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Report: Minnesota United boosts MLS bid group with MLB, NBA owners


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It seems that the race to become Major League Soccer’s 24th team is heating up.

While teams like Sacramento Republic FC have been making vocal cases to earn entrance into MLS, Minnesota United has quietly been taking large strides in the same direction, according to a new report from

Team owner Bill McGuire has brought on Minnesota Twins owner Jim Pohlad and Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor as partners for an MLS bid, sources said. The report goes onto speculate that English Championship club Derby County may be partnering with Minnesota United as well.

MLS commissioner Don Garber and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott visited Minneapolis on Sept. 22-23 and met with McGuire, Pohlad and Taylor. The MLS executives also met with the Minnesota Vikings, the NFL franchise that has publicly announced interest in acquiring an MLS club to help utilize its proposed new $1 billion stadium.

Minnesota has been one of the top contenders for an MLS franchise, but space is running out — for now, anyway. Garber has announced plans to halt the league’s expansion at 24 teams and 22 slots are already secured. The 23rd expansion slot has long been expected to go to David Beckham’s Miami bid, but that will only happen if the Miami group is able to secure a suitable stadium project.

Sacramento Republic FC has seemingly been Minnesota’s strongest — or at least, most vocal — competition. This week the Republic announced they had expanded their investors group. Last month, they reached a preliminary agreement for land where a centrally located MLS stadium could be built and released renderings of a stadium design.

Days before MLS executives visited the Minnesota United owners group, they were in Sacramento, meeting with the Republic and visiting the proposed stadium site.

Minnesota United president Nick Rogers addressed the Republic’s push directly, telling that his club wants to do things differently.

“You’ve seen a lot of teams out there, whether you’re talking about Sacramento, who’s probably the most vocal, or some other places, where they sort of fan the flames,” Rogers told “We have made a point of staying away from all that. We’ve taken a very club-centric approach to what we’re doing. We care about establishing a high level of pro soccer in this market and that’s what we intend to be for a long time.”


What do you think of this report? Does Minnesota have what it takes to break into MLS? What do you think of the partnerships with other area team owners? Does this news threaten the Republic’s bid?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. NYCFC buys Red Bulls for $300 million and solves stadium problem. Sells NY franchise to Minnesota. MLS awards 24th franchise to Sacramento.

  2. Why not add both Sacramento and Minnesota to the league? We are wiling to play an in alanced schedule anyway, or maybe Miami gets its act together and can join with them in 2016? Minus the rotting corpse of Chivas USA that should make 24 teams right? Then, when LA2 or whatever that is comes online, add San Antonio to the league or some variation involving those three potential teams.

    I don’t see how California can get four teams when one has failed (Chivas USA) and the other (San Jose) has lower attendence numbers than OCSC and San Antonio. Vegas should not get a team for all the reasons Qatar should never host the World Cup. Minus the gross human rights violations. Although I’d be willing to negotiate on Las Vegas of the mascot was the old man from pawn stars.

    • “I don’t see how California can get four teams when one has failed (Chivas USA) and the other (San Jose) has lower attendence numbers than OCSC and San Antonio.”

      Chivas failed because Chivas failed, not because the fans failed or because a second LA team couldn’t attract fans.

      Someone else can correct me, but I’ve heard that San Jose’s poor attendance numbers could be blamed on their horrible stadium situation—due to be addressed next year with their new stadium in San Jose.

      That and, well, CA has 40 million inhabitants….

      • yeah man, spot on. San Jose is about to open their brand new stadium so they no longer have to play in a small venue that only holds 10,000. Scroggins apparently is new to the league or forming opinions without doing some sort of research. i don’t even like San Jose, but they consistently have a full house for the small, temporary venue. and for the LA game, they always draw 50,000 in Stanford Stadium. i think with the new stadium being open, the ownership group said they would be able to then invest more money into the actual team. i think SJ is on the right path and that stadium should open up a ton of possibilities for them.

        also, spot on about Chivas USA and how it was the team, not the city, that failed.

      • Scroggins apparently is new to the league or forming opinions without doing some sort of research

        I am guilty of the first, not the second.I concede my point about San Jose. Sorry for not doing a wikipedia search before posting my opinions and thoughts, but I thought this was the freaking internet? Isn’t that what its for? I may be just a bit bitter because they are trying to steal Dom from Houston, but I digress.

        Personally, I don’t think any LA2 is a good idea, but Garber is gonna Garber and we all just sit and watch. LA is a tricky market for the same reasons Miami is. Would you rather go drink a few on the beach with your friends and maybe live-stream a game on your smart phone for a total cost of your refreshments, or fight traffic and pay tickets to sit and watch at the stadium? For the diehard fan, that is an easy answer, for the newly acquired or casual fan the cheaper route seems to be the most appealing.

        I love what Minnesota has going on, but I think San Antonio and Sacramento make a bit more sense if only because of the less crowded sports market. If we look at Portland, Toronto, and Montreal as examples of drawing solid fanbases (not on-field product) then I think its easy to see why these two would be the most sure-fire successes.

      • Sorry for not doing a wikipedia search before posting my opinions and thoughts, but I thought this was the freaking internet? I may be just a bit bitter because they are trying to steal Dom from Houston, but I digress.

        strong point and fair enough.

        as for your points about LA, i’m not sure where you are from, but i don’t think you understand LA. being from LA and currently living in San Diego, take my word that going to the beach in LA, for 90% of LA, is not easy and requires sitting in traffic that makes you wonder why you bothered going in the first place (unlike in San Diego). also, your scenario basically asks would a group rather stay in and save money or go to a game where beers are $8 a pop. that’s just life, has nothing to do with LA or MLS.

        my point is, LA2 located in an area close to downtown and with the right branding and the right ownership group has EVERY opportunity to be successful. saying it’ll fail simply because Chivas USA did lacks insight/analysis, IMO.

        on your last point, i’m not sure i made an argument one way or the other, seems like a new point. to me, i think Sacramento is a no-brainer, which it sounds like you believe as well. as for San Antonio or Minneapolis, i certainly understand your point. it’s an interesting topic and one i haven’t really formed an opinion on yet.

      • Scroggins, “Sorry for not doing a wikipedia search before posting my opinions and thoughts, but I thought this was the freaking internet? Isn’t that what its for? “

        No, that’s just what the internet is capable of. It’s not an “opinion” if you didn’t research it, it’s just a wild guess—in which case, phrase it as a question and no one will/should jump all over you.

        As for the challenges of LA, I defer to bryan’s experience as a former resident. But I could also point to the benefits of hosting a game in LA: no one ever debates, “Should I go to the match and freeze in the wind/rain/snow, or watch from my warm and cozy home?” or, for fans in TX, “Should I go die in the stadium sauna…?”

  3. If anything, I hope that Minnesota United joins just because they have an awesome crest. THAT is how you do it MLS; original, elegant, beautiful.

    • Don’t see it in the least. Please let’s not do MLS that way.

      Now mind you, if you’re starting up a new republic out of the ashes of the old Soviet bloc, say somewhere in the general vicinity of Tajikistan, that could work great as your national crest. But that would be quite a different proposition…

      • I didn’t see it this way before, but now that you mention it I sorta can—and it makes me like it all the more!

        (I actually thought—and still think—it seems more reminiscent of Viking art and design, appropriately enough for Minnesota.)

  4. RB,

    New mobile site didn’t give me option to respond to your post so here it is.

    A balanced schedule is not the end all, be all. Is it nice? Sure. But I’d still pick giving these two a franchise over a balanced schedule.

    As for an even 26, San Antonio and Las Vegas have much more work to do. We can discuss that when they are on the same level. But sure, certainly a possibility.

    • “A balanced schedule is not the end all, be all. Is it nice? Sure. But I’d still pick giving these two a franchise over a balanced schedule.”

      OK. I wouldn’t. I can’t think of anything more important in the league/season structure than a balanced schedule.

      Don’t get me wrong, though, about Vegas or San Antonio. Just threw them out as oft-mentioned possibilities for another team. Like I say, if it’s important enough to get both Sacramento and Minnesota in, then it’s worth adding one of those or somebody else deemed superior in order to keep the even number of teams and a balanced schedule.

      And I know what you mean about the (new?) mobile site! I had the same difficulty so I waited to post until I could get on the desktop version.

      • explain to me why, because i fail to see how a balanced schedule is anywhere near the top in terms of reasons that lead to a stronger league. it has no real effect on the quality of play, revenue generation, etc. like i said, i like the idea of home/away, every team playing each other, but i’m certainly not convinced it is a must have. in fact, one could argue that the league has grown despite having 19 teams currently playing and, prior to the Chivas USA disbanding news, was ready to grow into 21 teams.

        in a single table, pro/rel structure, then i would agree with you, but MLS isn’t like that and is going to continue moving away from that. so why sweat over a balanced schedule if it means sacrificing expansion to a legit market like Sacramento or Minneapolis?

        either way, i certainly wouldn’t be opposed to 26 if another city/team/ownership group came into the picture with a outstanding proposal.

        glad to hear i am not the only one who can respond to individual ports via the mobile site. Ives, time for a point release!

      • A balanced schedule has an effect on the legitimacy of the regular season schedule and outcome, a legitimacy that cannot be made up for sufficiently in any other way. (The NFL tries to do it via assessments of previous season performance and schedule strength, but I prefer something much more clearly objective that all of that.) And I put a high priority on the legitimacy of the regular season.

        Note that a schedule can be balanced without every team in the league playing each other team twice, and without going to a single table or the pro/rel route (neither of which are a high priority for me at all). If you have, say, 24 teams split into 2 conferences or divisions of 12 teams each, then a balanced schedule could be to play each of the other 11 teams in your own conf/div twice, for 22 games, and then play each team in the other conf/div once, for another 12 games and a 34-game season. That’s still balanced. Each team that is being judged at the end of its season against the other teams in its conf/div has played an identical schedule in every respect, except that some would have played a given opponent at home instead of away (negligible in the overall picture).

      • RB, I get what you’re saying about balance, but it seems to get lost in the differences of those schedules anyway. Meaning, some teams will take a brutal four-game road trip before hosting the top team at home. Other teams will, just due to scheduling, have a nine-day break before hosting the top team. Still others will face the top team after the top team had its own brutal road trip, or lost players to FIFA dates, etc.

        Basically, I’m saying that the margin of error is so high in other aspects of the schedule that it dwarfs the error introduced by an imbalanced number of teams. (You don’t measure down to the micrometer if your saw is only accurate to the millimeter.)

      • fair enough and i understand that. MLS should aim to end with an even number of teams when it’s all said and done. it makes life much easier.

        for now though, and what i’m trying to convey, is that the balanced schedule isn’t going to have this grand, league altering effect in the short term. if MLS is forced to go to 25 and stay there until a 26th team comes around that is worth expanding with, it’s not the end of the world. the league would survive, yet again, an unbalanced schedule. i think King summed up what i am trying to say.

  5. Minnesota is fine. They just don’t have the rabid fan base and huge supporters groups in place in Sacramento. And if they’re going to share a stadium with NFL, it’s a non-starter. Weather is also a problem.

    • Not sure Sacramento should put the cart before the horse. They have a strong first-year attendance, but that’s never been a selling point for MLS expansion. The stadium movement and ownership consortium they’re putting together is compelling, too; but at the end of the day, MLS has always been “read between the lines” with their expansion intentions, and they have said they’re bullish on capitalizing on the Midwest.

      Plus, don’t sell Minnesota United short. If you want rabid, their supporters group fits the bill. And their attendance keeps growing significantly from year to year–this despite being in a crowded sports market and about 20 minutes out of downtown Minneapolis. They’re in the market MLS wants; they have the financial clout; they’re progressing on the downtown stadium front.

      • Sacramento is the 2nd largest city in the USA that doesn’t have 2 professional teams (San Antonio is 1st). MLS has done well in other cities like Sacramento, which have an NBA/NHL team and nothing else (Portland, Salt Lake, Columbus, and recently Orlando). Sacramento also has a rabid fan-base that Minnesota has not shown, granted that’s not the sole factor, given their Atlanta expansion. Sacramento also had the 6th highest viewership of the World Cup nationwide, which is impressive. Sacramento has the land, and the ownership of the land, and deep-pocketed investors, and a natural geographic rival in San Jose, which Minnesota doesn’t have. With that said, MLS may be gun-shy in adding a 4th team to the most populous state in the country, in favor of a midwest team which would have earlier kickoffs for the sake of the East Coast audience. In the end, MLS should choose Sacramento, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they opted to diversify themselves geographically. This would be a huge shame to Sacramento.

      • Sure, Sacramento has plenty to offer, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see them playing in MLS in 2016.

        But while World Cup viewership, etc., is great, I’d doubt any significant expansion decisions at MLS headquarters would be made based on that. MLS has said in the past they want franchises with proper financial backing, good club culture and a strong stadium plan. But that’s only in addition to what MLS needs: an expansion that progresses the brand and the money coming in from that. I think Sacramento would have a great culture and club that’s fun to watch, but a team in Sacramento (no matter how great) will still get less visibility than a team in Minneapolis with TV markets and such being as they are. That’s where I think Minnesota United has the heads-up. They can give MLS that other piece of the geographic national puzzle they want, while still checking the other boxes Sacramento does: strong financial backing, good club culture and (it’s sounding) a stadium plan in the works.

        I’m just saying that while the passion behind Sacramento is awesome, it’s probably not going to translate into an MLS club via the same route Orlando City went. But then again, even Orlando City had more than just a passionate fan base; they had the geography MLS wanted, too.

        Of course, ideally, both of these clubs would get to MLS. They both deserve it. And I’ve got a feeling that once club #24 is announced, it won’t be terribly long before there’s talk of more.

    • It should also be noted that Minnesota United has no intention of sharing a stadium with the Vikings. They’re looking into building their own SSS in downtown Minneapolis.

      • This would be a redeeming point for me. The last thing I want is another MLS team sharing an NFL stadium. Especially if they haven’t shown an existing rabid fanbase.

        It will be interesting if it does come down to these two cities which is chosen. MLS has a choice of going to the major/crowded city or perceived smaller / rabid base.

        Personally, I think clustering teams is the formula they should adopt. Adding Sacramento will automatically add 2K fans to every SJ game.. and increased intensity if thats possible in the NW.

      • I think the MN fan base would surprise people. There is a ton of interest; it’s just hard to make that translate for a 2nd-tier team playing in a distant suburb

        And while they don’t pull out-of-this-world numbers, they’re respectable and pretty in-line with most lower league teams (if not a little above). Put an MLS team in downtown Minneapolis (not with the Vikings), and I think you’re talking a beast of a completely different nature.

        And I think if MLS execs think the United bid is solid enough, with a strong stadium plan, it would go to them pretty quickly. Not that Sacramento isn’t appealing, but these tend to be business decisions.

      • What don’t you like about sharing a stadium with NFL? I assume it’s the need for artificial turf and/or to have football lines on the field.

        If the team could have the highest quality artificial turf and no football lines, would you still oppose?

      • Except that they’ve stated their intentions to “really connect with counter-culture” types and the primary site they are looking at is the farmers market in dt MPLS which has been around for years serving thousands of people on the weekend. the market is a treasure for most mpls folks and from what i’ve read it will be eliminated. a pretty damn shaky move for a team trying to ingratiate themselves in the community.
        it’d be great if they could somehow incorporate a game day experience with the farmers market on the weekends and even revamp the market some. i think it’d go a long way for public support to respect the public a little more in their push.
        Plus, Bill McGuire has a terrible rep in Mn. Look up his federal lawsuits. Except for the soccer s!uts in town who would do anything for a team, even if it means sucking up to an unscrupulous owner who toyed with peoples access to health care and was eventually was indicted federally (had to pay back half a billion due to shady stock dating).
        Most folks in MN don’t like the guy at all.

      • Full disclosure: I live in downtown Minneapolis, and am a MN United season ticket holder. So take whatever I write with whatever amount of salt you want.

        In terms of the Dark Clouds, that core group of early adopters may have been “counter-culture,” but the group today at games is diverse and welcoming. And as far as I can tell, their intentions have always been to celebrate Minnesota soccer with some friendly buffoonery. (I’m not a member, but I occasionally head to their section during games.)

        And yes, MN United is looking at building a stadium in the Farmers Market area (next to Target Field and Target Center), but they’re not kicking out the literal Farmers Market right off of Interstate 94. That entire region of downtown (North Loop) is under heavy construction and remodeling right now; it has little to do with United invading some dearly held gem of Minneapolis. To add, United have been encouraged to build there, if they can come up with a reasonable funding plan.

        And most folks in MN are ambivalent to McGuire himself; they may have feelings about United Health Group, but Bill is (was) just the man behind the curtain. Sure, he doesn’t have a great business track record, but none of our sports club owners seem to either. And most people prefer him to the Wilf’s Vikings plan; Bill has done an excellent job owning United, for what it’s worth.

        And the real question at the end of the day is whether this would influence MLS’s expansion decision. I’d argue no. If the club culture is there, it doesn’t matter how “counter-culture” the core of the supporters group is/was. If there is a reasonable stadium plan, it doesn’t matter what it shifts in the downtown landscape. If the owner consortium has the finances, it doesn’t matter much what they did in business.

        I’m also confident a downtown MLS team in Minneapolis (specifically Minnesota United), would draw well.

      • I appreciate your thoughts. I work in health care, Bill Mcguire is routinely discussed relating to ethical issues within the medical industry. Him specifically, not even UHC. Although they get their share of scrutiny. Pretty much any health care worker I speak to about the guy has the same sentiment. The health care industry is huge in this state, so that may have some legs, but in the end, I doubt it.

        I agree, Bill has done a great job with MN United. But we aren’t talking a shady real estate investor here, we are talking about someone who made money by making it more difficult for people to access their health care (UHC doesn’t have to pay out as much). I’ve seen lives of people and family members that got screwed over via UHC while he was in charge. Please, do an internet search on the guy and don’t rationalize the man’s actions because he’s bringing you a team.

        I’m a former season ticket holder/Dark Clouds member. I stopped going when Bill bought the team. No matter how much I support and love soccer, I just couldn’t stomach the idea of my money going to this guy. Supporting local soccer doesn’t mean buying into his new money making venture (MNUnited). It means walking two blocks to Como to watch the nightly games that locals play in or Macalester College to watch the local D3. To me at least.

        Also, if people in this town have a difficult time stomaching the Wilfs stadium project, I’m not sure any MLS stadium would be different. Especially considering that MN for MLS were ardent supporters for using local money to build the Vikes stadium because they allowed themselves to get duped into supporting the funding. I got shouted off local boards by the soccer s!uts when I voiced a dissenting opinion. The Dark Clouds couldn’t have cared less about their community. Their eyes were big for McGuires money.

        I’m sure in the end a downtown stadium will work well in MPLS. Very well, in fact. But the ownership group and the DC’s are going to need to more to ingratiate themselves in the larger community here. I will be making a stink wherever I am able to do so.

      • Understood. I do know some people who have your same, completely legitimate opinion. I just think I’ve had different experiences.

        I don’t work in the healthcare world, so you would know better than I. And I’m certainly not trying to defend McGuire’s business history. But my sense from the general community and most of the soccer community is that they’re OK with McGuire if that means a solid club and club culture. What I mean to say is this: Whenever I’ve discussed MN United with folks (and I talk about it a lot), the discussion rarely–if ever–goes to McGuire’s history. It just doesn’t seem to be something most MN soccer fans think about (that I’ve met), and it probably won’t weigh much on MLS.

        That’s a huge bummer that some DC’s have been that way around/towards you, though. Hopefully the better fans can win you back one day…

      • BB91, great comment and don’t worry about the length: those who can read will read as long as you post interesting stuff.

        lando, thanks for your perspective too.

  6. IF correct I though I read somewhere that DC United has exclusive rights in MLS to be the only franchise with the name United. With their logo having a black bird as well can that cause a problem in their bid to join the league?

  7. 24 by 2020 was a target, not a limit. Miami, Sacramento, San Antonio, Indy and the Tein Cities can all get in if their bids are good enough.

    • don’t forget that Miami is already included in the 24 (OCSC, NYCFC, Miami, Atlanta, #24) and we are still including Chivas USA/LA2 in the franchise count. if Miami falls apart, that just means Beckham will have to choose a new city. but i don’t see him using his spot on Sacramento or Minneapolis.

      • True. However, Portland and Orlando managed to preserve the essence of their lower division logos so Minnesota could do it too. They just couldn’t keep the name United. From what I understand D.C. United owns the exclusive use of that moniker in MLS.

      • If that is true, which is totally believable based on the convoluted rules that incrementally leak out from MLS offices from time to time, that is particularly egregious. If you want in to the US Soccer sanctioned Division 1 in this country you must complete subjugate any and all unique and therefore meaningful characteristics of your club culture to become a franchise outlet of mediocrity. Blah…

      • Not sure that computes. I thought the league owns all entities under their umbrella, including team identities. If that’s the case, I don’t see a reason MLS would force Minnesota to drop the “United” moniker.

        And even if there was some sort of clause where D.C. had exclusive rights to be the only current “United,” these rules are always seemingly made to be broken with MLS.

      • Gilbert,

        Nature’s first green is gold,
        Her hardest hue to hold.
        Her early leaf’s a flower;
        But only so an hour.
        Then leaf subsides to leaf.
        So Eden sank to grief,
        So dawn goes down to day.
        Nothing gold can stay.

  8. said before, will say it again. even if it means going to 25 teams, instead of the planned 24, both Sacramento and Minneapolis should be given franchises. assuming the ownership group and stadium plans remain on course, both opportunities are worth pulling the trigger on.

    • Drop Chivas USA in either city and you can stick to your 24-team plan. I know, I know, they think the club is worth more in L.A. But I’d rather see the club in a city that will definitely support it.

    • Not worth giving up a shot at a balanced schedule, finally, just to give them both teams.

      OR, if it’s really worth it to give them both teams, then go ahead and give San Antonio or Vegas or somewhere else a team, as well, to make it 26.

  9. Space is running out? MLS will never turn away a solid expansion team. There’s nothing fixed about 24, just like there was nothing fixed about 18 when Garber claimed as much to city leaders in Portland.

  10. Interesting………. It really is coming down to Sacramento and Minnesota. Both seem, on the surface at least, to have most of their ducks in a row currently putting a concrete plan in motion. I think both cities are viable, smart options and it sucks that one will be left out. I hate to say it but maybe bumping that number up from 24 to 26 teams is possible. Would that be a bad thing?? Whatever the case, exciting times. Most hope, my dream is to not only have a prospering MLS but to have a viable strong 2nd division incorporating those “second cities”, those of USL Pro and NASL clubs, into an actual 2nd division — MLS 2 if you will — and the MLS reverse teams as the 3rd division. I came dream, right??????


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