The MLS expansion to 30 teams has a schedule.
Speaking in the CAA World Sports Congress Conference On Tuesday in New York, MLS Commissioner Don Garber confirmed that the next expansion team “will be appointed at some point or announced in the next 12 months.”
Many recent public signs and comments point to that team ending up in Las Vegas. Sacramento was the top seed until it lost the backing of leading billionaire investor Ron Burkle, and Las Vegas has emerged at the forefront with various groups allegedly vying for MLS approval. Garber has also previously verified the name of San Diego and Phoenix as candidates, while Sacramento could still be a big whale away from getting back into the mix.
Las Vegas, which previously didn’t have top-tier professional sports teams but now has three in the NHL Golden Knights, NFL Raiders, and WNBA Aces, could end up with a fourth if MLS lands there. Vegas Lights from the USL Championship has been around ever since. 2018). The city offers are supposedly being directed by Golden Knights owner Bill Foley, Milwaukee Bucks and Aston Villa owner Wes Edens, and hedge fund founder Seth Klarman.
Just when the league’s 30th team, whether in Las Vegas or elsewhere, takes the field remains to be seen. The league’s 28th team, Charlotte FC, will begin play in 2022, while number 29, St. Louis City FC, will join the league in 2023.
That is also the year the new and expanded League Cup tournament will begin with all MLS and Liga MX teams. It is currently slated to be a 47-team tournament (29 from MLS, 18 from Liga MX), but 48 would be considerably more orderly for a competition, while also mimicking the format of the 2026 World Cup to be held in North America. And, while speculative, it’s not too difficult to connect the dots on how another MLS team launching for 2023 would help complete that puzzle.
Las Vegas recently hosted a couple of major one-off matches as something of a test case. Last summer, Allegiant Stadium, home of the Raiders, was the site of the Concacaf Gold Cup final and the League Cup final. The Gold Cup final, which ended up between the United States and Mexico, sold out in 90 minutes and had more than 61,000 fans, while the League Cup final between Seattle Sounders and Club León had an attendance of more than 24,000.
“That market continues to explode from a population growth perspective”, Garber told ESPN in August. “We have certainly seen the success of the Knights and the big events … Las Vegas is an interesting market. We want to secure our 30th team so that we can have a fully expanded league for the World Cup in 2026, so we will continue to focus on that market. “
MLS expansion fees have skyrocketed in recent years with Charlotte FC, the most recent franchise to be awarded, paying $ 325 million to earn a spot in the league. That’s $ 125 million more than what St. Louis paid.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.