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Major League Soccer is coming to Nashville!
MLS Announces Nashville Event Where it's Expected to Accept Expansion Bid
By BRIAN STRAUS
December 19, 2017
Major League Soccer is coming to the music city.
The league all but confirmed Tuesday morning that the Nashville bid fronted by local billionaire John Ingram and supported by the Wilf brothers, who own the Minnesota Vikings, has been accepted. MLS commissioner Don Garber will join Ingram, Tennessee governor Bill Haslam and Nashville mayor Megan Barry at an event Wednesday afternoon at the Country Music Hall of Fame, where they’ll announce the city’s entry.
You can watch the event in the stream below:
Ingram and the city plan to build a 27,500-seat, $250 million stadium at the Fairgrounds Nashville site just south of downtown. Their bid was considered a long shot when it was unveiled in January.
“I think it’s fair to say we’re an underdog,” Ingram told SI.com at the time.
But Nashville’s cultural appeal, Ingram’s wealth, the public-private stadium partnership (which includes 10 acres for mixed-use development adjacent to the arena) and stumbles by early expansion favorites combined to leave Ingram as the clear front-runner as MLS owners met last week. The league intended to name two teams this month, but Nashville is the only confirmed expansion entrant. That’s an indication of the strength of its bid, as well as a few remaining questions surrounding the other three finalists—Cincinnati, Detroit and Sacramento.
As the league continues to evaluate those three, it’s possible a decision and/or announcement could be delayed until after the holidays.
As of Tuesday, it was unclear when Nashville’s MLS club will begin play. The league originally scheduled the two teams named this month to kick off in 2020. They’d be clubs No. 25 and 26, joining after David Beckham’s Miami outfit and Los Angeles FC entered as members 23 and 24. But only the latter is ready. Coach Bob Bradley’s LAFC will kick off in March and then open Banc of California Stadium on April 29 against Seattle. The Miami project has taken far longer than anticipated. While this month’s recruitment of investors Jorge and Jose Mas has solidified the ownership group, a stadium construction timeline and MLS entry date are impossible to peg.
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