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SBD/July 3, 2013/Franchises
Oklahoma City Awarded USL Team; Ownership Hopes For MLS Within 10 Years
Published July 3, 2013
TEST RUN: In Las Vegas, Paul Delos Santos noted the two "fiercest rivals in Mexican soccer will play at Sam Boyd Stadium this week in a game that is expected to draw 20,000 fans -- and, more importantly, show whether Las Vegas can muster enough enthusiasm to host its own" MLS team. There is a "strong fan base in Las Vegas, due partly to a Hispanic community that embraces soccer." But even though the league "recently expanded to 20 teams, there have been no discussions of a team coming to Las Vegas." When it comes to "sanctioning new teams, MLS focuses on three major factors: How fans in a prospective league city respond -- in ticket sales and TV ratings -- to exhibition contests, the interest of an ownership group savvy in sports entertainment and the quality of a venue." Las Vegas has "struggled to find owners interested in bringing a team to the city, as professional franchises are high-risk ventures." As for building a soccer stadium, "no such proposal has surfaced in Las Vegas." Two proposed arena project developers have "expressed interest in hosting an MLS team." ESPN Deportes Las Vegas Program Dir Alvaro Puentes said that he "had no doubt the city could support a franchise." Puentes said that the "local Hispanic community would provide the core fan base that a team would need to take root here." Nevada has the "14th largest Hispanic population in the country." Puentes: "We are ready for an MLS team in town" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 7/1).