MLS Plan To Expand By Four Teams Stalls

MLS Commissioner Don Garber has franchises for sale.

Remember when Major League Soccer wanted to expand by four teams and was in what appeared to be a major rush to find four cities and four owners who had what it took to join the club? It appears that Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber has thrown some cold water on that rush to find four cities. In 2017, about a dozen cities were considered as contenders for the four slots, by the end of 2017 only Nashville made the cut and that came after city leaders approved a plan to use a quarter of a billion dollars of public money to help build a soccer facility. The league approved Cincinnati’s entry into the league earlier this year after politicians maneuvered pieces to get a stadium done. But a year and a half after the league announced it wanted to expand by four, it appears for now that just two will be added. The league is also waiting to see how the planned move of the Columbus Crew franchise to a city the MLS never considered, Austin, Texas proceeds.

Garber and his owners are still kicking the tires in cities that still want an MLS team.  “We have not established a timetable for that next round, but between the five or six or seven that are still in the mix, we’ll pick two of them and we’ll figure out how they’re going to roll out so that we can be a fully expanded league.  But, we still are engaged in Detroit, we’re still engaged in San Diego, we’re still engaged in Cincinnati. St. Louis has been floating around a little bit. There’s been some talk in Charlotte, there’s been some talk in Las Vegas and Phoenix.” Cincinnati does have a team.  What Major League Soccer owners and Garber have found out is that it is getting harder to find willing partners.

I’m Evan Weiner For the Politics Of Sports Business.