LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — 8 News Now has learned that Major League Soccer (MLS) is close to announcing their new franchise city and although the race for the bid is narrowing, Las Vegas is still a contender.
The MLS had their Governor’s meeting Tuesday in Brooklyn and MLS Commissioner Don Garber all but confirmed that Charlotte will be the next city of the MLS franchise, adding that the board authorized the MLS expansion committee to enter into final negotiations with NFL Carolina Panther owner David Tepper, who wants to also add a professional soccer team to his business investment portfolio.
Although an announcement is expected Dec.17, Garber said there are several hurdles to overcome before it can be finalized.
“We are very, very bullish about the Charlotte market, we believe it’s a growing city on the rise and one that’s just got so much opportunity for us to be able to continue to expand our league, we’ve got issues that need to get resolved as it relates to the stadium, we’ve got confidence in David Tepper and his management group and confidence in the city leaders that they’ll continue to want to support the efforts to bring Major League Soccer to Charlotte,” said Garber in a briefing Thursday.
Meanwhile, Charlotte’s Mayor Vi Lyles was quick to react via Twitter that all of this was speculation and that if an announcement was to be made, it would be done at “an appropriate time.”
Although Charlotte is the top contender on the bid to become the new MLS franchise team, Las Vegas and Phoenix are still competing for that 30th franchise slot.
The City of Las Vegas has been in talks to bring an MLS franchise team for several years and earlier in 2019, there were reports of negotiations to build a 25,000-soccer stadium near Cashman Field as the possible future site for an MLS expansion team.
St. Louis and Sacramento were among the cities selected in 2019 as the 28th and 29th expansion teams.
The MLS holds several meetings a year, Thursday’s was the third and final one of 2019, the next one is set for Spring of 2020.