Las Vegas still has hopes for an MLS franchise, as some city officials are open to reconsidering whether to attract a team.
In recent years, Las Vegas undertook efforts to make itself a viable MLS expansion contender. Into early 2015, officials discuss a plan with Findlay Sports & Entertainment and the Cordish Cos that involved building a new, 24,000-seat soccer stadium in downtown’s Symphony Park.
However, in February 2015, MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed that the league was eliminating Las Vegas from contention for expansion rounds in 2017 and 2018, though he did not rule out the possibility of reviving talks with the city down the road. Despite the fact that it is not among the league’s 10 current finalists for future rounds of expansion, Las Vegas is looking to get back into the picture.
Next week, city officials will take a closer look at a proposal that could be pitched to the MLS, one that involves Inner Circle Sports, LLC. More from The Las Vegas Journal-Review:
The Las Vegas City Council is slated to discuss next week a contract with New York-based company Inner Circle Sports, LLC, to develop a plan aimed at drawing an MLS team to Las Vegas.
The first phase of the proposed contract up for council consideration next week is not to exceed $80,000, including reimbursable expenses like travel. The contract calls for the company to help the city build a case for a Las Vegas MLS franchise from the ground up, developing a marketing plan and funding sources.
Another council vote would be required if the city pursues the company’s work beyond the first phase of the contract, for services like investor outreach and negotiating development agreements for a stadium.
“I see nothing wrong with making a low-cost attempt to see if we could score a Major League Soccer team,” Councilman Bob Coffin said.
One of the many questions with this proposal could be the site. Mayor Carolyn Goodman was reported by the Review-Journal as touting the Cashman Center site, a location she has been vocal about wanting to develop. Goodman was a proponent of using the site for an NFL stadium that could house the Oakland Raiders, despite skepticism from other project partners. Her pitch comes as one of the area’s tenants, Minor League Baseball’s Las Vegas 51s, is expressing desire for a new ballpark in Summerlin.
Goodman noted, however, that the MLS may hinge on what happens with the Raiders. Recent reports indicate that the city could be in line to land the NFL franchise by early 2017.
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