Barcelona has decided to pull out of Miami. A frustrated Miami could not be reached for comment (rim shot please).
This comes as no surprise considering the economic downturn. FC Barcelona, a perennial powerhouse in Spain, has huge financial constraints in terms of player contracts and personnel. For them to basically open a spanish subsidiary of their own team would require an outlay of 40 Million just to get the franchise. With infrastructure costs added in as well as the cost of constructing a new soccer specific stadium, Barcelona would be in for hundreds of millions more.
There is also no guarantee of success. One look at Chivas USA, the offshoot of Mexican club Chivas Guadalajara, would show that despite a loyal fan base, there are numerous barriers to sustained success in MLS. Salary cap, limits on international players, and Roster size to name a few.
However, one can't help but wonder if the decision to withdraw the expansion bid stems from the poor press MLS has received in the European market over David Beckham and his bid to stay with AC Milan.