Aug 20, 2019

Major League Soccer to expand to St. Louis

Kendall Baker, author of Sports

Photo: Found Image Holdings/Corbis via Getty Images

Major League Soccer will hold a press conference in St. Louis Tuesday where Commissioner Don Garber will announce that the city has been awarded an expansion team, sources tell Axios.

The big picture: MLS is in the process of expanding to 30 teams, and this would be franchise No. 28. Friendly reminder: In 2006, MLS had just 11 teams.

  • As of this afternoon, the league will have awarded teams to Cincinnati (debuted this season), Miami (2020), Nashville (2020), Austin (2021) and St. Louis (likely 2022), all in the span of 18 months.

Stadium notes:

  • With the exception of a few outliers (Seattle, Atlanta, etc.), MLS wants soccer-specific stadiums in every market because they benefit the league's single-entity structure. Owners buy shares of MLS, not actual franchises, so they collectively own every team and want to maximize venue profits across the board.
  • After the city rejected their request for $60 million, the St. Louis ownership group has reportedly landed on a deal that will require $0 in public funding. If that ends up being the case, "the 22,500-seat venue could become a blueprint for how to join MLS without screwing over your city," writes Deadspin's Luis Paez-Pumar.

Fun fact: Soccer has a long history in the Gateway City. Five of the 11 players that beat England 1-0 at the 1950 World Cup — one of the greatest upsets in sports history — were from St. Louis.

What's next: Sacramento is a favorite to land one of the final two expansion slots followed by Charlotte, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Detroit and San Diego.

Go deeper: Major League Soccer announces plan to expand to 30 teams

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Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

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