After meeting with MLS officials, Justin Findlay says Las Vegas is in prime position to land an MLS expansion team if a new downtown stadium is built.
There’s a scramble among cities to be in the next wave of expansion, and along with Las Vegas, other cities seeking an MLS expansion team include Miami (which has a provisional franchise, although landing a new stadium is a big issue), Minneapolis, El Paso, Sacramento, San Diego and now Vegas. We have some heavy hitters lining up for a MLS expansion team as well.
Some heavyweights are behind a proposed Las Vegas team: local businessman Findlay has teamed up with Cordish Cos. on a plan for a new downtown stadium, and he’s recruited city officials to back it. From the Las Vegas Sun:
[Findlay] was encouraged after entertaining MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott this week in Las Vegas. Abbott met with Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and other city officials, toured downtown and got a sense of how MLS would work in Las Vegas.
Although league officials won’t comment on expansion possibilities, you can argue the MLS brass wouldn’t have traveled to Las Vegas if it wasn’t in serious consideration.
“Hearing right from the horse’s mouth, this is really a possibility,” Findlay said. “We just have to convert on our plan. There are no reasons why these big, big dreams can’t happen.”
There is one big mistake here: MLS league officials travel all the time, and it’s folly to assume that a visit to Las Vegas means a team there is in the cards. It’s way too early for MLS officials to have a short list of expansion markets, especially when there are multiple groups seeking a Vegas team. Jason Ader, a Manhattan fund manager and a director and shareholder of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., has also approached MLS officials about a $350-million Vegas stadium project that would also include an MLS expansion team. There are no financing plans on the table yet; Ader says he can deliver a stadium without public money past some tax concessions.