Sacramento Republic FC will be officially announced next Monday by league officials as an MLS expansion team, according to a report in the Sacramento Bee.
That Sacramento is joining MLS isn’t a surprise to many: MLS Commissioner Don Garber confirmed several months ago the Ron Burkle-led ownership group was in serious talks for team #29, and in September there were reports a deal was basically done. So the formal announcement in many ways is now a formality. From the Sacramento Bee:
League officials declined comment Tuesday. The league in past franchise additions has typically refrained from commenting until MLS Commissioner Don Garber announces the expansion with local officials during a public ceremony in the new city.
Sources said league officials will hold a press conference in downtown Monday followed by a fan event in the afternoon, celebrating the franchise award.
The team issued a statement Tuesday saying it looks forward to sharing information in the coming days: “We share the great excitement and anticipation in our community about Sacramento’s bid to join Major League Soccer. We will continue to respect the MLS expansion process and remain confident about the future of our club and our city. We look forward to sharing more information in the days ahead.”
Sacramento Republic FC has been a big success at the USL level. With the announcement of the MLS expansion team, Steps have also been taken to bolster plans for a $252 million privately financed stadium in the city’s downtown railyards development, with the Sacramento City Council recently voting to approve a $33 million incentive package for the plan. For Sacramento, the decision is intended to help facilitate an arrangement that will not only see an MLS club at a new stadium, but also new development surrounding the facility. The new stadium is expected to take up 14 acres, with another 17 acres owned by the Burkle group envisioned as future development.
With the announcement, the city is expected to step forward with changes to the incentive package to allow the ownership group more flexibility, including a conversion of part of the inventive package to a loan that could be paid back via increased property taxes generated in the area.
With the announcement of Sacramento as MLS team #29, the speculation will inevitably turn to #30–and that’s a topic we’ll address next week in our monthly look at MLS expansion.
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