MLS Still Has No Idea If Sacramento Will Get AN Expansion Franchise

Nothing new from the California capital.

Four years ago, Major League Soccer decided to expand and look for four cities that had owners and public money which wanted an MLS team. It was assumed that it would be a smooth process. It was not. The MLS has a Sacramento problem. Ron Burkle decided not to invest in getting a team, putting money up to build a stadium or a training facility. Sacramento got a team but the plan appears to be in trouble. League officials have talked to San Diego people interested in a team, but it is unclear if it would be to replace Sacramento or for another expansion slot. In 2017, paperwork was submitted from investors in Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Nashville, Phoenix, Raleigh, Sacramento, St. Louis, St. Petersburg, San Antonio, and San Diego. But most of the proposals turned out to be worthless. Eventually the MLS expansion committee whittled the list to four cities, Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento. The league eventually found governments that agreed that landing an MLS team and investing money into buildings was the right thing to do in Nashville and in Cincinnati.

The MLS went into Austin, Texas after the owner of the Columbus Crew decided the Ohio capital was not for him. League administrators found a group to take over the Crew’s business to keep the team in Columbus and let the Crew’s old ownership group to take an expansion franchise in Austin. In 2019, the league found two more willing owners in St. Louis and Sacramento. Then a 30th team came in, David Tepper got the Charlotte expansion franchise. Sacramento’s expansion bid is on the ropes unless another Burkle-like investor is found soon. The MLS expansion process has not gone as planned.

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