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.”