Speaking to members of the media on Tuesday, MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott admitted that the sale and re-branding of Chivas USA has "been a challenge," but reaffirmed the league's desire to keep the club in the L.A. market. "Nobody said it was an ideal situation", Abbott went on, "but what I would say is that the ultimate resolution for this would have been worth it." Abbott, who expressed that he has no timetable for the sale, confirmed with MLSSoccer.com that the team could very well go into 2015 and play as Chivas USA playing at StubHub Center.
Many fans and pundits alike have interpreted the absence of news or rumors of a new ownership group as a sign of disinterest. Not so, says Abbott: "I have been meeting with respective owners, I personally have been spending time on that for the last several months". Amid the uncertainty, Chivas USA have been drawing an average 6,637 fans per game, a drop of 20% from last year. Roughly moving 1.5% of the MLS turnstiles. Colorado, with the league's second lowest attendance, still draws 8,000 more fans on average than Chivas USA.
Unlike the situation in New York or Miami, there is no shortage of suitable sites for a soccer-specific-stadium, though Abbott admitted that Chivas USA could go into 2015 playing at the StubHub Center. "We’ve talked about the University of Southern California as a site. There are other sites but we haven’t spent as much time on that. At USC, the idea is a simple one: to tear down the [Los Angeles Memorial] Sports Arena and put up a soccer stadium. But I’m sure there will be other opportunities and other ideas."
MLS asking $60 million for Chivas USA property. It's a fixer-upper. At least one curious party to meet with league execs.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) August 4, 2014
Earlier this week, the highly reputable Steve Goff tweeted that the asking price for the team had fallen to $60 million--$15 million less than the supposed $75 million the league paid Jorge Vergara and far less than the $100 million franchise fee. Abbott disputed this while not going into specifics other than to say a purchase price would be "significantly higher" than the estimated $70 million Orlando paid for their expansion team.