A Sacramento MLS bid requires additional backing after the loss of Meg Whitman and community support, as Sacramento Republic FC CEO Kevin Nagle lays out what needs to be done before the city receives a future expansion team.
Yesterday Nashville was awarded an expansion team, pushing the league total to 24, and today league officials announced that there would be discussions with Sacramento, Detroit and Cincinnati team leaders about further expansion. This came as a surprise, as it was expected two expansion teams would be announced this month and two more sometime in 2018. Within this context, Sacramento was widely considered a lock. With the status of a Miami team still in the air, though, MLS officials have decided to slow things down before proceeding with any more expansion.
But not before telling Sacramento team and political leaders exactly what needs to be addressed in the team’s bid. Though Sacramento Republic FC has been an attendance leader in the USL and there are some big business names in the ownership group, apparently it’s not enough, according to FC CEO Nagle. Losing former Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman was a big deal for the league, leaving the team requiring some more deep pockets. Basically, more financial backers are needed before MLS is ready to move forward with an expansion team. Nagle laid out the reasons in an open letter to fans, listing the three goals for the team in upcoming months:
1. New Major Investor.
The most impactful path to victory will entail adding another major investor or investors to our group who have a passion for MLS, bring additional financial wherewithal to the group, and will protect the spirit, culture and values of Republic FC. I will continue to drive our progress as lead investor and am proud of the nearly $30 million that I have personally invested to place Sacramento on the cusp of getting an MLS team. But I am willing to be open and flexible in order to attract the right partners and do what’s best for Republic FC and the MLS bid.
2. Additional Limited Partners.
Our local ownership group has been absolutely tremendous in going above and beyond to help this bid – but always from a supporting capacity. We will continue to expand and fortify this group by recruiting additional investors who can bring additional capacity and capabilities to our team. There will always be room in our group for folks who love soccer, love Sacramento, and love the Republic.
3. Mobilize Community Support.
Lastly, we wouldn’t be Sacramento if we didn’t enroll our entire community in this effort. Working closely with Mayor Steinberg and others, we will identify pathways for our fans, corporate partners, and community at large to help us reach this final objective in our bid.
Nashville pretty much blew away MLS officials with a bid that included plenty of deep pockets, owners with great business experience and a solid fan base. What Sacramento was told should also be heeded by Detroit and FC Cincinnati owners: the rules for MLS membership have changed, and the bar is considerably higher than it was a few years ago.
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