MLS expansion update: Four finalists named

MLS Expansion Update - 2017

Major League Soccer announced today that Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento have been named finalists for the two expansion clubs that are scheduled to be announced later this year. Owners and officials representing the four prospective expansion markets will make formal presentations to MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the League’s Expansion Committee in New York on Dec. 6.

The four selected markets and ownership groups are:

Cincinnati:Carl H. Lindner III – Co-CEO of American Financial Group and Owner, Chairman and CEO of FC Cincinnati; Scott Farmer - CEO of Cintas Corporation.

Detroit: Dan Gilbert – Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans, Inc.; Tom Gores – Owner of the Detroit Pistons and Founder, Chairman and CEO of Platinum Equity.

Nashville:John Ingram – Chairman of Ingram Industries Inc. and CEO Nashville Soccer Holdings; Wilf Family – owners of the Minnesota Vikings; Turner Family – Managing Partners of MarketStreet Enterprises.

Sacramento: Kevin Nagle – Managing Partner of Sac Soccer & Entertainment Holdings and Minority Owner of the Sacramento Kings. Jed York – CEO of the San Francisco Forty-Niners. Mark Friedman – President of Fulcrum Property Group and Minority Owner of the Sacramento Kings, and other limited partners.

“The leaders of the Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento MLS expansion ownership groups have bold visions and innovative plans for their clubs, stadiums and their involvement in their respective communities,” said Commissioner Garber. “We are pleased these highly-respected business and sports leaders have been so determined to bring Major League Soccer to their cities. We have been greatly encouraged by the progress that all four of these groups have made and we are looking forward to their presentations.”

Following the presentations on Dec. 6, a meeting of MLS’ Board of Governors on Dec. 14 in New York City will include additional discussions on expansion with ownership representatives from every MLS club. The next two MLS expansion teams are scheduled to be announced before the end of the year. Two more expansion teams are scheduled to be selected at a later date.

This past January ownership groups from 12 markets submitted formal bids for an MLS expansion team. The other eight markets were Charlotte, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa/St. Petersburg.

While only Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento are being considered for the next two expansion teams, all remaining markets are under consideration for the following two expansion clubs that will be announced at a later date.  

In December of 2015, MLS announced plans to expand the league to a total of 28 teams. Los Angeles Football Club begins play in 2018, becoming the league’s 23rd team, and discussions continue to progress for an MLS expansion team in Miami.