Report: MLS set to confirm St Louis expansion franchise
The St Louis Post-Dispatch, which first reported the news, says that the Missouri city will be confirmed as the North American soccer league’s 28th team at an event on 20th August.
If confirmed, the new franchise will have to pay an expansion fee of US$200 million. The St Louis bid, known as MLS4TheLou, is fronted by Carolyn Kindle Betz, President of Enterprise Holdings Foundation, and World Wide Technology Chief Executive Jim Kavanaugh.
MLS has not directly commented on the reports, but the St Louis ownership group issued the following statement to ESPN: ‘Major League Soccer is responsible for the timing of any announcements around League expansion, but we remain confident St. Louis has made a strong case for a team.’
St Louis has been expected to land an MLS expansion slot since MLS confirmed in April that it had entered exclusive negotiations with the city’s ownership group and that of Sacramento.
The addition of a St Louis franchise would leave two expansion slots available after MLS announced earlier this year that it had amended its target from 28 to 30 teams.
Sacramento is still seen as a strong candidate to join the league, while Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper is intent on bringing a franchise to Charlotte.
Franchises in Miami and Nashville are set to join MLS next season, while an expansion team in Austin has been confirmed for 2021.
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