Three front-runners have emerged as the leading candidates for the next Major League Soccer expansion franchise.
On Wednesday the league confirmed that representatives from Sacramento, Las Vegas and Minneapolis will be in New York City this week at the league office to hold meetings about becoming the next expansion cities.
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In a release from MLS, they had the following to say about meeting the potential expansion markets.
Three markets will present their case for a Major League Soccer expansion team on Thursday in New York as the league looks to meet its stated goal of 24 teams by the end of the decade.
The league office confirmed on Wednesday that representatives from Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and Sacramento will make presentations at MLS headquarters on Thursday, November 20.
As we know the league is adding two new teams for 2015, in New York City FC and Orlando City, to take the number of franchises to 20, while new clubs in Los Angeles and Atlanta will launch in 2017. Plus David Beckham’s Miami franchise continues to work through the red tape in South Florida. That means one more spot is open for expansion right now, depending on whether or not Beckham’s franchise in Miami comes to fruition.
After these meetings with reps from Vegas, Sacramento and Minneapolis, the MLS Board of Directors will discuss the matter further during their next meeting which is scheduled for Dec. 6.
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Of the three markets, Sacramento seems to be the closest to becoming a viable MLS franchise with legendary U.S. midfielder Preki in charge of USL PRO franchise Sacramento Republic who have an extremely wealthy and experienced ownership group with close links to the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. Plus they are pushing ahead with plans for a brand new soccer-specific stadium in downtown Sacramento after the Republic set new attendance records for North America’s third-tier in their inaugural season last year.
In Las Vegas The Cordish Companies and Findlay Sports and Entertainment group have pitched a downtown soccer stadium plan to the council. The new venue would cost $200 million but it would rely heavily on public funding and still needs approval as a final decision on the stadium will go to vote in December.
As for Minneapolis, there are believed to be two groups interested in bringing Major League Soccer to Minnesota. ProSoccerTalk contacted senior officials at North American Soccer League (NASL) franchise, Minnesota United, who are based just outside Minneapolis but received a “no comment” response as to their presence in New York for the meetings on Thursday.
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While a separate group with close links to the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL have already revealed they’ve been in talks with MLS about housing a team in the Twin Cities. The Vikings’ vice president of public affairs, Lester Bagley, said this back in April, 2014. “We’ve been stepping up our conversations with the MLS. There are definitely others interested in the market.”