The Nashville MLS effort has a new set of investors, as members of the Wilf family have purchased a minority stake in Nashville Soccer Holdings.
John Ingram is still leading the effort to bring an MLS expansion franchise to Nashville, but the addition of the Wilf family adds some background in major sports ownership. Mark, Zygi, and Leonard Wilf, who have joined as a minority investor for the Nashville effort, are also the majority owners of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and previously made a run at bringing an MLS expansion club to the Twin Cities.
The addition of the Wilfs to the ownership group, which was announced on Tuesday, is something that Ingram believes could bolster Nashville’s chances, particularly given the Wilfs’ background in major sports. More from The Tennessean:
Ingram said the Wilfs’ involvement demonstrates growing momentum for Nashville’s MLS push as 12 cities vie for four spots that the league wants to fill.
He noted how the Wilf family has experience running a sports franchise — including overseeing fan experience, marketing, communications and ticket sales — and leading the development and construction of a new professional sports stadium.
“Those are both areas that will be very helpful to us, and we’re really thrilled to have them as part of our efforts,” Ingram said.
“This is a sophisticated family that could invest its money in a lot of places,” Ingram said. “It’s an endorsement for both soccer in the country and Nashville as a market that has a bright future with this sport.”
The Wilfs reside in the New York/New Jersey region, making them the first out-of-state owners to join the Nashville MLS bid. However, they do have a connection to the area, as Mark Wilf serves on the Vanderbilt board of trustees with Ingram.
The push for a Nashville MLS franchise was one of four expansion bids recently signaled out for praised by league commissioner Don Garber, and more information is expected to be released in the near future on a stadium proposal for a site at The Fairgrounds Nashville.
Image of MLS action courtesy Atlanta United FC.
RELATED STORIES: Amidst MLS Expansion Push, Nashville Looks to Showcase Soccer Scene; Nashville MLS Stadium Planning Continues; Nashville MLS Expansion Boosters Form MLS2Nashville; John Ingram Purchases Majority Stake in Nashville SC; Nashville Presents MLS Stadium Site; Fairgrounds to be Pitched for Nashville MLS Stadium; Vanderbilt Could Partner on Nashville MLS Stadium; John Ingram Backings Nashville’s Expansion Bid; Nashville MLS Stadium Part of State Legislation; Nashville SC Plays Key Role in City’s MLS Hopes; Nashville SC Names Court Jeske CEO; Nashville SC Backs MLS Bid