The long-awaited MLS expansion teams announcement is in, and the winners are Nashville and … nobody?
Nashville is the first of 12 cities that submitted formal bids in January to be awarded one of four available MLS expansion teams…
As a result of a private-public partnership between the club’s owners and the community, the team will play in a new, 27,500-seat soccer stadium at The Fairgrounds Nashville in the capital city’s artistic Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood.
That’s all well and good and expected, given that Nashville was waving $75 million plus free land at the league as an inducement for getting a team. (That’s what sports league press releases call a “private-public partnership.”) But what about expansion team #2? Why didn’t Sacramento, Cincinnati, or Detroit get a nod as well?
Nashville and Sacramento had been viewed as the favorites for the league’s newest teams, with Cincinnati and Detroit the other finalists. A decision on the second area picked is expected within a few weeks.
So you gotta ask at this point: What is MLS waiting for? Holding out hope that someone will fill the Cincinnati ownership group’s $25 million stadium funding gap? Waiting to see if David Beckham’s Miami team will really be ready to go anytime soon, or if the league should pick two more winners now, and push Miami back till the next round of expansion? It could be anything, really — but until we learn more, it’s just congratulations, Nashville taxpayers, your $75 million check has won you an MLS team, enjoy.