According to multiple reports, Minneapolis has been chosen by MLS as the site of the league’s 23rd franchise. And the winning ownership group will reportedly be the current owners of the NASL’s Minnesota United, which includes the owners of the Twins and Timberwolves as investors, over the owners of the Vikings, who also were in the running.
That’s significant because unlike the Vikings plan, which would have seen an expansion soccer team sharing the new football stadium, the United plan would involve a new soccer-only stadium being built downtown near the Twins’ Target Field, though how to pay for it remains an open question. It’s an open question that will need to be resolved soon, though — the reports are that MLS is making the expansion team contingent on getting a stadium approved — so expect lots of “If you want a team, cough up some public dough” rhetoric in the near future.
This is not surprising, given that it’s how MLS has handled things in the past (and how it’s now apparently handling David Beckham’s planned Miami franchise, which is getting booted to the back of the line until it gets a stadium plan that both Beckham and the league are happy with). After NYC F.C. and whatever the new Atlanta franchise ends up being called were granted franchises without soccer-only stadium deals in place, it seemed for a minute like the league might be willing to let in anyone with a big enough check without playing some stadium brinkmanship first, but it’s nice to know that everything is apparently back to normal in the sports blackmail game.