There’s a sweeping craze going on across this nation. If you was on Twitter or any other social media site between the hours of 5:00 PM and 8:00PM you’d know about the United States vs Portugal Football match. No I’m not talking about the style of football most of us Americans are accustomed to. *note* I call it football because the majority of the world calls it as such.
Last weekend the United States vs Ghana match drew approximately 11 million TV viewers, one must assume that the US vs Portugal drew an even bigger audience and the Germany match on Thursday may draw even more.
So what does this have to do with Pittsburgh and the Riverhounds (‘Hounds)?
It means that the game of football is growing in the United States, so why shouldn’t Pittsburgh try to capitalize on the growth of the sport and the MLS (Major League Soccer).
For Pittsburgh, it’s another major sports league to come into town, which equals more revenue brought into the town. And on top of a traditional MLS schedule, MLS teams have the opportunity to play in the US Open Cup and the CONCAFCAF Champions League, which would be akin to a North American style Premier League. If the ‘Hounds were to qualify for the CONCAFCAF we could see teams as far away as Central America come into Pittsburgh.
The ‘Hounds built their own stadium in Highmark Stadium, on the Southside, that opened in 2013. It currently seats 3K fans, and can expand to 18K fans. What’s even better is that the “Hounds ownership group were the ones that built the stadium.
How can the people of Pittsburgh not support such an organization?!
Football is definitely growing in the area as more local high schools are adding the sport on a biannual basis, when the PIAA does their realignment. And believe it or not, but as many kids are playing football as baseball these days. Having an MLS team in the local area will spur even more HS teams and increase the popularity of the game even more.
The decision to upgrade the ‘Hounds will ultimately come from the MLS, and the MLS has given Pittsburgh consideration in the past. But I believe that the city of Pittsburgh and the Riverhounds’ organization should press the issue to become the MLS’s 22nd team in the coming years.