Las Vegas out of the running for next MLS Expansion Franchise

Las Vegas will not be the home of a Major League Soccer expansion franchise until after 2018 as it now appears Minneapolis, Sacramento, San Antonio and Miami will battle for the next two spots in the league.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber notified Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman about the decision in a letter on Thursday as he confirmed: “We are no longer considering Las Vegas as an expansion market until after 2018.”

MLS letter to Las Vegas Mayor Goodman

 

Mayor Goodman was obviously disappointed with the decision but remains focused on trying to bring a major sports franchise to the city in the next few years.

“Of course I am disappointed that the MLS did not select Las Vegas for an expansion team in the 2017 or 2018 seasons,” Goodman said.

“I still believe our city would be the perfect location for a major league team, and I am saddened that we miss out on the opportunity to gain $450 million in downtown investment and job creation.

Photo: An artist's portrayal of what a Las Vegas MLS stadium could look like

Photo: An artist’s portrayal of what a Las Vegas MLS stadium could look like

“A team coming here would have been the catalyst for other developments in the downtown. I hope the MLS will still consider Las Vegas for a team beyond 2018, and that the league’s decision will not be a negative influence on other major league franchises coming to our city.”

Atlanta and Los Angeles will enter the league in 2017, becoming the 21st and 22nd teams but Don Garber’s vision for 24 MLS teams by the end of the decade means two more are expected to join by 2019.

Miami are expected to be one of those teams so long as David Beckham can find a stadium for the team and that would mean Minneapolis, Sacramento and San Antonio would then battle for the final remaining spot.

Who would you like to see announced as the 23rd and 24th teams to join MLS?

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MLS to listen to three expansion projects tomorrow

Major League Soccer will meet with three MLS expansion candidates on Thursday as MLS Commissioner Don Garber looks to meet his target of 24 teams by the end of the decade.

Sacramento, Las Vegas and Minneapolis representatives will all present their cases to the league office in New York but no firm decisions will be made until after December 6 – at the MLS Board of Governors meeting.

MLS has grown rapidly in recent years and the rate of expansion across the country is showing no signs of slowing down.

New York City FC and Orlando City SC enter the league next season, while Atlanta and Los Angeles FC are set to join in 2017.

David Beckham’s Miami franchise is still hoping to join MLS but problems with stadium plans and other issues are stalling progress.

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Without Miami, the league will have 22 teams in 2017, and two more are expected by 2020.

Three more markets will look to join the rapidly growing league when they present their cases at MLS headquarters tomorrow.

Sacramento has a big support base for soccer and they are already used to filling a soccer specific stadium with over 11,000 fans in USL Pro.

Minnesota is another area with a strong soccer support base but two separate groups will present their cases for an MLS side.

One group owns the current NASL team Minnesota United, while the other owns NFL side Minnesota Vikings and perhaps importantly the new 65,000-seater stadium they are set to move into in 2016.

The third expansion hopeful is Las Vegas but there is so much doubt surrounding the project on the west coast that it is unlikely they will be implemented by the end of the decade.

The city does not currently have a soccer team so it is difficult to know how much people would take to it, and an MLS franchise would have to compete with so many other entertainment outlets.

Major League Soccer looks certain to have at least 24 teams by 2020 and tomorrow’s meeting in New York could set the ball rolling for at least one more MLS franchise.

Who do you think has the strongest case for an MLS expansion franchise?