The Bahamas is seeking to obtain a franchise in the USL, and could join the league within the coming years.
Businessman Burton Rodgers is leading an effort that calls for a USL franchise to play its games at Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in Nassau. While it is going to take time for the process to play out, several prominent groups–including AEG and the National Sports Authority–are working with Rodgers on the plan.
The timing of when, if at all, a team would be added to the Bahamas remains to be seen, as the process is in the early stages. However, Rodgers believes that those involved in the proposal are eager to see it work. More from Tribune 242:
“The conversation about this has been going for a while and we have been undertaking the lengthy process of trying to make this happen,” Rodgers told The Tribune yesterday. “The planning is still in the very early stages and there is much left to be done, but all of the project’s stakeholders are very excited to be involved in this process. I’m a sports fanatic and I’m attracted to everything in the sports world. I attended several of the major soccer matches at the stadium – Totteham versus Jamaica and the Bahamas against the US Olympic team – and I realised firsthand the potential the sport could have here. It’s the number one sport in the world of course but the growth recently in North America has also been tremendous.”
Rodgers is working in conjunction with Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), one of the world’s leading sports and entertainment presenters, the government, the National Sports Authority and the Bahamas Football Association on the project. In May, 2015, the government of the Bahamas signed a consultancy and management services agreement with AEG.
Rodgers said the vision for the franchise began with a meeting between himself and Alan Kates, Managing Director of AEG Bahamas.
“I approached Alan and the conversation started. When the suggestion came about, everyone was responsive to the idea. You have an elite place to play in; the facility is the biggest concern for any venture of this magnitude. It’s obviously the first time I’ve been involved in something like this so it takes having a team of people that have been involved in the process with something like this. There is no guarantee that it will happen but you go through the process, through the checks and balances, hope for the best and thus far it has been going extremely well. If we can land it it would be one of the biggest sporting milestones in the history of the Bahamas.
The USL is expected to play the upcoming season at 30 teams, with all but three-Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa–being located within the United States. The league is set to add at least one club in the coming seasons, as plans are in place for Nashville SC to join the USL in 2018.
Image of USL action courtesy OKC Energy.