There have been rumors for years now about MLS franchises relocating to Houston, or the Mexican club America buying a franchise and putting it in Houston. So much so that I've kind of decided to stop getting my hopes up about this sort of thing.
But...then we keep getting teased with things like this:
University of Houston athletic director Dave Maggard on Thursday said his office has had discussions with officials from San Jose Earthquakes owner Anschutz Entertainment Group regarding a possible move by the MLS franchise to Houston, with the university's stadium serving as a temporary home. "We've talked to them a little bit," Maggard said. "We've made no deal. We have a lot of things to look at and consider. I'll say this: I'd be very open to doing something if the arrangement would be mutually beneficial."
Meanwhile, Club América had expressed interest in moving its potential U.S. franchise to the Astrodome on a temporary basis. But the latest news by Astrodome Redevelopment could hamper América's plans, as the proposal's final approval by the Harris County Commissioners Court is not expected until late in the year or early next year. América reportedly was aiming to have a team for the 2006 MLS season, so it was counting on the county to make a quicker and likely unfavorable decision regarding Astrodome Redevelopment's proposal.
Scheduling conflicts, parking and the increased use of the Robertson Stadium field are among the issues that have been discussed by Maggard and AEG officials. Maggard said the most viable solution to the latter concern would be to install artificial turf, but that would require sharing the cost of the installation and maintenance.
Maggard also said financial aspects of a potential one- to two-year deal for use of the stadium have come up, but no conclusions have been made. But he added that because AEG has indicated it would like to have a team in place at Robertson for the spring of 2006, "discussions likely will speed up."
I'll try not to get my hopes up...but I'll keep my fingers crossed.