SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Las Vegas is out of the running for a Major League Soccer expansion franchise, according to a letter sent to the city's mayor.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman received a letter from MLS Commissioner Don Garber saying the city would not be considered, because of " uncertainty as to when we might be able to move forward." As a result, the city says its $200 million stadium proposal is dead.
Las Vegas statement:
Major League Soccer (MLS) notified the city today that Las Vegas would not be selected as a site for an expansion franchise in the 2017 or 2018 seasons. The letter from the league commissioner is attached.
The city had been courting the league with private partners from Findlay Sports and Entertainment and the Cordish Companies to bring an MLS team to downtown Las Vegas. The plan was to locate a $200 million soccer stadium on Symphony Park as home for that team.
Under the current agreements with the private partners and the city, a failure by the MLS to select Las Vegas means the stadium proposal is now stopped. The agreements, the most recent passed on Dec. 17, 2014, say that if the MLS does not choose Las Vegas then a stadium will not be built. The decision by the league ends the City Council's consideration of a soccer stadium, and the exclusive negotiating agreement with the private partners will expire on Feb. 20. Now the city is able to consider other uses on Symphony Park.
Thursday's move means Sacramento is one of three potential groups vying to be the 24th team in MLS. There are two rival bids from Minneapolis as the league looks to expand by 2020.
One of the Minneapolis bids has the backing of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings ownership. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports one plan would have the Vikings' new $1 billion stadium converted from a 65,400-seat football stadium to a 20,000-seat soccer stadium with large panels and advertising boards covering the other 40,000-plus seats.
The league hopes to expand to 24 teams by 2020. Chivas USA in Southern California recently was shut down by the league, with new ownership taking over and a new Los Angeles team to start playing in 2017. Teams in Orlando and New York City will join next year, bringing the total to 20.
By the time Chivas rejoins the league in 2017, teams in Atlanta and Miami are expected to leave only one open space for a team, pending a finalized stadium plan for the latter.
The Miami ownership group hasn't been able to lock down financing from the city for a new stadium. MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott warned that without a stadium deal, the Miami bid could be in trouble, opening the door for another team to take its place.
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