Sources: St. Louis Set To Land MLS Expansion Club For '22
MLS plans to announce next week that St. Louis has "secured an expansion team," with plans for an event in the city on Tuesday, according to sources cited in a front-page piece by Ben Frederickson of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. After the St. Louis ownership group presented their bid to the league at the MLS All-Star Game last month, Commissioner Don Garber said the group's effort has been "amazing." The "MLS4TheLou" group is led by Enterprise Holdings Foundation President Carolyn Kindle Betz, World Wide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh and other members of Enterprise’s Taylor family. The group has plans for a "primarily privately funded downtown stadium and a majority female ownership group." In April, Garber said that the league was "entering 'exclusive, formal' discussions with St. Louis and Sacramento as it aimed to expand from 27 teams to 30." The St. Louis team is "targeting" '22 to start play. Final plans for "stadium financing, sponsorship deals and team details, such as team name and colors, have not been revealed" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 8/15). ESPN.com's Jeff Carlisle noted the stadium funding issue was a "critical hurdle to overcome." A '17 attempt to bring MLS to St. Louis "died when a referendum that would have" provided $60M in public money toward a venue was "rejected by voters" (ESPN.com, 8/14).
NOT FAR BEHIND? Representatives from the Sacramento investor group, which is also trying to secure an MLS team, said that "negotiations continue between the league" and USL club Sacramento Republic FC. Garber last month said that talks with the Penguins co-Owner Ron Burkle-led Sacramento group "had not yet led to a deal." However, he added that he "plans to visit Sacramento soon, and hopes that St. Louis and Sacramento could be on board to start league play" in '22 (SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/15).
GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY: Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz said of team Owner Bill Foley's interest in bringing an MLS team to Las Vegas, "We're not exactly sure where we would stack up in terms of the pecking order itself." Appearing on the Las Vegas Review-Journal's "Golden Edge" podcast this week, Bubolz said he is "confident in our group and how we could impact that league." He added, "We're probably not going to spend a lot of time talking about [it] publicly because we want to lay the groundwork the right way. And then when we have our bid together, we'll sit with the folks at Major League Soccer and we'll talk about why we believe we'd be the right choice for an ownership group in Las Vegas and see where it takes us. We're in the mix. We know that and we're going to continue that effort" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 8/15).