Is Austin In Or Looking In?
Has Major League Soccer given Austin an expansion team or is the league still searching for two cities to get the membership up to the stated goal of having 28 teams? It is unclear where the expansion process is going. The league is waiting to see what happens on Election Day in San Diego with stadium initiatives on the ballot. Then there is suddenly a renewal of interest in St. Louis because a potential ownership group has stepped forward and has expressed interest in joining the league. Phoenix is not out of the mix nor is Detroit or Las Vegas or Charlotte. There is also no reason the MLS should be capped at 28 teams but the owners seem to want 28 teams, after all it is the owners’ business not the fans.
In February 2017, the MLS went looking for four cities that had the right stuff to land an expansion franchise. So far, officially, the MLS got half a loaf. Nashville and Cincinnati area politicians eventually were able to deliver a way to build stadiums for expansion teams. But 10 other potential markets were unable to land a team for various reasons. St. Louis voters said no to funding a soccer stadium, other cities such as Charlotte could not get political support, Sacramento had an ownership problem, and Detroit had a stadium location problem. The league never considered Austin, Texas but may end up there in 2021. David Beckham’s Miami expansion franchise has a name but Beckham is still looking for a stadium site. Beckham is seeking a part of a Miami golf course as his site for his business and awaits the results of a November referendum to see if voters’ hand over the land to the team to build a stadium. Expansion slots remain but is it one or two openings? The expansion process has been a rigorous ordeal, Major League Soccer has growing pains.
Commissioner Don Garber is still trying to fix MLS problems.