SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — On Wednesday, Nashville secured one of the two expansion spots when it was announced as the 24th team to join the league.
Sacramento, Cincinnati, and Detroit must now wait.
Nashville was seen as an underdog a year ago, but they put together a winning bid in just months.
“There is no doubt, and everybody in our country knows this that Nashville is a city on the rise,” said Don Garber, MLS commissioner.
Garber made the dream of major league soccer come true for Nashville.
One expansion slot now remains.
Sacramento had been seen as a front-runner. For months there was enthusiasm from both team owner Kevin Nagle and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg when the two met with league officials in New York City earlier this month.
“Confident man, we go in confident,” said the mayor on the steps of MLS Headquarters in New York earlier this month. “We have a great story to tell.”
But last night, Steinberg acknowledging the decision may come down to money, avoided cameras and questions after Tuesday’s city council meeting.
On Wednesday, Nagle was unavailable. Neither of them made any reference to the Nashville announcement or the status of Sacramento’s bid on social media.
“The passion here we’ve proven over the last two years is unmatched,” said Cincinnati FC President and GM Jeff Berding.
He spoke with Cincinnati radio station 700WLW following the Nashville announcement.
“Our MLS opportunity is still very competitive, and we’re working our way through the process,” said Berding.
Cincinnati’s hurdle, they must finalize a stadium location. Detriot, the other finalist, has a wealthy ownership group, but they plan to use Ford field as the venue, rather than a soccer-specific stadium.
Meanwhile, Sacramento has the stadium deal done and strong fan support, but are now trying to pull together more money.
Sports Illustrated reported that the addition of multi-billionaire Meg Whitman to Sacramento’s bid was a huge step in the right direction, but it’s not clear what level of investment she will account for. Plus, the MLS membership fee has increased from $70 million in 2014 to $150 million today.
Garber told the Associated Press that Sacramento “has some things to finalize with their ownership that I think will make them optimum.”
He later reiterated that competition is tight.
“All of those other bids are MLS ready,” said Garber, “they weren’t as complete as Nashville, but certainly MLS ready.”
On Thursday, Major League Soccer will announce what their timing is to name the second expansion team that’ll join Nashville.