With the league holding meetings last week with potential MLS expansion team owners, the betting has Sacramento a leading contender to land a team, with a strong ownership group and a promising stadium plan.
Of the groups meeting with MLS officials from Minnesota, Sacramento and Las Vegas, Sacramento is a leading contender: it has city officials pushing for MLS soccer, it has a passionate ownership group, and it has an advanced stadium plan. From the Sacramento Bee:
Sacramento injected itself into the MLS discussion because of the remarkable success of Sacramento Republic FC, which shattered attendance records and won the championship in its first season in the minor-league USL Pro circuit.
Republic FC plans to add at least 3,000 more seats to Bonney Field, for a total capacity of 11,000, and is urging fans to buy season tickets as a way of proving the city’s case to MLS. If awarded a franchise, the team plans to build a privately financed MLS stadium, seating as many as 25,000 fans, at the northern edge of the downtown Sacramento railyard.
There won’t be an immediate announcement. The topic of expansion will be taken up at league meetings held in conjunction with MLS Cup championship on Dec. 6, and then you can expect more meetings with potential owners. A final decision will need to be made on the number of expansion franchises issued. Two teams are expected to be added as soon as 2018, but it’s been assumed that Miami and David Beckham would be awarded one of those teams. But with efforts at a new stadium in South Florida stalled, that assumption may no longer be valid.
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