MLS Officials Speak Highly Of St. Louis Expansion Bid
MLS officials said that team owners "discussed several competing expansion proposals" on Thursday and came away with a "glowing impression of the St. Louis bid," according to David Hunn of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. MLS officials and owners said that a vote on the St. Louis bid is "a ways off." At least a half dozen cities are "competing to win two coveted franchises." MLS Commissioner Don Garber said that picking expansion cities and "growing the 26-team league to 28 could take as long as another year." The next step for the St. Louis group will "land it in front of the league expansion committee, which the league is reorganizing now." The expansion committee has in the past "recommended finalists who then present to the full league ownership." It also has "picked recent team winners Nashville and Cincinnati." League officials and owners continued to "call St. Louis’ bid a front-runner" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/14).
ROOM TO GROW: The MLS BOG voted in favor of having its expansion committee analyze if the league should expand beyond 28 teams, an analysis that is expected to begin Jan. 1. Meeting Thursday in N.Y., the group discussed and reviewed potential expansion markets, as well as the progress being made in Austin and Columbus. However, nothing was formalized regarding the league’s next round of expansion. MLS Commissioner Don Garber recently said he “envisions the league growing” beyond 28 teams. The BOG also called for an analysis of local partnerships between teams and sports betting companies, to be conducted by one of its board-level business ventures committees. League sources have said that teams have already begun some of those conversations, and it is expected the league will approve the category ahead of the '19 season. MLS currently prohibits sports betting sponsorships (Ian Thomas, THE DAILY).