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Report: MLS nearing agreement with Sacramento for expansion franchise

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Sacramento has been on the doorstep of landing an MLS expansion team for years and they appear close to realizing that dream.

According to the Sacramento Bee, MLS and the prospective Sacramento ownership group are close to an agreement that would see the city join the league in 2022. The two sides have agreed to the framework of the deal and are simply crossing T’s and dotting I’s before making it official.

“We appreciate the great excitement and anticipation in our community about Sacramento’s bid to join Major League Soccer,” the team said in a statement. “As we have stated all along, we are working tirelessly to finalize an agreement to bring MLS to a city and a fanbase that deserves it. We respect the league’s expansion process and will not be providing any additional comment at this time.”

Discussions between ownership and the league have been in progress since April and have been close to completion for about two weeks.

“We are not 100 percent done and sealed, but we have our eyes on the prize and want to get there as quickly as possible,” Sacramento Republic FC president Ben Gumpert said a couple of weeks ago.

Sacramento would be the 29th team to join MLS and the league has stated a desire to reach 30 franchises before halting their expansion boom. The capital of California was one of the finalists for spots 23 and 24, which eventually went to Cincinnati and Nashville.

The city’s bid had a shovel ready stadium, but experienced a shakeup in their ownership group that put their efforts in danger. That all changed when Los Angeles based billionaire Ron Burkle joined the group. Burkle joined his partner Matt Alvarez, and local businessman Kevin Nagle the proposes to take over the name of the USL Championship’s Sacramento Republic FC and begin building a $250 million 20,000 seat stadium  in the downtown Sacramento railyard.

They have a deal in place to buy 31 acres of land from the city as soon as an MLS expansion franchise is made official.

The ownership group would reportedly pay a $200 million expansion fee, but MLS commissioner Don Garber has called that number “negotiable.”

Comments

  1. Glad to see MLS rewarding a somewhat smaller market. By all accounts I have seen Sacramento has been ready for MLS expansion for years with a passionate fan base and ownership group fully behind the project. It seemed like MLS was being distracted by the higher potential of other larger market sites and I’m happy they have gone with a city that can still add a lot to the league despite not being a trendy pick like Charlotte.

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  2. Excited for it based on the fan base plus the location/development of the stadium area. I’m pretty sure there will 20k in the stadium for years to come.. other positives are strengthening their development program, noting the real good local fuel national talent coming from the area.. and a west coast college football conference style schedule and rivalry. Sacco will jump into the cascadia rivalry and travel.

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  3. the rivalry with san jose will be intense. I’ve wanted this for years, since it was obvious with the various people part of the deal, from whitman to today’s ownership group, that sacto republic will spend for the on-the-field product in a way that san jose has never done. i’m loving almeyda’s system, but with sacto in I know Norcal will always have a quality team to cheer for. Hope the days of your cheapskates lew wolffs and your robert krafts are a thing of the past for mls.

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