Vancouver Whitecaps FC announce that Major League Soccer (MLS) Commissioner Don Garber and MLS President Mark Abbott visited BC Place Stadium on Tuesday, to tour the facility as part of the league’s due diligence in evaluating six potential MLS expansion markets.
"We’re pleased to have had the opportunity to host Commissioner Garber and Mr. Abbott," said Whitecaps President Bob Lenarduzzi. "The tour of BC Place was positive and I believe it will go a long way to supporting our bid to bring MLS to Vancouver."
"We were impressed with BC Place Stadium during yesterday’s tour and believe that the downtown location in the heart of Vancouver’s sports and entertainment district could provide a world-class environment for an MLS expansion team," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "Seeing the stadium helped to bring the renderings of the proposed renovations to life and confirmed that the renovations are on track to create an intimate soccer atmosphere."
Last month, BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCo) and the Whitecaps unveiled a rendering depicting how BC Place’s proposed new retractable roof might be configured, in order to best accommodate soccer events at the refurbished stadium. BC Place is currently undergoing a two-phase renovation plan, with phase two scheduled to be completed in time for the start of the 2011 Major League Soccer (MLS) season.
According to League reports, Commissioner Garber, Mr. Abbott and other MLS representatives have recently visited or will visit all six potential expansion markets prior to making a final decision on the League's next two expansion teams.
The 14-team MLS is set to add Seattle in 2009 and Philadelphia in 2010. An announcement regarding which markets will receive the next two expansion clubs is expected to take place by the end of this year or in the first quarter of 2009. The league office and the MLS expansion committee are currently reviewing the Whitecaps MLS expansion application, along with five other applications from markets in the United States and Canada.