Major League Soccer has confirmed that a second expansion team will not be announced until after the holiday season. The board of governors of the MLS met last week to discuss the three finalists, Sacramento, Cincinnati, and Detroit, and elected to take more time to decide which city will ultimately land a franchise. This announcement comes just days after the league awarded an expansion squad to the city of Nashville.
Here is an overview of the proposals made by all three cities in hopes of landing a soccer team:
Sacramento suffered possibly the biggest blow of any of the remaining candidates recently. Two key investors, Meg Whitman and Jed York, officially withdrew from the potential ownership group. York is the current CEO of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers – he had been part of the group for the past two years before removing himself. The remaining members of the board are now desperate, searching for billionaire investors to join their group. This is incredibly damaging news for Sacramento, and makes the city the biggest underdog to land a franchise.
Potential ownership is not a roadblock over in Detroit. The group consists of Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Instead, it is the lack of a stadium plan that may hurt the city’s chances at landing a squad. After originally pitching to fund a soccer stadium, the ownership group then backed away from that proposal. The Ford family has offered to host the new team at the Lions’ stadium. Reports suggest that the MLS is not fond of this plan at all as the league prefers smaller venues for its teams.
At this time, it appears that Cincinnati is the front-runner for a new soccer franchise. That would mean the city’s current team, FC Cincinnati, would be given a promotion to the MLS. Many saw the admittance of Nashville as an upset over Cincinnati, which already has a team, facility, and most importantly, an established fanbase. An official announcement is expected in early 2018.