Viva Las Vegas!
Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber is intrigued by Las Vegas. The league seemingly is looking to replace the Sacramento expansion franchise that was supposed to start play in 2023 and Las Vegas is now a candidate. The league has realized there is no white knight ready to rescue the franchise after Ron Burkle, the major financial backer of the business, pulled his money and support from the franchise. Las Vegas which is a very small market with limited financial wherewithal but Garber is interested in the area. Las Vegas is now going after Major League Baseball with the pursuit of the Oakland Athletics franchise. The National Basketball Association’s Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens and the National Hockey League’s Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley are separately pursuing an expansion franchise. Additionally, there is a third group wanting a team. Garber said, “That market, it continues to explode from a population growth perspective. We’ve seen the success of certainly of the Knights and big events. We tested a couple of events with the Gold Cup final. The Leagues Cup final will be there. The Gold Cup final sold out in minutes. Las Vegas is an interesting market.”
In 2017, MLS owners decided to add four teams to its group. The expansion process has been slow and has hit some obstacles. The league received interest from 12 cities presumably with owners who could foot the bill for a team. The hope was to award two expansion franchises by the end of 2017 and two more in 2018. The expansion process did not go as planned and just three cities Austin, Cincinnati and Nashville had the right stuff to get teams #25, #26 and #27. St. Louis and Sacramento got franchises #28 and #29. Charlotte was given slot #30. Major League Soccer wants 30 teams, finding #30 has been a problem.
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