Major League Soccer’s Awkward Expansion Process Stalls

expansion has been slow for David Beckham and the MLS.



In a perfect world, David Beckham’s Miami Major League Soccer franchise would be playing in a brand new stadium and the MLS would have added two teams to begin play in 2020 at the end of 2017. But nothing is ever perfect and the MLS is still looking at David Beckham and asking when will you have money for funding your franchise and where is your stadium? On February 5, 2014, the league gave Beckham a discounted rate to buy an expansion team and place the franchise in Miami. The league is still waiting for some sign of life nearly four years later from Beckham’s soccer team. Beckham just added new business partners in mid-December but the stadium is still in limbo although the MLS thinks Beckham will eventually have a soccer stadium opened in about two years. Officially Beckham still does not have an MLS team although he has owners and a team name and possibly a stadium.

About a year ago, the MLS hatched a plan to find four ownership groups that could own MLS expansion teams around the United States. 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 weeding out process started quickly with St. Louis voters saying no to funding a stadium in April. MLS owners finally picked out four groups who could have the right stuff to own a team. But they came up with just one group from Nashville after Nashville elected officials pledged to help bring a soccer team to the city with a quarter of a billion public investment in a stadium. That was good enough for MLS owners to grant Nashville investors a team. But Sacramento, Cincinnati and Detroit did not have good enough proposals. The process will continue in 2018.


MLS Commissioner Don Garber and his owners have found just one city they want to add to the MLS.