SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Not only will Sacramento have to keep playing the waiting game with Major League Soccer, its bid for an expansion team also needs a new major investor.
The league said Thursday they would not be announcing the next expansion team until after the new year. This comes a day after Nashville was named MLS’s newest city for expansion.
“Following the announcement of Nashville as our newest club yesterday, Major League Soccer remains in discussions with the other three finalists for the next team to be awarded during this round of expansion — Cincinnati, Detroit and Sacramento. All three submitted impressive bids which the league will take additional time to review before announcing a final decision in the new year,” MLS officials wrote in a statement.
With Sacramento once being perceived as the front-runner in the expansion race, leaders acknowledged after the Nashville announcement that the city’s bid still needs a bit of work.
More capital is needed to strengthen Sacramento’s deal, Mayor Darrell Steinberg said at a press conference on Thursday.
Steinberg also noted how there’s a funding gap.
Republic FC CEO and Chairman Kevin Nagle outlined a three-part plan to strengthen Sacramento’s bid: Bringing in a new major investor, adding additional limited partners and mobilizing community support.
Leaders stress that MLS has assured them that Sacramento’s bid for a team is still very much alive.
However, Wednesday’s announcement of Nashville in front of investors and fans closed the door on one expansion slot and heightened the competition for the remaining franchise award.
But MLS Commissioner Don Garber told reporters on Wednesday that Sacramento “has some things to finalize with their ownership group” and reiterated competition is tight.
“All of those other bids are MLS ready. They weren’t as complete as Nashville, but certainly MLS ready,” Don Garber said.
Cincinnati and Detroit are the other two finalists.
It is unclear exactly when next year the announcement will be made.