shows in the 70s.
  • The Opry sells concessions but not quite like a movie theatre.  It’s best to get something to eat before the show.
  • Alcoholic beverages are sold but I really don’t think it’s necessary for something like this.
  • There is a 15-minute intermission during the show.   Good luck with going to the bathroom if you are a woman.
  • Traffic after the show is horrible since there are only two ways out of the area.
  • If you see someone you like, get your tickets early.

The Grand Ole Opry started on November 28, 1925 as a one-hour “barn dance” on a local radio station.  The phrase “Grand Ole Opry” began in 1927 when the show followed NBC’s Music Appreciation Hour which was a program of classical music and selections from the opera.  Opry presenter George Hay introduced harmonica player, DeFord Bailey by saying:  “For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely form the Grand Opera.  From now on, we will present the Grand Ole Opry.”

The Grand Ole Opry called the historic Ryman Auditorium home until a new 4,000-seat Opry House was built and moved the Opry there in 1974.  The new facility was more modern although they did include a section of the stage from the Ryman to include in the stage of the new Opry House.

Regular performers at the Grand Ole Opry become members from referrals of current Opry members.  Their membership must be maintained throughout their career with a minimum number of performances throughout their career.

The Opry features shows every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from March through November.

More than you wanted to know about the Grand Ole Opry?   Perhaps, but when you’re in Nashville you have to go at least once.  I’m glad we did and I’m thinking we might go back soon.  Sure, there were some acts I really wasn’t interested in but it was all entertaining.

For more information about the Grand Ole Opry or for tickets:  www.opry.com

Working With .VOB Files

In the various video file formats I have to work with in litigation, one of the most common are .VOB files.  A .VOB file is the container format in DVD-Video media files.  VOB (Video Object) files can contain digital video, digital audio, subtitles, DVD menus and navigation contents which are put together to stream the content of a DVD.

VOB
This is what a DVD-format video file looks like.

 

If you have a DVD and just want to play it, you will never need to know about .VOB files but when you have to convert it or capture clips from it you will need to find a way to do this.  Sometimes you can just simply play a .VOB file in Windows Media Player or Videolan (VLC) player separately.  There are times when you can simply change the file extension from .VOB to .MPG and it will work the same but it doesn’t always work depending on how the file is coded.  Although a VOB file is essentially an MPEG file, it could have additional data that might be needed.

Perhaps the safest way to convert a .VOB file is to use a video conversion program.  I sometimes use AnyVideoConverter.  Doing so will ensure you can keep it seamlessly and not risk losing any important information or any loss in quality.

If you need to convert a DVD to play in TrialDirector, there is a nifty program included which will make life easier.   It is called the inData Digital Video Disc (DVD) Extractor.  It is very easy to use and can export the output to MPEG-1 and MPEG-2.  This is a useful tool if your attorney hands you a DVD to put into TrialDirector.  This utility will extract the DVD format into a more user friendly form for TrialDirector.

DVDextractor
inData’s DVD Extractor utility helps convert DVD format to MPEG.

With an video conversion, you must always use caution that you aren’t altering the video file or degrading it in any way.  There have been some instances when I have converted a VOB file only to discover that the video and audio did not match up or the time code was missing or different than when the legal team reviewed the original DVD.  Also, you have to stress to the legal team to provide you with the video files with ample notice as sometimes conversion doesn’t always happen instantly.

Will NHL Predators’ Success Help Nashville’s MLS Bid?

preds-mls

During the Stanley Cup playoffs, the hockey world took notice of Nashville’s support for the Nashville Predators.  When fans couldn’t get tickets to the game, they filled the streets of Lower Broadway, Walk of Fame Park and other locations downtown painting the town gold.  Yes, Nashville embraced hockey.  Watching and being a part of the Predators’ amazing journey this season, I wondered if what happened here could help Nashville’s quest for a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team.

Nashville is one of 12 cities on the list for four slots that the league plans to expand to take the league to 28 teams.  Nashville joins Sacramento, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, San Antonio, Raleigh, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Phoenix, San Diego and Detroit.

I  would think that the city of Nashville only helped their cause with the success of the Predators’ and a sport which people probably never thought would take in the Music City.  One thing that helps Nashville is that there is no other professional sports teams that would compete with MLS in the bulk of the regular season.  They would compete with the Predators in the first 1/3 of the season and then the Titans in the last 1/3.  There is definitely a big gap where a team would get the support since the city does not have a Major League Baseball team.  In fact, six of the 12 on the list would not have competition with baseball.  They all have minor league teams but I don’t see that as real competition with professional soccer.

The United States national teams have done well with matches here.  The four games between 2006 and 2015 averaged 31,998 fans, which was something that attracted CONCACAF Gold Cup to have matches in Nashville this summer.  On July 8th, the United States will play Panama and Martinique will play Nicaragua.  Also, more than 40,000 filled Nissan Stadium in October for a match between Mexico and New Zealand.

Even Nashville Mayor Megan Barry expressed her thoughts about how the Predators’ success should help the city’s bid.

“I have to tell you if you were an MLS official and you watched any fan participation for the Predators, I can’t believe you wouldn’t think this is a place that would be supportive of a soccer team.”

Most soccer experts list Nashville as 7th on their list of the 12 cities.  One thing that might detract from Nashville is that the city is an unknown as far as a soccer fan base.  Sure, the Predators had incredible support but would that translate to support for an MLS franchise?  Unfortunately, I think cities with past professional soccer teams in the old NASL (St. Louis, Tampa Bay, San Diego and Detroit) seem to be sentimental favorites.  Personally, I think I would mix it up if I were MLS officials.  Maybe include two old favorites and two cities who have never had a team.

Nashville already has support from the local community to build a stadium for an MLS team.  That is always a huge hurdle for a city to strengthen their position for an expansion team.

Here is my personal (non-soccer expert) ranking of the list of cities.  The numbers indicate professional sports teams:

  1. Tampa Bay (3)
  2. Phoenix (4)
  3. San Diego (1)  – Remember the Chargers have moved to LA
  4. Nashville (2)
  5. St. Louis (2)
  6. Charlotte (2)
  7. Cincinnati (2)
  8. San Antonio (1)
  9. Raleigh (1)
  10. Indianapolis (2)
  11. Sacramento (1)
  12. Detroit (4)

The Predators’ success certainly helped Nashville’s chances but is it enough to put them in the top four?  Another factor in the process is Miami’s on/off bid for an MLS team.  Who knows how that situation will work out?  Miami could be the factor that bumps Nashville out.  Of course, both Miami and Tampa had MLS franchises but lost them.

The next two expansion teams are planned to join the league in 2020.  With the length of time between now and the next decision for the next two teams, you also wonder how long the Predators’ success this season will stay in the minds of those on the MLS expansion committee.  But, the Music City will have several opportunities to show their support for soccer on their own with the upcoming Gold Cup games and other friendlies being hosted at Nissan Stadium.

Honky Tonkin and Corner Kicks in the Music City?  It isn’t so far-fetched.