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Report: Minnesota United ‘expected to be granted’ MLS expansion team

Minnesota United 22


The second-to-last MLS expansion team will soon be awarded, and it appears that Minnesota will be the one claiming victory.

NASL club Minnesota United’s bid to join MLS is expected to be accepted and an announcement could come in a matter of weeks, according to a Friday report from Minnesota United will beat out the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings – who also were attempting to land an MLS franchise – as well as Sacramento Republic for the 23rd franchise in the soccer league.

MLS has reportedly already signed a Letter of Intent for Minnesota United’s plans to build a soccer-specific stadium in downtown Minneapolis, which the club needs in order to be officially awarded a franchise in the top division.

Minnesota United – whose investor group for MLS also includes Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and MLB’s Minnesota Twins owner Jim Pohlad – already has an option in place to acquire a piece of downtown land. No official terms for a stadium have been agreed upon yet, however.

The club’s plans to build a soccer-specific venue differ from that of the Vikings. A $1 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium is already being constructed for the NFL team, and the Vikings were planning on using a mechanism to reduce the capacity and make for a more intimate feel for its desired MLS franchise.

If Minnesota United comes to terms on a deal and becomes the 23rd franchise, MLS will have one spot left to fill before reaching the 24-team mark the league has said it we hit by the end of the decade. It seems all but guaranteed that the final expansion franchise will be awarded to one of David Beckham, who wants to launch a team in Miami, or Sacramento Republic.

MLS commissioner Don Garber said last week that an announcement on the next round of expansion would come in 45 days.


What do you make of Minnesota United reportedly winning an MLS expansion franchise? Think the club’s bid was better than the Minnesota Vikings’? Who do you see winning the 24th franchise, Miami or Sacramento?

Share your thoughts below.


    • Get a billionaire owner with a viable stadium plan. St. Louis has the history and the fans, but without the owner and the stadium, nothing will happen.

      Things are finally happening for the Tampa Bay Rowdies. We finally have a billionaire owner willing to spend money; he’s improved Al Lang (which would make an excellent downtown, waterfront site for a SSS for MLS one day) for soccer, and if he’s put in the money and time and people needed to actually sell tickets, we might attract enough people over the bridge to come to St. Pete and watch home games in larger numbers. Edwards has hinted at being interested in MLS but he is being quiet about it so far. One or two other billionaires as minority owners wouldn’t hurt to improve the ownership group for an MLS bid, too. We shall see.

  1. C’mon MLS fans from probable expansion cities, if you know your city has everything to make the jump to MLS then one day your wish will come true.
    We all know MLS will not stop at 24, and probably their magic number will be 32.
    ( a 32 team league would make a lot of money and get a lot of dps and world attention)
    But now the problem is not finding expansion markets, now the big problem is to select the right one, which they are all good 🙂
    One foreseeable problem is LA2. They don’t have nothing going on and they plan to start playing in 2 years. We all know a soccer stadium takes around 16 to 17 months to build and if it’s a cheap design, I say 14 but they won’t be ready, unless they play at a college stadium or nfl stadium.
    So what can Garber do? How about hold back LA2 to 2018. Give Sacramento LA2s spot for 2017.
    Then after that, any kind of pairing can happen. MLS can do Miami and LA2 for 2018 then Minneapolis and San Antonio for 2019. The best and smartest move for MLS to do is give Sacramento the 2017 spot and move LA2 to 2018 or 2019. Basically MLS already has 26 teams, it all depends when they plan to get 2 more in besides the 24 number. The 27 to 32 teams are going to be a war of who has more money And better stadium location.

  2. Yes, expansion and diluting already thin talent is the most important thing for our pyramid scheme, rather than quality football.

    • Yes, we should only have 2 teams in MLS. In that way, the quality of US Soccer would be world class [sarcastic comment].

  3. The article says second to last team in MLS..sort of retracts that later…I say no way

    MLS goes to 30ish for sure.

      • I agree on 30ish, but MLS will sit at 20-24 for a while. I also do not see the Las Vegas obsession. I would never stick a team there. Too dangerous 😉

  4. Last 4 in MLS expansion…already agreed to..LA and Miami plus Minnesota and Sacremento as the last 2….NASL will move MUFC and Atlanta franchises or open new ones..San Antonio and LV are not on the radar for MLS….

    • No, MLS already agreed to LA (2017), and Atlanta(2017). The last 2 come down to either Miami, Minnesota, or Sacramento. Although we do not know the specifics of Beckham’s buy option, people have to believe that he is not going give up on his $25 million buy-in option on a minimum $100 million franchise (immediate quadrupling your money).

      Part of me still wishes, that the Qatari Group had bought the Cosmos brand a while ago leveraging some of the Cosmos brand that still exist. Even soccer fans casual fans here (in NY) know a little of the Cosmos past. There is little to no traction of NYC FC and I live in the area. Keep in mind, I am not a NASL fan.

      PS – Besides not making sense, your statement is barely coherent..”NASL will move MUFC and Atlanta franchises or open new ones..San Antonio and LV are not on the radar for MLS”

  5. Good choice of an established team with some history (and great logo).

    But does anyone know what the prospects are for another stadium in Minny? The viking’s new dome has been pretty controversial from what I hear.

    • Good call on the logo. I do not even watch that much NASL, but that thing is instantly recognizable, even to those who might not like it (I love it personally). That’s one measure of great branding.

      • Sad thing is, they can’t keep the logo. Logo rights are held by the league. I just hope that they can modify it without diminishing it. OC actually improved theirs when moving to MLS, but that MU logo is one of my all time favorites.

      • Interesting. Was not aware of this. Thanks for the perspective.

        So it sounds like NASL plays hardball on this issue and would not transfer the rights for some reasonable fee/consideration. Bummer. That logo is superb.

      • What’s your source for that? Minnesota United created that logo a few years ago when they rebranded, and I’m pretty sure that they registered it themselves, the NASL had nothing to do with it. Similarly, the Tampa Bay Rowdies own their own logo, having bought the rights from some people in Texas who had registered it about 10-15 years ago when it had lapsed.

        I’ve never heard of the NASL owning the trademarks of NASL clubs (they do own the rights to some old original defunct NASL club logos, which they registered a few years ago). It’s MLS that collectively owns the rights to logos, trademarks and other intellectual property rights of the individual clubs, not NASL.

        I don’t think there is anything to prevent Minnesota United from keeping its current logo when it joins MLS. It’s so new, and so good, it doesn’t make sense to rebrand again so soon.

        Again, where’s the proof that NASL owns it? That’s not the NASL business model. NASL clubs own their own rights. A quick google search shows that the logo is owned by Minnesota United FC, and not by the NASL.

      • It is more than likely that the stadium will have to be almost entirely privately funded, which is why the owner is bringing in the owners of the Twins and the owner of the Timberwolves to back the project.

        There are several ways that the ownership could offset costs by sharing the space with a waste management company or developing the land for residential and retail space.

        Minneapolis has an aggressive business community who are intent on developing the downtown area and attracting hundreds of thousands of new residents, so I am not to put off by the public funding issues.

  6. Solid move by MLS, they already have a strong fan base and really a solid team with MLS calibre pieces. I really feel they’ll make a deep Open Cup run this year with the new format.

    On the other hand, huge loss for NASL in terms of competing with MLS. While the Cosmos are the most prestigious team in the league, Minnesota was the best soccer team. I’m still holding out hope the 10 remaining teams call it a day in the next few years and partner with non-MLS expansion USL teams to become MLS2 and pro/rel is born.

    • The issue is Sacramento averaged higher attendance that Minnesota ever has. Their (MN) highest attendance averages were 7,196 for the 2014. Sacramento United averaged 11,293 2014(their 2nd year).

      I am not sold media market size. Miami is a huge media market but have proven to a poor sports teams (with the Miami Fusion as well as the Marlins and Heat). If MN is being beaten by Sacramento now, what makes you think Sacramento wouldn’t beat them if they had been chosen.

      Beckham is getting his team because he has his 25million buy-in. He would quadruple his money right away.

      • Minnesota’s current stadium only holds 8,500 people, so it’s hard to hold that against them, and part of their bid is they have made strides for a new downtown stadium, per the article. Obviously Sacramento has grown very quickly and are doing really well, and the article says there is still one more spot between them and Miami, so I’m not sure what your argument is. Even if Beckham does get a discount, if the city won’t cooperate it won’t matter and Sacramento is the last team in

      • It will never be that simple. Nobody knows the “actual” terms of Beckham’s option agreement (i.e. when does the option expire aside from the small circle of people who have seen the document(s), but you can rest assured that Beckham and his world-class PR team will not simply let $100 million slide away without a big ugly fight.

  7. I don’t know enough about Minnesota, it’s soccer culture or Minnesota United to have an opinion about the groups “worthiness”. I do see the potential long term benefits from the league’s perspective in the long term regarding geography, another major mid west metropolitan team/rival, TV markets, etc. etc.

    It is a tremendous bummer for Sacramento as the organization has shown themselves to be capable and ambitious, the city and supporters to be MLS worthy. This club no doubt would provide atmosphere as well as an excellent regional rivalry ie Nor Cal v Nor Cal v SoCal v PNW and link for West Coast supporters road trips. Who knows….. the limits imposed on expansion aren’t written in stone.

    • Well, it also says there is still one more spot left, and Miami hasnt progressed since the team was announced. This is just a leak, my money is on Sacramento has the obvious second team.

      • I have to agree. Sacramento is so far ahead of Miami. If you are a depressed Sacramento fan don’t worry. My money is on you and Minnesota joining MLS in 2018

      • I anticipate the announcement being either MinU & SacRep or MinU, SacRep, & Miami, slated to join in some combination of 2017, 2018.

    • Minnesota consistently has some of the highest ratings for USMNT games and I think I remember Ives said he gets a ton of hits from there as well.

  8. Like it or not there are a lot of money reasons to go to MN. One of the largest TV markets not represented. HUGE corporations such as Target and others are there. And it is a hip, vibrant soccer town as well. I kind of wish MN and Sac would both come in now and MLS told Miami to wait till next round to get their crap together regarding a stadium.

    • It’s an absolutely perfect situation. Soccer mad area, huge market, great owners, soccer based ownership, downtown stadium. This could be the next Portland. They’re really going to blow up quick, I think.

    • Though they’ll probably end up in the west…assuming that Miami is the other team…and so they’ll only play Chicago once per year. #:(

      • Realistically MN won’t start until probably 2018…two of those players will be too old (are basically already too old) and the other is bat guano crazy. It’s waaaaaay to early to speculate on who they’d bring in, but if you want to guess at big stars guess at someone who is 30 right now, not 37.

      • Why would any MLS team want to buy Balotelli? He was a problem where ever he went…and didin’t work out.

      • At first, I admit that I was a bit overwhelmed by the power of the argument, but not wanting to make a rash decision, I was planning on sleeping on it. But now that others highlight the force of the argument, I’m willing to go out on a limb and concur with Sir Alex.

  9. Why didn’t Ibara go to an MLS team? Shouldn’t that have been a goal of his? Also, does anyone know how much he’s making there? I know he signed a Nike deal which probably gives him a little bit of cash, but I’m just curious.

    • Not really his choice I think. Minnesota wanted more money to sell him on than any MLS team wanted to pay (or, at least, whichever MLS team has the discovery rights).

    • This argument only really makes sense if you view NASL as a legitimate direct threat to MLS’s superiority in the market.

      A healthy and vibrant secondary league is actually might very well be in the best interests of MLS, particularly in smaller-and-middle markets that MLS does not yet have plans to service

      • Except MLS views (and encourages) USL as that secondary league. NASL will be lucky to be 3rd division in the next 10 years.

      • Agree, though it’s not clear that MLS wouldn’t be willing to offer the the same arrangement to NASL as it has to USL teams– effectively offering them a degree of security and survival certainty provided they are willing to effectively acquiesce to long-term subordination.

        Ultimately, I’d think the end-game for all of these organizations does involve a common umbrella…. though it’s not clear how much independence each organization will retain under such an arrangement.

    • I don’t ever want to see a team in san antonio until you get more fans at the other two texas franchises. I saw a lot of empty seats at the houston vs orlando game. That stadium looks like too narrow. FC Dallas had a lot of open seats in the opener.

      Who are the owners behind San Antonio anyway? Are they cheap owners because every expansion team entering MLS has a rich ownership group? We don’t need another team with a broke cheap owner


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