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Republic brings in more Sacramento-area investors for MLS push

Sacramento Republic Bonney Field


The season is over for USL Pro champion Sacramento Republic FC — but the work to break into Major League Soccer continues.

The Republic announced Monday it was bringing on more than a dozen investors to join the group behind a push for MLS. The new investors will join contingent upon Republic’s entrance into MLS.

Sleep Train founder and CEO Dale Carlsen and UFC fighter Urijah Faber headline the group of Sacramento-area business leaders. Fulcrum Property founder Mark L. Friedman, who has helped efforts to build a new Sacramento Kings arena downtown, is also among the new investors.

“I’m thrilled to partner with this esteemed group of local business people,” said lead investor Kevin Nagle, who is a member of the Sacramento King’s ownership group, in a press release. “Their collective investment in Sacramento Republic FC further bolsters the profile and financial strength of our ownership group, getting us another step closer toward our goal of a Major League Soccer franchise.”

The addition of investors willing to give the Republic financial backing is only the latest step the club has taken to try to woo MLS.

With Sacramento not even considered a contender for MLS expansion a year ago, a massive push for MLS has come on quickly for the Republic, a USL Pro franchise that only started play this year. As of Monday evening, the Republic had collected 7,300 refundable deposits for season tickets as part of a drive to show support for MLS expansion.

The Republic have already signed a preliminary agreement last month for land where a proposed MLS-caliber stadium would be built. MLS executives visited the area days later, greeted by swarms of Republic fans eager to show them that the region wants an MLS team.

MLS currently plans to stop its expansion push once the league reaches 24 teams. Right now, 23 spots are accounted for, but MLS executives have said there is no deadline to decide the fate of the remaining slot.


What do you think of this group of investors? Do you think the Republic are taking the right steps to convince MLS? Do you think Republic’s chances of landed an expansion shot are improving?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I have a feeling MLS will turn down Sac for a football stadium in Minnesota. At this point, I would rather dissolve MLS and have USSF oversee a pyramid of independent clubs that have better local roots.

    • you don’t think MLS and USL will merge eventually? with MLS either owning franchises outright or supplying the bulk of the talent to the other teams, USL Pro is very shortly to become a de facto MLS2.

  2. Sacramento is very interesting. It tells us how MLS views itself strategically over the next 5-10 years. Sacramento has the business model today’s MLS wants: big$$$ownership + stadium with urban location preferred + demonstrated fan base. Should MLS give priority to expanding in Miami, Minneapolis, St. Louis… then we can conclude the strategy is to build a better TV footprint in hopes of chasing those dollars.

    News flash: MLS will not stop at 24 teams. They may pause to create scarcity, but franchise values are increasing and they are not going to turn down $100 M checks for some arbitrary number unless there is a good reason.

  3. Judging from the two Republic games I’ve been to, and the two Portland games I’ve been to, they’ll be very similar in terms of atmosphere. And they’re similar sized cities, both with NBA but no other major sports franchises. Maybe it’s a bit of an oversimplification, but in my opinion they’ll be similar.

    I live in SF and am a season ticket holder with the Earthquakes, but I can tell you Sacramento will have a superior atmosphere, from a supporters standpoint. Timbers Army is the best in the league at this point, and I think Sac will challenge them.

    If Sac were in MLS this year the league would have cleared 20k in average attendance league-wide. Unfortunately there going to come up short, around 19,600.

    • Hmmm
      Very skeptical. So Sacramento would sell 15+ thousand tickets to their ladies team games
      But only 7k season tix to the mens ?

      Not skeptical about them having a team, just that it will be PDX south…

      • Sacramento is nothing like Portland. It is basically the midwest part of CA. SKC would be more apt aspirational club.

      • @ Qwas – they put that site up for season ticket deposits recently and already have 7300 deposits…with no indication that they’ll even get MLS! This does not equal 7k season tickets. More like 15k. This is a team that was selling out a 22k stadium for USL on a fully gridironed turf field. 15k season tickets and 25k regular attendance is conservative.

        @ Drew – I’m guessing you haven’t been to Sac recently.

      • That’s a good way to describe Sacramento. It’s what Sarah Palin would call “Real America,” until she walked around the California capital and realized it’s full of Democrats. Then she’d scream and jump into the Sacramento River.

    • As someone who was born and raised in the Bay Area, Sacramento is what California used to be like before it was ruined by people who moved here from the East Coast.

      I’m old enough to remember going to Oakland Clippers matches that drew 20,000+ and went to the inaugural Republic match at Hughes and the atmosphere and enthusiasm brought back fond memories.

      The Republic needs to be in MLS in 2016. It won’t be like Portland. It will be better, and yes I’ve been to Timbers matches, NASL, USL and MLS.

  4. Sacramento is a guaranteed 25k /game, sell out every time. Awesome atmosphere. Another Portland.

    That’s what MLS needs to get to the next level. MLS made a mistake by not relocating Chivas. They could have reestablished LA2 at a later date. But Sacramento is ready now.

    • Nothing is guaranteed in MLS. That said, they do look to be cut from similar cloth as Vancouver, Montreal, Orlando City, Portland … really good fanbases hungry for a team (rather than MLS looking for big money investors in specific cities which was the case with most others that came before save Columbus and maybe RSL).

      • +1

        I’m 110% in support of Sac joining MLS, but let’s be realistic about the situation. The Republic just played its first and ONLY season. I certainly do not doubt their ability to consistently draw sell-out crowds, but I’d like to see two consecutive seasons of sell-outs in USL Pro before making a statement like “it’s guaranteed!”

  5. I love this expansion drama 🙂 the only soccer league in the world that has this kind of expansion drama with out promotion and relegation, WTF right 🙂
    Therefore hopefully MLS does the right expansion moves and realizes MLS is capable of 28 teams and capable of having an MLS 2.
    21. Atlanta, done deal.
    22. Sacramento should be a done deal.
    23. Minneapolis with a soccer stadium downtown , if not the Vikings stadium should be good.
    24. Las Vegas should be a done deal with MLS help.
    25. Miami and 26. Los Angeles2 come in together, which two are done deals practically.
    What’s so hard about that garber.

      • I would love cosmos in MLS since that’s my team and the only way they come in that’s if red bull break down, because I don’t see 3 New York teams in MLS.
        So hopefully red bull break down and cosmos join MLS.
        As for expansion teams 27 and 28 if it happens,it’s going to be super crazy, due to cities like San Antonio, st.louis, Detroit, Austin, Raleigh, are going to be afraid MLS will stop at 28 teams.
        But I seriously think, MLS can easily do 28 teams and have a nice schedule. 26 games within your conference and about 8 inter-league games.

      • Wait a second….

        A guy lists El Paso or Cosmos as a possible addition And your title is El Paso
        Then you state the Cosmos are your team ?

        Ok. Just so I understand who is posting…..but wait you are a Cosmos fan ?

      • I guess is the Texas love 🙂 but cosmos is my team and El Paso my hometown and I have no idea who the tx2 stepper is.
        Dont hate 🙂

      • El Paso has an owner ship group that has been in contact with MLS. The ownership group has also had officials from the league office to town for a meeting.

        Doubt they’ll get it though.

      • Thats is true about MLS offfcials in El Paso but El Paso lacks sponsors and national attention but…….. El Paso can get sponsors from across the border and locally.
        By the way, El paso is a hidden gem of west texas.
        Check this out:
        El Paso averages about 25,000 for our sucky college football team and when they play good about 35,000.
        The mens college basketball averages about 9,000 and womens 4,000.
        The triple A baseball team in downtown averages about 9,000
        Back in the day, our El Paso Patriots soccer team averaged 9,000 when we had a proper owned team and now they are gone due to money issues.

    • They had/have the $100 million. MLS wants to keep 2 franchises in the LA market, which is the reason why they didn’t let Sacramento buy the franchise.

      • I think that the decision to dis-allow Sac to buy out the CUSA debacle will be a huge bite in the @$$! I personally think LA could handle 3 teams (as well as NYC) but it’s fool hardy to think that you should pass up a Philly/Portland-esque situation with the Republic to hold the place of a non existent (technically defunct) franchise to be.

  6. Viva the Republic..

    At this point could MLS ever live it down if Sacramento isn’t chosen? Every single sign of success is ticked in spades.


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