After waiting what has felt like an eternity, Sacramento is reportedly getting its MLS franchise.
According to the Sacramento Bee, the capital of California will officially have the 29th MLS team on Monday. Their sources say the league will hold a press conference in downtown Sacramento where commissioner Don Garber will officially announce the team.
Sacramento has long been considered a favorite to land a franchise. They were one of four finalists for the spots that eventually went to Cincinnati and Nashville, but a tricky ownership situation kept derailing their efforts despite a stadium plan that was ready to begin construction at any moment.
That all changed when Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle joined the prospective ownership group, bringing stability and a large chunk of cash to the operation. Burkle, who co-owns the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, is joined by Hollywood film producer Matt Alvarez and Sacramento businessmen Kevin Nagle in owning the expansion team.
Their $250 million privately financed stadium will go up on a plot of undeveloped land in Sacramento’s downtown railyard. Construction on the new facility would reportedly begin immediately.
The city council has pledged $33 million towards streets and other infrastructure around the stadium and has pledged to rewrite other laws to allow for the club to erect digital signage in the area.
Sacramento is currently home to the USL’s Sacramento Republic and they are routinely near the top of the league’s attendance rankings. The new MLS expansion side would adopt that team name and imagery.
The team issued a statement earlier on Tuesday, clarifying reports, but not officially announcing anything:
“We share the great excitement and anticipation in our community about Sacramento’s bid to join Major League Soccer. We will continue to respect the MLS expansion process and remain confident about the future of our club and our city. We look forward to sharing more information in the days ahead.”