MLS Needs To Get Bigger

The commissioner wants more teams.

The Major League Soccer season is underway and the league commissioner, Don Garber, said the league needs more teams. The league is still seeking a 30th franchise with San Diego and Las Vegas in the running. San Diego became a viable option for a simple reason, there is a stadium in the city that can be used for soccer. Las Vegas needs a stadium. San Diego has just one Major League team, Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres franchise so in theory there can be some corporate money available for an additional sports franchise. The National Football League’s San Diego Chargers ownership abandoned the city following the 2016 season after the team owners, the Spanos family, could not get a football stadium built locally. In 2016, San Diego voters said no to funding a soccer stadium at the site of the city’s stadium that once housed the baseball Padres and the NFL’s Chargers. San Diego State University built a smaller stadium on the site and there was some campus expansion nearby.

The San Diego State University stadium could be used for soccer. In May 2022, San Diego State athletics director JD Wicker said the stadium was given the go ahead by MLS officials as a venue that was up to league standards. The San Diego news was somewhat of a surprise in that the MLS seemed to be honing in on Las Vegas as an expansion site and that would give the league 30 teams.  The problem in Las Vegas is money. The league probably wants a big paycheck from a would-be owner and then a Las Vegas soccer facility. San Diego has a stadium advantage over Las Vegas. Detroit, Phoenix, Sacramento and Tampa may also be able to support an MLS franchise.

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Don Garber Photo: MLS Soccer