MLS announces expansion teams in Nashville and TBD

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.


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23 comments on “MLS announces expansion teams in Nashville and TBD

  1. Looks like Nashville had the most complete bid and presentation a few weeks back when presenting in front of MLS. It appears that each city still has some questions about each bid. Sacramento sees to be about money, Cincy seems to be about stadium issues as you pointed out, Detroit seems to have an issue with the last minute change of stadium to Ford Field. Also, rumor was that the projected expansion fee has risen from what was originally predicted.

  2. “Also, rumor was that the projected expansion fee has risen from what was originally predicted.”

    Is there a source for that rumor? Seems bizarre that they could take bids without the fees being fully locked in. Not sure how exactly MLS handles it but other sports–MLB is an example with the recent Marlins’ sale–require an itemized financial plan before they give approval. Hard to to do that without knowing the exact expansion fee.

  3. This announcement does not surprise me one bit. Why I have heard for DECADES that “Soccer is the next biggest thing” and the fact, that MLS is essentially charging “Chump Change” for an expansion fee (when compared to say what the NHL charged the Las Vegas Golden Knights), NY State choosing the Islanders over NYCFC (this from an Islanders fan), and the fact US Men’s team lost a chance to play in the World Cup by losing to Trinidad, and that got less media coverage then the Giancarlo Stanton trade to the Yankees, we see where American soccer is in 2017. Wake me up when they catch up to hockey (let alone MLB, NBA, NFL and College Football and basketball).

    1. Really the Stanton trade was a big story in New York. And Mario picked the guys who last month threw a bunch of money at him, Really. BTW Colin Cowherd is trying to wake you up.

  4. In fairness to the Nashville bid , a portion of that infrastructure money was going to be spent at the fairgrounds with or without the stadium. Also to avoid a Columbus situation , the land is being developed to help make the location a destination point with other entertainment, hotel & residential development.

    1. Gosh, we’ve never heard before that a stadium will be accompanied by “mixed development.” How innovative.

      Proof will be in the pudding.

      1. Again, in fairness to the Nashville bid they originally asked for a downtown location. Enough for a stadium only. The mayor insisted on the fairgrounds to help spur development in that area.

        1. If you are going to build a stadium, a fairground makes more sense than using valuable downtown land for such a rarely used asset.

          Why people would prefer to live by a stadium is never really explained—but good luck to all!

          1. Your right ,way would anyone want to live by a stadium. Here in Chicago there are a bunch of fools that pay huge rents to live close to Wrigley park. Also there are people who love to live next to golf courses and deal with broken windows etc.

  5. The problem in Sacramento seems to be that MLS doubts the local group can raise $400M ($150M franchise fee plus $250M for the stadium), and I agree with this skepticism — they can’t get the money and have enough left to run a franchise. This is all a stall to see if someone else can get the money — and I think they can.

    It’s pretty important that cities no bid against themselves here. At $400M, if I was a potential investor, I’d be asking a lot of really hard questions about now. And I’d expect answers.

  6. After far too many public-private “partnerships” for minor league sports and major league practice fields where I live, I can see that it inevitably means the public “partner” pays all the costs of the “partnership” while the private “partner” keeps all the revenue.

    Some “parternship” that is.

  7. When MLS looks at TV market size I wonder if they take into account competition for viewers. Detroit and Cincy are great markets, but they also have baseball and football teams. (Plus hockey and basketball in Detroit). In Sacramento they’d have the summer to themselves, and only basketball the rest of the year. Here in Chicago the Fire are popular, but way behind the other 5 teams in TV viewers.

    1. There are a lot of Giants, A’s, Dodgers and Angels fans here. Summers are fuller than you’d think. The Giants and A’s are practically home teams.

      1. No, billionaires get rich by having the smartest people in the room, and in this case, getting cities to guarantee money.

        The City gets the risk; the billionaires get the profits; the taxpayers bail it out.

  8. Besides Kansas City and Denver, MLS has steered clear of small market MLB towns. I know Cincinnati has supported minor league soccer but I have to think that a prospective owner would favor a non-MLB town, all other factors being equal.

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