With clear guidance from MLS on the path to securing an expansion team, Sacramento Republic FC officials are in talks with three billionaires about a potential investment in the team — and, by extension, in the league.
As we look at the status of MLS expansion, it’s clear the process is on hold while Sacramento Republic FC seeks new investment to bolster its bid. Currently there are three cities in contention to land an expansion team — Sacramento, Detroit and Cincinnati — and partisans in each city have been relatively confident they’ll end up in MLS. Of course, they all have their issues: Sacramento needs more investment to back a great new-stadium plan, the Detroit bid is based on playing out of an NFL stadium, and Cincinnati’s stadium proposals seem to change depending on the day — so we’re not entirely sure there’s a frontrunner. (That goes for the next round of expansion as well, although Phoenix Rising FC seems to be generating a lot of momentum.)
But there will be a frontrunner if Sacramento Republic FC does indeed land the big fish. From the Sacramento Bee:
“Sacramento’s path to MLS is clear,” Republic FC CEO and Chairman Kevin Nagle said in an emailed statement. “We’ve proven the strength of our market, downtown stadium plan and local investor support. Now, our final task is to deliver a lead investor with the vision, credibility and wherewithal to put us over the top. We are in detailed conversations with several groups that fit that bill, and confident that we’ll find the right partner to deliver the MLS club our fans and community deserve.”
Mayor Darrell Steinberg also has been involved in the discussions with potential investors and said “there are numerous opportunities.”
“I think my feeling today is that I am more encouraged than I have been in several months by the progress,” Steinberg said. “It’s just a matter of hopefully finalizing at least one of those (investor) opportunities.”
One area of big success for MLS: attracting big-buck investors.
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