ST. LOUIS – The MLS owners agreed to expand to 30 clubs, paving the way for St. Louis to join the soccer league in the coming years.
League expansion was the topic of discussion at the owners’ meeting in Los Angeles Thursday.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber held a news conference to announce the overall expansion to 30 clubs and said the league had invited potential ownership groups in St. Louis and Sacramento to submit formal proposals.
Garber said each bid will include a final stadium plan, corporate commitments, the composition of the respective ownership groups, detailed economics on funding, strategic plans for fan development, commitments on player development, and details on community programs.
At present, 24 clubs are competing in the MLS, with Miami and Nashville joining the league in 2020, and Austin launching ahead of the 2021 season. The 28th and 29th clubs have not been named but the expansion fee for those franchises has been set at $200 million. It's unclear what the expansion fee will be for the 30th club.
Carolyn Kindle Betz, who would be the majority owner of the club if St. Louis were awarded a team, released the following statement late Thursday afternoon:
“We are thrilled to hear about this development coming out of the MLS Board of Governor’s meeting today. Obviously, this increases the likelihood of fulfilling our dream of securing an MLS team for St. Louis but there’s still work to be done and this doesn’t guarantee us an expansion spot. We look forward to continue working with MLS and Commissioner Garber towards our goal of bringing MLS to the country’s soccer capital.”