Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber will make his way to the music city tomorrow to announce that Nashville has been awarded an expansion franchise. Garber will be joined by John Ingram, who fronted the group vying for the team with the help of the Wilf brothers, who currently own the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. The Nashville-based franchise will likely begin play in the 2020 season.
Nashville Gets MLS Team
Tennessee governor Bill Haslam and Nashville mayor Megan Barry are expected to be in attendance for the historic announcement taking place at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Originally, the city was not viewed as a strong contender for an MLS team, but that quickly changed. Ingram’s wealth along with the booming sports scene in the city helped make Nashville an ideal fit for a soccer league.
What made the city so attractive to the MLS was its detailed plan for a potential stadium. Ingram and company intend to build a 27,500-seat complex just outside the downtown strip. The project will reportedly cost a total of $250 million. Ingram’s acquisition of a large amount of surrounding parts of the stadium was too alluring for the league to pass up. Nashville was essentially the only city hoping to attract an MLS team that didn’t have major flaws or question marks in its proposal.
One More Expansion Slot Left
The MLS had guaranteed two expansion teams would join the league, and an additional announcement naming the second city will come soon. Detroit, Cincinnati, and Sacramento are currently the three front-runners vying for the last spot. The biggest hurdle for new members of the MLS is stadium funding or the condition of an already constructed venue. Other big cities like Phoenix, San Diego, and San Antonio hope to land an MLS franchise in the near future as well.