MLS Commissioner Don Garber and his owners are committed to expanding the number of cities in the league. St. Louis more than likely will not be one of them.
Earlier this year, Jonathan Kraft, whose family owns the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots and the MLS’ New England Revolution, went through 12 applications that Major League Soccer has received to see if any of the proposals work well enough to fill four slots that have been allocated for the expansion. That would take the number of teams in a league that probably has not made any money in its two-decade existence to 28.
Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Nashville, Phoenix, Raleigh, Sacramento, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa investors wanted in. Charlotte has become somewhat worrisome from a political standpoint. It seems getting public money for a stadium may be a problem. Nashville elected officials are scrambling to put together a publicly funded soccer stadium proposal. The San Diego bid comes after the city could not reach an agreement with the Spanos family to build a new National Football League state of the art facility for the Spanos business. Dean Spanos took his team to the Los Angeles market. There is another element to the San Diego bid. San Diego MLS backers think they can get customers who will cross the border from nearby Tijuana, Mexico. The San Diego group also estimates about 6,000 people from the San Diego market go to Tijuana home games in a Mexican soccer league. The first two expansion teams might be granted by year’s end and start play in 2020. A potential owner rush is on to enter a league that has not shown a profit. For now, St. Louis is probably off an expansion list.
The MLS is looking for a few good expansion cities.