TL;DR: Man with too much time on his hands goes deep down the rabbit hole on a concept this sub already didn’t seem that enthusiastic about. If you really want to skip ahead, CTRL+F “verdict” and it’ll get you there. submitted by
Two days ago, u/MrPhillyj2wns
made a post asking whether USL should launch a D1 league
in order to compete in Concacaf. From the top voted replies, it appears this made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
But I’ve been at home for eight weeks and I am terribly, terribly bored.
So, I present to you this overview of what the USL pyramid might look like if Jake Edwards got a head of steam and attempted to establish a USSF-sanctioned first division. This is by no means an endorsement of such a proposal or even a suggestion that USL SHOULD do such a thing. It is merely an examination of whether they COULD.
Welcome to the
First, there are some base-level assumptions we must make in this exercise, because it makes me feel more scientific and not like a guy who wrote this on Sunday while watching the Belarusian Premier League (Go BATE Borisov!).
(Known) USSF D1 league requirements:
- All D1 teams must comply with known USSF requirements for D1 leagues (more on that later).
- MLS, not liking this move, will immediately remove all directly-owned affiliate clubs from the USL structure (this does not include hybrid ownerships, like San Antonio FC – NYCFC). This removes all MLS2 teams but will not affect Colorado Springs, Reno, RGVFC and San Antonio.
- The USL will attempt to maintain both the USL Championship and USL League One, with an eventual mind toward creating the pro/rel paradise that is promised in Relegations 3:16.
- All of my research regarding facility size and ownership net worth is correct – this is probably the biggest leap of faith we have to make, since googling “NAME net worth” and “CITY richest people” doesn’t seem guaranteed to return accurate results.
- The most a club can increase its available seating capacity to meet D1 requirements in a current stadium is no more than 1,500 seats (10% of the required 15,000). If they need to add more, they’ll need a new facility.
- Let’s pretend that people are VERY willing to sell. It’s commonly acknowledged that the USL is a more financially feasible route to owning a soccer club than in MLS (c.f. MLS-Charlotte’s reported $325 million expansion fee) and the USSF has some very strict requirements for D1 sanctioning. It becomes pretty apparent when googling a lot of team’s owners that this requirement isn’t met, so let’s assume everyone that can’t sells to people who meet the requirements.
- League must have 12 teams to apply and 14 teams by year three
- Majority owner must have a net worth of $40 million, and the ownership group must have a total net worth of $70 million. The value of an owned stadium is not considered when calculating this value.
- Must have teams located in the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones
- 75% of league’s teams must be based in markets with at a metro population of at least 1 million people.
- All league stadiums must have a capacity of at least 15,000
The ideal club candidate for the USL Premiership will meet the population and capacity requirements in its current ground, which will have a grass playing surface. Of the USL Championship’s 27 independent/hybrid affiliate clubs, I did not find one club that meets all these criteria as they currently stand.
Regarding turf fields, the USSF does not have a formal policy regarding the ideal playing surface but it is generally acknowledged that grass is superior to turf. 6 of 26 MLS stadiums utilize turf, or roughly 23% of stadiums. We’ll hold a similar restriction for our top flight, so 2-3 of our top flight clubs can have turf fields. Seem fair?
Capacity is going to be the biggest issue, since the disparity between current requirements for the second-tier (5,000) and the first tier (15,000) is a pretty massive gap. Nice club you have there, triple your capacity and you’re onto something. As a result, I have taken the liberty of relocating certain (read: nearly all) clubs to new grounds, trying my utmost to keep those clubs in their current markets and –importantly--, ensure they play on grass surfaces.
So, let’s do a case-by-case evaluation and see if we can put together 12-14 teams that meet the potential requirements, because what else do you have to do?
For each club’s breakdown, anything that represents a chance from what is currently true will be underlined. Candidate: Birmingham Legion FC
Location (Metro population): Birmingham, Ala. (1,151,801)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Legion Field (FieldTurf, 71,594)
Potential owner: Stephens Family (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Birmingham has a pretty strong candidacy. Having ditched the 5,000-seater BBVA Field for Legion Field, which sits 2.4 miles away, they’ve tapped into the city’s soccer history. Legion Field hosted portions of both the men’s and women’s tournaments at the 1996 Olympics, including a 3-1 U.S. loss to Argentina that saw 83,183 pack the house. The Harbert family seemed like strong ownership contenders, but since the death of matriarch Marguerite Harbert in 2015, it’s unclear where the wealth in the family is concentrated, so the Stephens seem like a better candidate. The only real knock that I can think of is that we really want to avoid having clubs play on turf, so I’d say they’re on the bubble of our platonic ideal USL Prem. Candidate: Charleston Battery
Location (Metro population): Charleston, S.C. (713,000)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Johnson Hagood Stadium (Grass, ~14,700)
Potential owner: Anita Zucker (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Charleston’s candidacy isn’t looking great. Already disadvantaged due to its undersized metro population, a move across the Cooper River to Johnson Hagood Stadium is cutting it close in terms of capacity. The stadium, home to The Citadel’s football team, used to seat 21,000, before 9,300 seats on the eastern grandstand were torn down in 2017 to deal with lead paint that had been used in their construction. Renovation plans include adding 3,000 seats back in, which could hit 15,000 if they bumped it to 3,300, but throw in a required sale by HCFC, LLC (led by content-creation platform founder Rob Salvatore) to chemical magnate Anita Zucker, and you’ll see there’s a lot of ifs and ands in this proposal. Candidate: Charlotte Independence
Location (Metro population): Charlotte, N.C. (2,569, 213)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Jerry Richardson Stadium (Turf, 15,314)
Potential owner: James Goodnight (reported net worth $9.1 billion)
Notes: Charlotte ticks a lot of the boxes. A move from the Sportsplex at Matthews to UNC-Charlotte’s Jerry Richardson stadium meets capacity requirements, but puts them on to the dreaded turf. Regrettably, nearby American Legion Memorial Stadium only seats 10,500, despite a grass playing surface. With a sizeable metro population (sixth-largest in the USL Championship) and a possible owner in software billionaire James Goodnight, you’ve got some options here. The biggest problem likely lies in direct competition for market share against a much better-funded MLS Charlotte side due to join the league in 2021. Candidate: Hartford Athletic
Location (Metro population): Hartford, Conn. (1,214,295)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Pratt & Whitney Stadium (Grass, 38,066)
Potential owner: Ray Dalio (reported net worth $18.4 billion)
Notes: Okay, I cheated a bit here, having to relocate Hartford to Pratt & Whitney Stadium, which is technically in East Hartford, Conn. I don’t know enough about the area to know if there’s some kind of massive beef between the two cities, but the club has history there, having played seven games in 2019 while Dillon Stadium underwent renovations. If the group of local businessmen that currently own the club manage to attract Dalio to the table, we’re on to something. Candidate: Indy Eleven
Location (Metro population): Indianapolis, Ind. (2,048,703)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lucas Oil Stadium (Turf, 62,421)
Potential owner: Jim Irsay (reported net worth of $3 billion)
Notes: Indy Eleven are a club that are SO CLOSE to being an ideal candidate – if it weren’t for Lucas Oil Stadium’s turf playing surface. Still, there’s a lot to like in this bid. I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what current owner and founder Ersal Ozdemir is worth, but it seems like there might be cause for concern
. A sale to Irsay, who also owns the NFL Indianapolis (nee Baltimore) Colts, seems likely to keep the franchise there, rather than make a half-mile move to 14,230 capacity Victory Field where the AAA Indianapolis Indians play and expand from there. Candidate: Louisville City FC
Location (Metro population): Louisville, Ky. (1,297,310)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lynn Family Stadium (Grass, 14,000, possibly expandable to 20,000)
Potential owner: Wayne Hughes (reported net worth $2.8 billion)
Notes: I’m stretching things a bit here. Lynn Family stadium is currently listed as having 11,700 capacity that’s expandable to 14,000, but they’ve said that the ground could hold as many as 20,000 with additional construction, which might be enough to grant them a temporary waiver from USSF. If the stadium is a no-go, then there’s always Cardinal Stadium, home to the University of Louisville’s football team, which seats 65,000 but is turf. Either way, it seems like a sale to someone like Public Storage founder Wayne Hughes will be necessary to ensure the club has enough capital. Candidate: Memphis 901 FC
Location (Metro population): Memphis, Tenn. (1,348,260)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Liberty Bowl Stadium (Turf, 58,325)
Potential owner: Fred Smith (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Unfortunately for Memphis, AutoZone Park’s 10,000 seats won’t cut it at the D1 level. With its urban location, it would likely prove tough to renovate, as well. Liberty Bowl Stadium more than meets the need, but will involve the use of the dreaded turf. As far as an owner goes, FedEx founder Fred Smith seems like a good local option. Candidate: Miami FC, “The”
Location (Metro population): Miami, Fla. (6,158,824)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Riccardo Silva Stadium (FieldTurf, 20,000)
Potential owner: Riccardo Silva (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: Well, well, well, Silva might get his wish for top-flight soccer, after all. He’s got the money, he’s got the metro, and his ground has the capacity. There is the nagging issue of the turf, though. Hard Rock Stadium might present a solution, including a capacity of 64,767 and a grass playing surface. It is worth noting, however, that this is the first profile where I didn’t have to find a new potential owner for a club. Candidate: North Carolina FC
Location (Metro population): Durham, N.C. (1,214,516 in The Triangle)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Carter-Finley Stadium (Grass/Turf, 57,583)
Potential owner: Steve Malik (precise net worth unknown) / Dennis Gillings (reported net worth of $1.7 billion)
Notes: We have our first “relocation” in North Carolina FC, who were forced to trade Cary’s 10,000-seat WakeMed Soccer Park for Carter-Finley Stadium in Durham, home of the NC State Wolfpack and 57,583 of their closest friends. The move is a whopping 3.1 miles, thanks to the close-knit hub that exists between Cary, Durham and Raleigh. Carter-Finley might be my favorite of the stadium moves in this exercise. The field is grass, but the sidelines are artificial turf. Weird, right? Either way, it was good enough for Juventus to play a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara there in 2011. Maybe the move would be pushed for by new owner and medical magnate Dennis Gillings, whose British roots might inspire him to get involved in the Beautiful Game. Straight up, though, I couldn’t find a net worth for current owner Steve Malik, though he did sell his company MedFusion for $91 million in 2010, then bought it back for an undisclosed amount and sold it again for $43 million last November. I don’t know if Malik has the juice to meet D1 requirements, but I suspect he’s close. Candidate: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Location (Metro population): Pittsburgh, Penn. (2,362,453)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Heinz Field (Grass, 64,450)
Potential owner: Henry Hillman (reported net worth $2.5 billion)
Notes: I don’t know a ton about the Riverhounds, but this move in particular feels like depriving a pretty blue-collar club from its roots. Highmark Stadium is a no-go from a seating perspective, but the Steelers’ home stadium at Heinz Field would more than meet the requirements and have a grass surface that was large enough to be sanctioned for a FIFA friendly between the U.S. WNT and Costa Rica in 2015. As for an owner, Tuffy Shallenberger (first ballot owner name HOF) doesn’t seem to fit the USSF bill, but legendary Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Hillman might. I’m sure you’re asking, why not the Rooney Family, if they’ll play at Heinz Field? I’ll tell you: I honestly can’t seem to pin down a value for the family. The Steelers are valued at a little over a billion and rumors persist that Dan Rooney is worth $500 million, but I’m not sure. I guess the Rooneys would work too, but it’s a definite departure from an owner in Shallenberger who was described by one journalist as a guy who “wears boots, jeans, a sweater and a trucker hat.” Candidate: Saint Louis FC
Location (Metro population): St. Louis, Mo. (2,807,338)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Busch Stadium (Grass, 45,494)
Potential owner: William DeWitt Jr. (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Saint Louis has some weirdness in making the jump to D1. Current CEO Jim Kavanaugh is an owner of the MLS side that will begin play in 2022. The club’s current ground at West Community Stadium isn’t big enough, but perhaps a timely sale to Cardinals owner William DeWitt Jr. could see the club playing games at Busch Stadium, which has a well established history of hosting other sports like hockey, college football and soccer (most recently a U.S. WNT friendly against New Zealand in 2019). The competition with another MLS franchise wouldn’t be ideal, like Charlotte, but with a big enough population and cross marketing from the Cardinals, maybe there’s a winner here. Wacko idea:
If Busch doesn’t pan out, send them to The Dome. Sure, it’s a 60k turf closed-in stadium, but we can go for that retro NASL feel and pay homage to our nation’s soccer history. Candidate: Tampa Bay Rowdies
Location (Metro population): Tampa, Fla. (3,068,511)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Raymond James Stadium (Grass, 65,518)
Potential owner: Edward DeBartolo Jr. (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: This one makes me sad. Despite having never been there, I see Al Lang Stadium as an iconic part of the Rowdies experience. Current owner Bill Edwards proposed an expansion to 18,000 seats in 2016, but the move seems to have stalled out. Frustrated with the city’s lack of action, Edwards sells to one-time San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who uses his old NFL connections to secure a cushy lease at the home of the Buccaneers in Ray Jay, the site of a 3-1 thrashing of Antigua and Barbuda during the United States’ 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign. Breather. Hey, we finished the Eastern Conference teams. Why are you still reading this? Why am I still writing it? Time is a meaningless construct in 2020 my friends, we are adrift in the void, fueled only by brief flashes of what once was and what may yet still be. Candidate: Austin Bold FC
Location (Metro population): Austin, Texas (2,168,316)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 95,594)
Potential owner: Michael Dell (reported net worth of $32.3 billion)
Notes: Anthony Precourt’s Austin FC has some unexpected competition and it comes in the form of tech magnate Michael Dell. Dell, were he to buy the club, would be one of the richest owners on our list and could flash his cash in the new first division. Would he have enough to convince Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (I’m not kidding, that’s its actual name) to go back to a grass surface, like it did from ’96-’08? That’s between Dell and nearly 100,000 UT football fans, but everything can be had for the right price. Candidate: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Location (Metro population): Colorado Springs, Colo. (738,939)
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Falcon Stadium (FieldTurf, 46,692)
Potential owner: Charles Ergen (reported net worth $10.8 billion)
Notes: Welcome to Colorado Springs. We have hurdles. For the first time in 12 candidates, we’re back below the desired 1 million metro population mark. Colorado Springs actually plans to build a $35 million, 8,000 seat venue downtown that will be perfect for soccer, but in our timeline that’s 7,000 seats short. Enter Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force Academy Falcons football team. Seems perfect except for the turf, right? Well, the tricky thing is that Falcon Stadium is technically on an active military base and is (I believe) government property. Challenges to getting in and out of the ground aside, the military tends to have a pretty grim view of government property being used by for-profit enterprises. Maybe Charles Ergen, founder and chairman of Dish Network, would be able to grease the right wheels, but you can go ahead and throw this into the “doubtful” category. It’s a shame, too. 6,035 feet of elevation is one hell of a home-field advantage. Candidate: El Paso Locomotive FC
Location: El Paso, Texas
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Sun Bowl (FieldTurf, 51,500)
Potential owner: Paul Foster (reported net worth $1.7 billion)
Notes: God bless Texas. When compiling this list, I found so many of the theoretical stadium replacements were nearly serviceable by high school football fields. That’s insane, right? Anyway, Locomotive don’t have to settle for one of those, they’ve got the Sun Bowl, which had its capacity reduced in 2001 to a paltry 51,500 (from 52,000) specifically to accommodate soccer. Sure, it’s a turf surface, but what does new owner Paul Foster (who is only the 1,477th wealthiest man in the world, per Forbes) care, he’s got a team in a top league. Side note:
Did you know that the Sun Bowl college football game is officially, through sponsorship, the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl? Why is it not the Frosted Flakes Sun Bowl? Why is the cereal mascot the promotional name of the football game? What are you doing, Kellogg’s? Candidate: Las Vegas Lights FC
Location: Las Vegas, Nev. (2,227,053)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Allegiant Stadium (Grass, 61,000)
Potential owner: Sheldon Adelson (reported net worth $37.7 billion)
Notes: Sin City. You had to know that the club that once signed Freddy Adu because “why not” was going to go all out in our flashy hypothetical proposal. Thanks to my narrative control of this whole thing, they have. Adelson is the second-richest owner in the league and has decided to do everything first class. That includes using the new Raiders stadium in nearby unincorporated Paradise, Nevada, and spending boatloads on high profile transfers. Zlatan is coming back to the U.S., confirmed. Candidate: New Mexico United
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Isotopes Park – officially Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park (Grass, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Maloof Family (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: New Mexico from its inception went deep on the community vibe, and I’ve tried to replicate that in this bid. The home field of Rio Grande Cr---I’m not typing out the whole thing—Isotopes Park falls just within the expansion rules we set to make it to 15,000 (weird, right?) and they’ve found a great local ownership group in the Lebanese-American Maloof (formerly Maalouf) family from Las Vegas. The only thing to worry about would be the metro population, but overall, this could be one of the gems of USL Prem. Candidate: Oklahoma City Energy FC
Location: Oklahoma City, Okla. (1,396,445)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Grass, 13,066)
Potential owner: Harold Hamm (reported net worth $14.2 billion)
Notes: There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow and it says it’s time to change stadiums and owners to make it to D1. A sale to oil magnate Harold Hamm would give the club the finances it needs, but Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (home of the OKC Dodgers) actually falls outside of the boundary of what would meet capacity if 1,500 seats were added. Could the club pull off a move to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma – home of the Oklahoma Sooners? Maybe, but at 20 miles, this would be a reach. Candidate: Orange County SC
Location: Irvine, Calif. (3,176, 000 in Orange County)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Angels Stadium of Anaheim (Grass, 43,250)
Potential owner: Arte Moreno (reported net worth $3.3 billion)
Notes: You’ll never convince me that Rangers didn’t choose to partner with Orange County based primarily on its name. Either way, a sale to MLB Angels owner Arte Moreno produces a fruitful partnership, with the owner choosing to play his newest club out of the existing Angels stadium in OC. Another baseball conversion, sure, but with a metro population of over 3 million and the closest thing this hypothetical league has to an LA market, who’s complaining? Candidate: Phoenix Rising FC
Location: Phoenix, Ariz. (4,857,962)
Time zone: Arizona
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): State Farm Stadium (Grass, 63,400)
Potential owner: Ernest Garcia II (reported net worth $5.7 billion)
Notes: We’re keeping it local with new owner and used car guru Ernest Garcia II. His dad owned a liquor store and he dropped out of college, which is making me feel amazing about my life choices right now. Casino Arizona Field is great, but State Farm Stadium is a grass surface that hosted the 2019 Gold Cup semifinal, so it’s a clear winner. Throw in Phoenix’s massive metro population and this one looks like a lock. Candidate: Reno 1868 FC
Location: Reno, Nev. (425,417)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Mackay Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: Nancy Walton Laurie (reported net worth $7.1 billion)
Notes: The Biggest Little City on Earth has some serious barriers to overcome, thanks to its low metro population. A sale to Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie and 1.6 mile-move to Mackay Stadium to split space with the University of Nevada, Reno makes this bid competitive, but the turf surface is another knock against it. Candidate: Rio Grande Valley FC
Location: Edinburg, Texas (900,304)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): McAllen Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Alice Louise Walton (reported net worth $45 billion)
Notes: Yes, I have a second straight Walmart heiress on the list. She was the first thing that popped up when I googled “McAllen Texas richest people.” The family rivalry has spurred Walton to buy a club as well, moving them 10 miles to McAllen Memorial Stadium which, as I alluded to earlier, is a straight up high school football stadium with a full color scoreboard. Toss in an additional 1,500 seats and you’ve met the minimum, despite the turf playing surface. Candidate: San Antonio FC
Location: San Antonio, Texas (2,550,960)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Alamodome (FieldTurf, 64,000)
Potential owner: Red McCombs (reported net worth $1.6 billion)
Notes: I wanted to keep SAFC in the Spurs family, since the franchise is valued at $1.8 billion. That said, I didn’t let the Rooneys own the Riverhounds based on the Steelers’ value and it felt wrong to change the rules, so bring on Clear Channel co-founder Red McCombs. Toyota Field isn’t viable in the first division, but for the Alamodome, which was built in 1993 in hopes of attracting an NFL franchise (and never did), San Antonio can finally claim having *a* national football league team in its town (contingent on your definition of football). Now if only we could do something about that turf… Candidate: San Diego Loyal SC
Location: San Diego, Calif. (3,317,749)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm) (Grass, 70,561)
Potential owner: Phil Mickelson (reported net worth $91 million)
Notes: Yes, golf’s Phil Mickelson. The existing ownership group didn’t seem to have the wherewithal to meet requirements, and Phil seemed to slot right in. As an athlete himself, he might be interesting in the new challenges of a top flight soccer team. Toss in a move to the former home of the chargers and you might have a basis for tremendous community support. Candidate: FC Tulsa
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (991,561)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: George Kaiser ($10 billion)
Notes: I’m a fan of FC Tulsa’s rebrand, but if they want to make the first division, more changes are necessary. A sale to Tulsa native and one of the 100 richest men in the world George Kaiser means that funding is guaranteed. A move to Chapman Stadium would provide the necessary seats, despite the turf field. While the undersize population might be an issue at first glance, it’s hard to imagine U.S. Soccer not granting a waiver over a less than a 10k miss from the mark.
And that’s it! You made it. Those are all of the independent/hybrid affiliates in the USL Championship, which means that it’s time for our…
VERDICT: As an expert who has studied this issue for almost an entire day now, I am prepared to pronounce which USL Championships could be most ‘ready” for a jump to the USL Prem. A reminder that of the 27 clubs surveyed, 0 of them met our ideal criteria (proper ownership $, metro population, 15,000+ stadium with grass field).
Two of them, however, met almost all of those criteria: Indy Eleven and Miami FC. Those two clubs may use up two of our three available turf fields right from the outset, but the other factors they hit (particularly Silva’s ownership of Miami) makes them difficult, if not impossible to ignore for the top flight.
But who fill in the rest of the slots? Meet the entire 14-team USL Premier League: Hartford Athletic Indy Eleven Louisville City FC Miami FC North Carolina FC Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Tampa Bay Rowdies Saint Louis FC San Antonio FC New Mexico United Phoenix Rising FC Las Vegas Lights FC Orange County SC San Diego Loyal SC
Now, I shall provide my expert rationale for each club’s inclusion/exclusion, which can be roughly broken down into four categories. Firm “yes” Hartford Athletic:
It’s a good market size with a solid stadium. With a decent investor and good community support, you’ve got potential here. Indy Eleven
: The turf at Lucas Oil Stadium is no reason to turn down a 62,421 venue and a metro population of over 2 million. Louisville City FC:
Why doesn’t the 2017 & 2018 USL Cup champion deserve a crack at the top flight? They have the market size, and with a bit of expansion have the stadium at their own SSS. LCFC, you’re in. Miami FC, “The”:
Our other blue-chip recruit on the basis of ownership value, market size and stadium capacity. Yes, that field is turf, but how could you snub Silva’s chance to claim victory as the first division 1 club soccer team to play in Miami? Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC:
Pittsburgh sacrificed a lot to be here (according to my arbitrary calculations). Their market size and the potential boon of soccer at Heinz Field is an important inclusion to the league. Saint Louis FC:
Willie hears your “Busch League” jokes, Willie don’t care. A huge market size, combined with the absence of an NFL franchise creates opportunity. Competition with the MLS side, sure, but St. Louis has serious soccer history and we’re willing to bet it can support two clubs. Tampa Bay Rowdies:
With a huge population and a massive stadium waiting nearby, Tampa Bay seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up for the USL Prem. Las Vegas Lights FC:
Ostentatious, massive and well-financed, Las Vegas Lights FC is everything that the USL Premier League would need to assert that it didn’t intend to play second fiddle to MLS. Players will need to be kept on a short leash, but this is a hard market to pass up on. Phoenix Rising FC:
Huge population, big grass field available nearby and a solid history of success in recent years. No brainer. San Diego Loyal SC:
New club? Yes, massive population in a market that recently lost an absolutely huge sports presence? Also yes. This could be the USL Prem’s Seattle. Cautious “yes” New Mexico United:
You have to take a chance on New Mexico United. The club set the league on fire with its social media presence and its weight in the community when it entered the league last season. The market may be slightly under USSF’s desired 1 million, but fervent support (and the ability to continue to use Isotopes Park) shouldn’t be discounted. North Carolina FC
: Carter-Finley’s mixed grass/turf surface is a barrier, to be sure, but the 57,000+ seats it offers (and being enough to offset other fully-turf offerings) is enough to put it in the black. Orange County SC:
It’s a top-tier club playing in a MLB stadium. I know it seems unlikely that USSF would approve something like that
, but believe me when I say “it could happen.”
Orange County is a massive market and California likely needs two clubs in the top flight. San Antonio FC:
Our third and only voluntary inclusion to the turf fields in the first division, we’re counting on San Antonio’s size and massive potential stadium to see it through. Cautious “no” Birmingham Legion FC:
The town has solid soccer history and a huge potential venue, but the turf playing surface puts it on the outside looking in. Memphis 901 FC:
Like Birmingham, not much to dislike here outside of the turf playing surface at the larger playing venue. Austin Bold FC:
See the other two above. FC Tulsa:
Everything’s just a little bit off with this one. Market’s slightly too small, stadium has turf. Just not enough to put it over the top. Firm “no” Charleston Battery:
Small metro and a small potential new stadium? It’s tough to say yes to the risk. Charlotte Independence:
A small new stadium and the possibility of having to compete with an organization that just paid over $300 million to join MLS means it’s best for this club to remain in the USL Championship. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC:
When a club’s best chance to meet a capacity requirement is to host games at a venue controlled by the military, that doesn’t speak well to a club’s chances. El Paso Locomotive FC:
An undersized market and a turf field that meets capacity requirements is the death knell for this one. Oklahoma City Energy FC:
Having to expand a baseball field to meet requirements is a bad start. Having to potentially play 20 miles away from your main market is even worse. Reno 1868 FC:
Population nearly a half-million short of the federation’s requirements AND a turf field at the hypothetical new stadium makes impossible to say yes to this bid. Rio Grande Valley FC:
All the seat expansions in the world can’t hide the fact that McAllen Memorial Stadium is a high school stadium through and through.
Here’s who’s left in the 11-team Championship: Birmingham Legion FC Charleston Battery Charlotte Independence Memphis 901 FC Austin Bold FC Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC El Paso Locomotive FC Oklahoma City Energy FC Reno 1868 FC Rio Grande Valley FC FC Tulsa
With MLS folding the six affiliates it has in USL League One, the league is a little bit thin (especially considering USSF’s requirements for 8 teams for lower level leagues), but seems definitely able to expand up to the necessary numbers with Edwards’ allusions to five new additions this year: Chattanooga Red Wolves SC Forward Madison FC Greenville Triumph SC Union Omaha Richmond Kickers South Georgia Tormenta FC Tucson Format of Assorted Leagues –
This (like everything in this post) is pure conjecture on my part, but here are my thoughts on how these leagues might function in a first year while waiting for additional expansion. USL Premier –
We’ll steal from the 12-team Scottish Premiership. Each club plays the other 11 clubs 3 times, with either one or two home matches against each side. When each club has played 33 matches, the top six and bottom six separate, with every club playing an additional five matches (against each other team in its group). The top club wins the league. The bottom club is automatically relegated. The second-bottom club will enter a two-legged playoff against someone (see below) from the championship playoffs. USL Championship --
11 clubs is a challenge to schedule for. How about every club plays everyone else three times (either one or two home matches against each side)? Top four clubs make the playoffs, which are decided by two-legged playoffs. The winner automatically goes up. I need feedback on the second part – is it better to have the runner-up from the playoffs face the second-bottom club from the Premiership, or should the winner of the third-place match-up get the chance to face them to keep drama going in both playoff series? As for relegation, we can clearly only send down the last place club while the third division is so small. USL League One –
While the league is so small, it doesn’t seem reasonable to have the clubs play as many matches as the higher divisions. Each club could play the other six clubs four times – twice at home and twice away – for a very equitable 24-match regular season, which would help restrict costs and still provide a chance to determine a clear winner. Whoever finishes top of the table goes up.
And there you have it, a hypothetical look at how the USL could build a D1 league right now. All it would take is a new stadium for almost the entire league and new owners for all but one of the 27 clubs, who wouldn’t feel that their property would be massively devalued if they got relegated.
Well that’s our show. I’m curious to see what you think of all of this, especially anything that you think I may have overlooked (I’m sure there’s plenty). Anyway, I hope you’re all staying safe and well.
(Not sure what permissions are required, but this is totally okay to share on a future episode if you guys would like. I would honestly love it if you do!) ^_^ submitted by
After falling behind a whole bunch after you guys switched to weekly episodes, I finally managed to get around to sort of binging a lot so I could finally catch back up. As such, I heard a bunch of viewer stories, and was reminded of a strange event (one of the few) of my own that I figured I would put out there and see what people's thoughts are on it.
I'd first like to preface this story with an important personal note by saying that I am a staunch Catholic and am very much in the Jesse camp of skepticism and just complete disbelief when it comes to paranormal/supernatural stuff, and will forever maintain that what happened to me has a logical explanation to it, even if I'll never be sure what that explanation is. "^_^
As a bit of important background info, I currently just turned 30 years old this past July (I'm officially old now. T~T) . My family annually vacations in Lake Tahoe California/Nevada ever year in August and has done so for the past ~20 years, since it's the best time for hiking as there's no snow on the mountains and the melting snow makes the numerous lakes & rivers as full and lively as possible. In the evenings, it has always been extremely common for us to head across the state-line to the Harrah's casino for some evening gambling at the video poker machines at the bar and some Blackjack or Pai Gow table games, but me and my two brothers (one older by about 3 years, one younger by about 2 years) would instead frequent the arcade at the Harvey's hotel/casino just across the street where we would play while our parents gambled. (As a dumb aside, in this arcade there is also a claw machine filled with just colored ducks that I tweeted out with the whole SGS tagged with the hashtag #DucksForDavis back in 2018 that Jesse liked, and I'll always be so happy for that, so thank you Jesse. That made my day. ^_^)
A tourist pamphlet book of coupons that we would get from our time-share gave us an additional $5.00 or so in tokens for cashing in $20.00, and this arcade offered a redemption prize of $5.00 in tokens in exchange for 500 tickets. This particular arcade also had a baseball themed timing-based ticketing game that would give you 3 plays per token and would pitch a slow, medium, and fast "pitch" that you had to time on the Jackpot light that would give [at a minimum] 25, 50, and 100 tickets respectively that would only increase upon more unsuccessfully attempts. Over the years of us playing that game, my brothers became good enough at it to the point where it was VERY easy to exploit and win significantly more than in $5.00 in tickets. For example, we would often win double-that or more by earning 1000+ or 1500+ tickets per every $5.00, so we essentially paid $20.00 up front and played for free the rest of our trip and would get the best prizes every couple of years after accruing enough tickets (we managed to get a Wii one year at ~20k tickets as I recall). So basically, we never had to actually spend any money at this arcade to play or win anything. I was never particularly good at this game myself, so I would most often just stand around and watch them exploit this clearly unbalanced game and proceed to play other games that I enjoyed after we had enough tickets in surplus to exchange.
I don't remember exactly when this particular event happened since all these trips have basically blurred together in my head, but one time within the last 10 years (I want to say 7 ago or so but that's really just a guess), I was standing next to this ticketing machine while they were playing like normal. There is an airhockey table just to the right of this game, and at the time we were playing I distinctly remember 2 teenage boys aggressively playing while I just watched my brothers exploit this ticketing game.
At a certain point, I just remember feeling SOMETHING strike me extremely hard and fast across my right temple and I immediately dropped to the ground. Like I straight-up just collapsed and slumped to the ground, clutching the side of my head in pain. My initial thought was that the airhockey puck had accidentally gotten hit into the air and hit me and that was what I felt. When I dropped to the ground, my brothers were very visibly concerned about what had happened to me and stopped what they were doing to make sure that I was okay.
I slowly stood up from my knees, rubbing the side of my head vigorously to help alleviate some of the pain, insisting that something had just hit me but that I was okay but was just hit by an airhockey puck. But when I glanced over to look at the airhockey table to the right of the game cabinet, I don't remember seeing anyone at the table and there was no evidence of any stray puck anywhere on the ground, and I had no lasting damage/pain/bruise on my head from this supposed 'hit' I took. It basically appeared that I was struck in the side of my head by nothing and I dropped to the ground randomly for no reason with no indication that anything had physically damaged me.
Because it happened so long ago and none of us REALLY paid attention to what had occurred or happened, neither me or my brothers can really remember all the exact details such as if anyone was playing airhockey that night or if anyone was at the table after I supposedly got hit by the flying puck, so I tend to take all of this with a grain of salt. I certainly don't believe it was anything supernatural or paranormal, but it was certainly a bizarre occurrence that stands out in my memory to this day.
Anyways! That's it. ^_^ Not something SUPER bizarre, and I don't believe that anything unexplainable, paranormal, or supernatural occurred that day, and I've never experienced anything like it since. I'm absolutely certain there's an explanation for what happened, even if it's just me mentally experiencing this for seemingly no reason, but I'm curious and interested to hear people's thoughts.
(Note: This review exceeds Reddit’s 40,000 character limit for text posts so three additional comments are posted in this thread with the rest of the review. Sorting comments by “old” will bring them up for you in order.) submitted by
EPISODE I: THE HUNCHED BACK MENACE Welcome to Old BasedWorld
Hurried crowds, sparse synths and ringing cathedral bells in the streets of Old BasedWorld set the scene for our journey. High above the town in the Old BasedWorld Cathedral, a young man with a hunched back dreams of a brighter tomorrow. Staring Out My Window
“The only way you could really feel this pain is from the BasedGod” – From this opening line along with the somber instrumental accompanying it Lil B makes it clear that this project will be different from the hyphy material he’d been releasing since Black Ken
. The BasedGod’s stirring musical backdrop allows Brandon to reminisce on the times he spent as a troubled youth staring out the windows of Old BasedWorld’s Cathedral (as pictured on the album cover), dreaming of a normal life with the rest of the citizens across the bridge in
New BasedWorld. The Many Sides of a Genius
Using a compilation of voicemails taken directly from Old BasedWorld’s only working phone, Lil B uses these messages to convey his own message. The people leaving these voicemails were clearly important people in Brandon’s life and, one could say, are some of the “sides of genius” that helped him develop into the man he is today. It continues the album’s narrative of a brilliant soul whose talent and ambition are unnoticed by the outside world, with only those who are closest to him recognizing the genius within. Ain’t Gon Pick Up
One of the people leaving a voicemail on “The Many Sides of a Genius” mentioned how Lil B never picks up his phone, so it’s only appropriate that the next song has B discussing why he chooses not to answer the phone in Old BasedWorld’s Cathedral. It also ties back in to the theme of unrecognized talent, with Brandon stating in the chorus “I ain’t gon pick up, nobody gives a fuck so I don’t give a fuck”. References to stomach pains and Crohn’s disease further highlight how B is feeling “sick to [his] stomach” of being disrespected: by the end of the song, the listener fully understands why Lil B wouldn’t be interested in picking up his phone. Hunchback of BasedGod
One of the album’s great conceptual triumphs. Lil B states from the jump that this song is meant to be a set of instructions for the Hunchback of BasedGod for his eventual descent from his perch back into the town of Old BasedWorld and beyond. It’s still unclear whether or not Lil B himself is the Hunchback, the BasedGod, the Hunchback of
BasedGod, or none of the above: the abstractness allows the listener to form their own perceptions and create their own story. Again, there’s a continuation of themes from the previous songs, with further references to stomach pains and issues of self-worth and meaninglessness coming from Lil B: with so much pain in this world, is it even worth it for the Hunchback to enter society? By the end of the song, Brandon affirms that it is, stating, “Do it and don’t just watch/ Step in the game and have fun/ We all townspeople, we one/”. As such, the Hunchback leaves the cathedral, passing through the cobblestone streets of Old BasedWorld while hushed onlookers stare silently, as he ventures out towards New BasedWorld. Berkeley San Francisco Its the BasedGod
This song is delivered from the perspective of the Hunchback, as revealed in the first line of the first verse: “I got the hunched back from all the depression”. Themes of struggle from the previous tracks reemerge, but you get the sense that the Hunchback is beginning to build up his self-esteem, boasting how he refuses to conform to the looks and expectations of the other townsfolk. He also seems to have gotten past the lack of recognition that was hindering him on “The Many Sides of a Genius” and “Ain’t Gon Pick Up”, as he proudly exclaims, “Who cares if I’m famous?” This gives the Hunchback the confidence to finally travel across the bridge he so often observed from his cathedral window. The townspeople are stunned: the
BasedWorld Bridge had been badly damaged and decayed for decades, with no one daring to cross in the fears that it would collapse. But the Hunchback’s persistence leads him to make it across unscathed. Outer Mission Music
With his feet firmly set in New BasedWorld, the Hunchback visits the colony of Outer Mission, a tight-knit community of New BasedWorld inhabitants who are unsure of how to react to their visitor. Lil B spends much of this track describing his interactions with the colony’s locals, which include Justin Timberlake, Alex Rodriguez, and Lionel Messi as tribe members. He also manages to make the situation surrounding the identities of his disparate personalities even more confusing, stating, “Lil B, I’ve seen him in public/ Is that the Hunchback of BasedGod, or is that the BasedGod? It’s BasedGod/” Will we ever know the difference? Wake Up Get High Go Back to Sleep
In spite of a renewed sense of confidence brought upon by his decision to leave his old life behind, not all is perfect in the Hunchback’s mind. On this joint (pun intended) he harkens back to his days in the cathedral, where he would spend his mornings smoking heavy doses of marijuana in order to numb the pain of his seclusion, often to the point of losing consciousness. It’s also worth noting that the only weed that grows naturally in Old BasedWorld is mids, so the Hunchback would need to smoke a significant amount to achieve the desired effect. Video Game That I Still Play
The irony in the title of this song is that the “video game” the BasedGod is referencing here is in fact a metaphor for his own life’s journey. As he so aptly states during the chorus: “My life is like a video game/ It’s been so weird, but I still play”. The fact of the matter is, Lil B could have chosen to rage quit this game of life long ago, but his perseverance has brought him to a new place of inner peace within the confines of New BasedWorld, even if the townsfolk are still unsure of how to respond to their new neighbor. I Rather Die Then Go Home
At the end of the previous song, the Hunchback makes reference to an incident where he visited the Café Au Coquelet, a boutique restaurant in New BasedWorld. Upon his arrival, he received a similar reaction to those he used to receive in his homeland: “I go to restaurants, people stop smiling”. While some of the townspeople have begun to appreciate his presence, many of the other New BasedWorld residents still recognize his outsider status and continue to shun him as a result. This song is B’s response, with a firm affirmation that he would rather die than have to go back to the life of isolation he led in the Old BasedWorld Cathedral, where he wasn’t really living life to begin with. That said, the song’s mistitling of based comrade The-Dream’s original line of “I’d rather die than
go home” as “I rather die then
go home” leaves the Hunchback’s true intentions up for interpretation. Crying in the Club
After finishing a five-course meal at the boutique, B ventures out to the party district of New BasedWorld, where he surprisingly gets admitted to one of the most exclusive night clubs in the land. As he observes the scene, the crushing reality of the differences between himself and the other clubgoers becomes apparent. A single tear is shed, followed by another, and another, until the BasedGod is in a state of full-blown emotional distress. In spite of his condition, he makes it known that he isn’t ashamed of wearing his heart on his sleeve, openly admitting in the chorus: “I don’t really care if I hurt myself, I don’t really care who sees”. This unyielding display of raw emotion brings the music and dancing to a halt. All eyes are now fixated on the strange being with the tear-stained T-shirt and the disfigured spine. He lets out a desperate plea: “I just want a hug…” To the surprise of the Hunchback, the residents of New BasedWorld collectively embrace him, looking past his outer deformities to recognize the beautiful soul that exists within. Historians would later acknowledge this moment as the primary catalyst for the BasedWorld Revolution™.
EPISODE II: THE COLD WARS Voyage to Berkeley California
Meanwhile, down in the town of Old BasedWorld, the townsfolk slept restlessly, their dreams invaded by shadowy fake based figures digging away at their souls. Every day, people would wake and stare at the Old BasedWorld Cathedral. Why was the Hunchback not ringing the bells that had kept the evil spirits of the fake based realm out of their lives? It was then they realized that the Hunchback had crossed the sacred bridge and ventured to New BasedWorld. Frantic to reconcile with the gatekeeper they had long taken for granted, a group of the townspeople decide to bravely seek out the BasedGod in the hopes that he will return. However, they recognize that crossing the BasedWorld Bridge is something no mortal man is capable of doing and living to tell the tale. Using a secret map rumored to have been drawn up by Captain 66 himself, a group of citizens board a modest ship to cross the
BasedWorld Bay on a warm summer’s eve. Will they survive? Only time will tell. Across the Sea
And here, ladies and gentlemen, we are presented with the greatest plot twist this side of the Fingerpoke of Doom: It turns out Lil B is not actually the Hunchback and/or the BasedGod after all. Perhaps we should have known all along...
Indeed, unbeknownst to the townspeople (who themselves had just assumed all three entities were combined as one person), Lil B has remained in BasedWorld all along in disguise. About halfway into their journey across the Bay, Lil B’s resentment towards his shipmates and their longing for the Hunchback’s return gets the best of him, and the violent persona exhibited on tracks like “Murder Rate” and “Domestic Violence Case” overtakes Lil B’s natural pacifist tendencies. In a fit of rage, he attacks them, “knocking them off the boat” into the shark-infested waters and keeping all of the remaining LifeVests to himself. B himself recognizes the consequences of his actions, ending the song by saying, “This darkness… It’s scary.” Nonetheless, he refuses to be stopped in his mission to visit New BasedWorld and confront the Hunchback all on his own. Where Is the Potion
Having arrived on the shores of New BasedWorld, Lil B ventures into town. Knowing that the only way to find the elusive Hunchback is through the townspeople who may have caught a glimpse of him, he travels to the aforementioned nightclub, with floors still drenched in the BasedGod’s tears from earlier, asking, “Where is the potion?” The response he’s given comes in the form of several bottles of liquor, which quickly dispel any notions of anxiety or self-doubt that may have stopped Lil B from completing his mission. A few of the club’s premium members willingly show him the spots around town where they had spotted the Hunchback, but any further clues of his whereabouts are hard to come by. Before they know it, they find themselves at one of the many riverbanks in New BasedWorld, where a celebration of the BasedGod’s glory is in full swing. Riverdance
This instrumental is what Lil B and the clubgoers heard as they made their way to the bank of the river. Speaking with more of the natives, Lil B learns more of the Hunchback’s travels and experiences in New BasedWorld and begins to put the pieces together in his mind for where the BasedGod may be headed next. Wolves and Snakes
As Lil B continues to plot his course, the BasedGod, who has just finished eating a salad on his way to the colony of Chaddick, senses a disturbance in the Based Force, feeling as though him and his hunched back may be in grave danger. He ponders on the wolves and the snakes that he was forced to deal with in his past life and reflects on the growth he’s experienced since leaving the dreaded, darkened halls of the Cathedral. In spite of this, he can’t help but shake the feeling that, like in the proverbial rear-view mirror, one of these wolves and/or snakes may be closer than they appear… Meeting on UC Berkeley Campus Today
Undeterred, the Hunchback makes his way to UC Berkeley, New BasedWorld’s sole institution of higher learning. After giving a spirited 90 minute lecture on the power of positivity (modeled after previous lectures at such high class institutions as NYU,Carnegie Mellon and Princeton), the BasedGod is greeted by a mass of adoring students at the university. The male students beg for the BasedGod to fuck their bitches, and said bitches are more than willing to oblige. In a grand spectacle, the Hunchback has consensual sex with all 1,000 of the college’s female attendees while this instrumental blares out of speakers across the campus, being awarded with a trophy
as a result of his success. Artistic or Autistic
Elsewhere in New BasedWorld, Lil B attempts to strategize his next move. However, planning the escapade is made difficult thanks to B’s second most potent Internet distraction after his Twitter feed: Reddit. Going through a series of faked based comments on the hiphopheads
subreddit, Lil B is particularly struck by a comment suggesting that he may in fact be suffering from the neurological disorder autism
. The assertion is an eye-opening moment for him: after all, the elevated levels of lead found in Old BasedWorld’s drinking water had been a concern amongst the town’s scientists for years, and his own behaviors and thought patterns seemed to align relatively well with the common symptoms of the condition. After a brief moment of solemnity, Lil B realizes that his immaculate catalog of music has been made possible because of who he is, and if he is autistic, it is an essential component of his artistic output. This song is the result of this revelation. Free 03
Our story continues as the BasedGod chooses to use his newfound fame and glory to give back to the New BasedWorld community. He begins volunteering at the New BasedWorld Penitentiary, espousing his worldview and giving advice to the inmates on how to make positive contributions to society after they have served their time. One particular inmate catches his eye: a fellow hip hop artist named 03 Greedo, who was arrested a few years earlier in a drug trafficking scheme. The Hunchback’s conversations with the young man have a profound impact on him, and in the weeks and months to come, Greedo becomes the model prisoner for other inmates to aspire to be, with intentions of joining the ministry upon his release. The BasedGod, proud of what he was able to accomplish, promises to dedicate a song on his new 50 song mixtape to Greedo. Rhode Island
Rhode Island, officially the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area, the seventh least populous, but is also the second most densely populated. Rhode Island is bordered by Connecticut to the west, Massachusetts to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south via Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound. It also shares a small maritime border with New York. Providence is the state capital and most populous city in Rhode Island.
As Rhode Island is located on the opposite side of the continent from Old and New BasedWorld, it has nothing to do with this story other than this brief mention of its existence. I’m Depressed Again
While the Hunchback is continuing to make great strides in improving the lives of the people in New BasedWorld, he continues to be fazed by an ever-growing sense of something troubling being on the horizon. A dark evil is emerging that he cannot foresee, and he worries that by the time he learns what this evil may be, it will be too late. This sends the BasedGod back into a spiraling depression, one not felt since the last day he had spent alone in the cathedral. He warns his closest confidants of the impending doom, saying, “Real talk… Feel it through your heart. Feel it through the spirit. You can feel it through the dark, cold as ever.” Café Au Coquelet
At the same time as the Hunchback is experiencing this sense of dread, Lil B has made his way to Café Au Coquelet, one of the first spots in New BasedWorld that was graced by the power and the glory of the BasedGod. Lil B immediately detects the Hunchback’s prior presence in the vicinity: all of the restaurant’s guests are acting unusually positive and based towards one another, and the only dish that anyone has ordered over the past week has been the clams casino. Lil B also recognizes that the music playing in the background of the restaurant (the instrumental that is this song) was created by the BasedGod. Enraged, he stands up on the restaurant tables and begins to lambast the townsfolk for having fallen for the lies and deceit of a false prophet. He dictates a new philosophy, beginning by disposing of the food everybody has already ordered and teaching them how to cook for themselves. Before long, the entire restaurant is cooking to “Like a Martian”. A growing sect of New BasedWorld begins to emerge in objection to the Hunchback’s teachings, with Lil B and the swag movement as their new leader. Downtown Berkeley Protest
Back in the colony of Berkeley, the BasedGod is gathering his followers together for a celebration of optimism and goodwill unto others. His new instrumental track plays as the Hunchback’s followers enjoy the festivities. It is at this moment that the BasedGod feels a searing pain encompass his entire being, and he recognizes that this is the moment he has been fearing for the past few weeks: the evil has arrived. A mass of residents from the other New BasedWorld colonies have descended upon the party with torches and handguns. Dressed in pink shirts, tiny pants and Vans sneakers, they march to the center of the crowd in unison, yelling nonsensical phrases such as “Figaro!” and “Martha Stewart!” as the frightened followers of the Hunchback look on. At the front of the mob is the leader, the enigmatic Lil B. He flashes a slight smile at the BasedGod, who stares directly back into the eyes of his former student. As the crowd of pretty residents begin to hurl insults and grievances towards the based residents, Lil B raises one hand, and the noise stops. Then, he begins to walk away. B’s worshipers follow him out of the city square in silent unison. Many of the Hunchback’s flock wonder if this is the end of the madness. However, the BasedGod knows deep down inside that this is just the beginning.
EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE BITCH Bring the BasedGod and Lil B Gifts
This is a Cold War, and we know what each side is fighting for. The New BasedWorld citizens have been divided into an even split, with half of the townsfolk (now calling themselves the “Task Force”) following the ways of the Hunchback and the other half (now calling themselves the “Bitch Mob”) committing themselves to the teachings of Lil B. In a frantic attempt to prove the superiority of one leader over the other, the townspeople begin to bestow luxurious gifts and rewards upon their idols in an attempt to make one appear more grandiose than the other. Lil B relishes in his newfound fame, gladly accepting a plethora of PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 games from his fans, along with a fully registered copy of FL Studio to allow him to produce beats on the same level as the BasedGod. Meanwhile, on the other side of the village, the Hunchback seems uncomfortable embracing his new role as a worshipped deity. Having become accustomed to people ignoring him or being flat-out disgusted by his appearance, the adjustment to now becoming the leader of thousands of men is one that is not made easily. Body Shaming
The opposing sides of New BasedWorld’s population quickly transition from honoring their respective leaders to creating smear campaigns against the opposition. One of the Bitch Mob’s most talented computer hackers manages to secure nude photographs of the Hunchback and distribute them online, highlighting the embarrassing weight gain that the BasedGod has endured over the past 5 years. The Hunchback is at first distraught upon hearing the news: “Why are they body shaming me? Why would they say all these mean things?” It is only when the BasedGod taps into his creamy center, where all the gooey happy-lovin' goo sits that allows him to be the nicest, most compassionate person he’s ever been, that he’s able to let the world know that he will not fall down so easy. He releases this song on his MySpace as a rebuttal, saying, “There's no reason to bully people and make fun of folks”. The Task Force immediately lauds the song as the perfect response to the scandal, while the Bitch Mob lashes out at the lack of trap drums and celebrity-based adlibs. Stopped Talkin’ But I Still Rap
“So self-conscious, you feel me?”: Despite the approval of his comrades, the BasedGod is unable to shake the ever-persistent sense of self-hatred that is being exacerbated by the actions of the Bitch Mob. He feels his mind regressing to a prior state of fear and insecurity akin to that of his days spent in isolation in the Cathedral. Deep inside, the Hunchback finds himself in the midst of an existential crisis: how can one speak on the benefits of positivity and self-love when one does not truly love thyself? What would the consequences be of allowing this negativity to manifest itself in real time? Surely, an admission of hopelessness would spell defeat for the Task Force, allowing Lil B and his army of pretty townsfolk to rule the land for all eternity. But it would also be hypocritical for the BasedGod to continue to preach the Gospel of Based when his mind is not in a based state of being. In a move that would prove to be one of the most shocking of the Cold War, the Hunchback gathers his followers in the town square to announce that he will be taking an oath of silence until peace can be found between the two factions of New BasedWorld, capping off his decree with the debut of his ‘final’ song, “Stopped Talkin’ But I Still Rap”. The crowd gasps and devolves into hysteria, with thousands pleading for the Hunchback to reconsider, rightly worried over what would become of the based movement without the voice of its sole originator. But the BasedGod is persistent. He silently walks through the crowd, hugging each of his based brethren (and consensually face-fucking some of the females) before departing, possibly for good. Some time after midnight, he successfully crosses the Based Bridge and returns to Old BasedWorld, making his way back to the Cathedral without a single soul noticing his presence. He travels to the deepest, darkest depths of the Cathedral’s caverns, located miles beneath the Earth’s surface, where he begins an indefinite period of contemplation and meditation. This sequence of events would prove to be a milestone of the BasedWorld Revolution™, and would be forever immortalized in the cover art for the Where Did the Sun Go? mixtape
It was a bad time for both Old and New BasedWorld. The Hunchback just stayed inside his Cathedral and he never came out. People said his brain was infected by fake based devils. The Task Force hurt the most of all: without their leader, they crumbled and succumbed to the will of the Bitch Mob. Lil B’s tyrannical rise to power was all but complete. In the months that followed, he would expand his territorial control, conquering the villages of Albany and East Oakland and even sending troops to claim regions of land as far away as Hawaii and Nepal.
Nearly a full year after the disappearance of the BasedGod, Lil B’s armies waged war on Old BasedWorld. The BasedWorld Bridge was destroyed, leaving Lil B and his followers (who controlled the naval fleets) as the only ones who had access to both sides of the territory. After taking most of its citizens hostage and establishing a new structure of government with Lil B at the helm, the Bitch Mob began to formulate its Ultimate
Plan to capture the Hunchback. One night, they rushed the Old BasedWorld Cathedral, setting it ablaze and burning the once-iconic structure to the ground in the hopes of finding the charred body of the BasedGod buried underneath the rubble. When they failed to retrieve the body, the contingent of pretty boys and girls was ordered by Lil B to venture underground, as an ancient prophecy had foretold the Hunchback’s journey to the center of the Earth. Armed with assault rifles of all varieties, they began their descent into the depths of the caverns.
However, the deeper they traveled, the more they became disillusioned by their actions, and the actions of their once-beloved leader Lil B. They did not realize that the closer they got to the Hunchback, the more they were swayed by his righteousness and his way of being. Soon, they were no more than a few hundred yards from locating the BasedGod. It was at this moment that they had a great awakening, recognizing the error of their ways and freeing themselves from the spell that had been placed on them by Lil B. They abandoned their mission, instead choosing to return to the surface without the Hunchback. Lil B, furious at the group’s reluctance to complete their task, began to chastise his former followers, and prepared to issue one of his infamous curses upon them, one which would result in certain death. Having become completely overwhelmed with the guilt and the shame of their exploits as part of Lil B’s army (and also acknowledging the fact that none of them would ever win an NBA championship now without signing to Golden State), they instead turned the guns Lil B had given to them on themselves, committing mass suicide on top of the remains of the Old BasedWorld Cathedral. Thousands of Old BasedWorld onlookers stared in paralyzing shock as the sound of hundreds of guns discharged at once. What followed was several hours of silence, as Lil B, covered in the blood of his former troops, coldly stared at the mass of dead bodies, trying his best to process what had just taken place.
EPISODE IV: A NEW HO(PE) The Waterfront West Berkeley at Night
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Bay, most of the former Task Force members still remaining in New BasedWorld have all but accepted their fates, purchasing clothing that is too tight for them to wear comfortably and listening to the government-approved “Cooking Music” playlist
on a constant loop. A small contingent of Hunchback loyalists remain, holding private meetings in the basement of the Café Au Coquelet and listening to the “Based Music” playlist
in shrouded secrecy. Upon learning that Lil B and a commission of his troops had left to invade Old BasedWorld, the few remaining Task Force members felt it was safe enough to worship the Hunchback out in the open one last time. As most of the Bitch Mob members who had crossed the BasedWorld Bay with Lil B had come from the village of West Berkeley, the BasedGod’s loyal comrades choose the village’s Waterfront area as the gathering place for the ceremony. Unbeknownst to any of the group’s members, the mass suicides in Old BasedWorld were taking place at the exact same time as the celebration in New BasedWorld was commencing. The Task Force members rejoice, harmoniously singing the BasedGod’s favorite songs of worship: “B.O.R. (Birth of Rap)”, “The Age of Information” and “No Black Person Is Ugly” are belted out towards the heavens. Suddenly, the youngest of the Task Force’s members (who goes by the name of u/insabnma
) feels a twinge underneath his bare feet. He looks down at the ground and notices that he has stepped on a golden USB drive, encrusted with diamonds and embroidered with the word “BASED” in all caps. The curious group of based boys and girls procure a laptop and, upon plugging the drive in, are amazed to find a .zip folder of 13 unreleased instrumentals credited as being produced by the BasedGod. Even more amazingly, the first song is entitled “The Waterfront West Berkeley at Night”: the exact place and time of day that they are performing their ritual. The Task Force members ecstatically listen to the new music, with several being driven to the point of involuntary orgasm. Throughout the night, word spreads throughout New BasedWorld of the drive’s existence, and suddenly, the followers of the Hunchback have a renewed sense of hope. Games of Berkeley and Magic Cards
The next evening, thousands of Task Force members, old and new, join together in the town square of Berkeley, the last place that the Hunchback was seen alive. A Task Force party has commenced, with various games being played and the Based Music playlist blasting from the colony’s speakers. As it is nearing midnight, the townspeople are each given a magic life card, rumored to be the same life cards that were discussed in the BasedGod’s legendary philosophical diatribe [“Life on Earth”](). At the stroke of 12, the second of the BasedGod’s 13 secret instrumentals is played, as the crowd enthusiastically chants “Thank You BasedGod” along to the beat. The expectation is that the Hunchback will hear their prayer and reemerge by the end of the song. However, this was not to be the case: the instrumental ends, with the BasedGod nowhere to be found. For a moment, the Task Force is disheartened, wondering if the signs pointing to a return of the Hunchback were too good to be true. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a shooting star flies across the Berkeley sky, the brightest and most brilliant star that anyone in the colony has ever seen. It continues to arc across the northwestern skyline and appears to land in the village of Albany, a formerly based territory which has been overrun with members of the Bitch Mob. The Task Force is again filled with a renewed sense of hope at this discovery, as they courageously follow the signs that could lead them to the Hunchback’s holy ascension. Walking Through Albany California
Upon arriving in Albany, the Task Force members notice a contingent of Bitch Mob members huddled around a large crater, approximately one mile in diameter. Evidently, this is where the shooting star had landed. One of the senior members of the tribe is examining the star, which, contrary to its once large and brilliant appearance, has been reduced to the size of a small rock. Several Bitch Mob members now make their way into the crater to examine the fallen star. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the once-dead star explodes into thousands of pieces, each piece shooting out towards the heads of a Bitch Mob member (though some less fortunate members wind up getting hit in the balls). When the star touches each member, it instantly uploads the third of the BasedGod’s secret instrumentals directly into their cerebral cortex. The Bitch Mob members are at first displeased at the lack of poorly mixed 808s and rattling hi-hats, but soon after, they begin to comprehend and enjoy the BasedGod’s alternative production style. Once the song has finished, they have all been converted into full-fledged comrades of the Task Force. The Berkeley delegation of Task Force welcomes their new brothers and sisters into the fold, and the group marches on to spread the word of the Hunchback’s return to the other villages. The Sound of Being Bullied
While this is all occurring in the BasedWorld territories, something else entirely is beginning to unfold in the far away kingdom of Detroit, Michigan. Teejay Witherspoon, the Bitch Mob’s certified rarest hacker, leans back in his chair and slyly grins. His successful exploitation of the BasedGod a year ago has proven to be a major turning point in the young man’s life. His notoriety has allowed him to start a rap career of his own, with several music videos on YouTube having gone viral throughout the past 12 months. His loyalty to the Bitch Mob has been unquestioned, and he has since been promoted to a senior position within the fold. As he clicks his way through a darkweb laundering scheme one evening, he leaves to take a shit and, upon returning to his computer, notices that a mysterious golden USB drive has been plugged into the laptop. Only one file exists on the drive: an audio file entitled “The Sound of Being Bullied.flac”. Teejay curiously loads the file into VLC, and the instant the song begins, he is assaulted with a rush of crushing despair and depression. The title of the song spoke for itself. Teejay is experiencing the totality of the Hunchback’s negative emotions that had been fueled by his prior actions, but even more intensely, and as the emotions begin to amplify, he next notices that his physical being is being affected as well. His body is shaking uncontrollably, his skin is beginning to peel, his eyes are popping out of his skull. After four minutes and seven seconds of agonizing torture, his entire being bursts into flames, unable to handle the power of the BasedGod’s wrath. The song ends. No Longer Afraid of the Dark
It’s dark. The air is still. The ground is hot. Water drips from the ceiling. The Hunchback, in a deep state of reflection, hasn’t moved a muscle for over 12 months. His shriveled body has been starved of nourishment and exercise, but fortunately, his weight gain has had the positive effect of having enough fat stored to keep him alive. The amount of based energy needed to have maintained this state of being has aged the BasedGod considerably. He has been devoid of almost any sense of perception for at least a few months. A faint glow radiates from his being. He has concentrated his powers to what was thought to be an unattainable degree of positivity. Before his extended withdrawal from society, the negative side of the force was something that the Hunchback struggled to put out of mind. At the level of based he now encompasses, the light of positivity is too grand for the BasedGod to fail. He is no longer afraid of the dark. And that’s because the dark no longer exists. The cavern has been filled with his based radiance. And the Hunchback is almost ready to return and spread this radiance throughout the land. Nepal Wants the BasedGod
All across BasedWorld, shooting star sightings have been abound, and thousands upon thousands of Bitch Mob members have been converted to Task Force faithful. Even beyond the traditional confines of BasedWorld, rare star sightings have also been seen in the Bitch Mob’s disparate properties. A star lands in the Bitch Mob’s Nepalian expansion territory. After having its people cleansed with the power of the BasedGod’s sixth secret instrumental track, Nepal adopts a new constitution which entails all of its citizens to embrace the Hunchback’s teachings of optimism and self-love. Taxi Around Town
The streets of Old BasedWorld have been in dire need of repair ever since the Bitch Mob ransacked the colony, but that doesn’t stop Travis, one of the land’s only remaining horse-drawn taxi drivers, from making a buck. One evening, he picks up a mysterious hooded figure in one of the town’s more dangerous districts. The man enters the carriage, greeting the driver with two words: “Hello, Travis.” The driver says nothing. The horses begin their trek through the streets, passing by a row of burning buildings. Travis breaks his silence. “It’s lit,” he says. “The buildings, that is. There’s only a few Bitch Mob members left at this point but they always blow these things up.” The figure feels more comfortable speaking to the driver: “I hear you got the nomination”. It dawns on Travis that this person must be almost exactly one year behind the times: has he ever even heard
of Cardi B? Regardless, he plays along. “Straight up. Won’t be long now.” The figure smiles, quipping, “Well, I hope you win.” He then proceeds to remove his hood. Travis looks back and momentarily gasps. His composure returns soon thereafter. Unsure of how to proceed, he attempts to continue the conversation. “I… I read about you in the papers… How are you?” Knowing he’s referring to the suicides, the figure replies, “Oh, it’s nothing new, I got over that.” They sit in silence for the remainder of the ride. Soon, the horses come upon their destination, the edge of the BasedWorld Bay. The figure gets out of the car. Turning to Travis, he asks, “How much was it?” Travis is nearly speechless. He lets out one final Auto-Tuned “So long………..LA FLAME!” and the horses gallop off. Berkeley California Before Lil B
A massive cleaning project has commenced throughout Berkeley. The townspeople have nearly all been converted to followers of the BasedGod by this point, and in a unanimous vote, the colony’s leaders choose to rid Berkeley of any and all trace of Lil B and his formerly effective propaganda. Murals are whitewashed, statues are torn down, and portraits are removed from public spaces as the eighth of the BasedGod’s 13 secret instrumentals is played on a loop. The many books proclaiming Lil B’s omnipotence are collectively burned to ash in the town square. Even saying the name “Lil B” is punishable by fine of up to $30,000, equivalent to the amount of money Lil B had charged for features (in contrast to the Hunchback’s extremely generous $0.01 minimum fee for a verse). The townspeople are once again a tight-knit unit of based human beings living their best lives. It was just like Berkeley California before Lil B.
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