Nashville Named Major League Soccer’s 24th Team
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It’d been clear for a couple days now, but a formal press conference at the Country Music Hall of Fame confirmed Nashville as one of two expansion franchises that could begin play as early as 2020 in Major League Soccer. With Los Angeles FC set to join the league in 2018 as the 23rd club, Nashville is now MLS’s 24th side and the third team in the Southeastern United States (Atlanta and Orlando being the other two).
Nashville boasts an exceptionally strong ownership group (local billionaire John Ingram and the Wilf family, owners of the Minnesota Vikings) and an approved plan for a $275 million stadium and redevelopment project on the city’s fairgrounds. The plans call for a 27,500-seat stadium on the 10-acre property. This gave them a distinct advantage in the hotly contested race for joining MLS.
“Nashville is a rising city with a passionate soccer fan base, a dedicated ownership group and civic leaders that truly believe in this sport,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in a statement. “Nashville continues its ascent as one of America’s most dynamic communities, with its incredible energy and creativity.
"For us, that makes it a perfect place for MLS expansion. John Ingram and his partners had a plan to bring MLS to Nashville during the last year and they executed it at every level. Thanks to their vision, the soccer fans of Tennessee will soon have their own MLS club and a state-of-the-art soccer stadium that undoubtedly will be a centerpiece of the community.”
The confirmation of the decision on Wednesday leaves fellow expansion finalists Sacramento, Cincinnati and Detroit battling for the final spot in this round.
There’s also the David Beckham-led project in Miami, but that 46-month long escapade still has its hurdle to clear before officially joining MLS.