Las Vegas launches MLS expansion bid

Aaron Davidson

Could MLS be the first major league to put a team in Las Vegas?

Las Vegas is the latest team to throw its hat in the MLS expansion ring. A local ownership group launched plans to build a 24,000 seat stadium on Wednesday with the goal of bringing a MLS team to it, possibly as the league's 24th team.

Findlay Sports and Entertainment and The Cordish Companies are teaming on the project, having acquired a 61-acre site at Symphony Park in downtown and put together plans for a venue there. The stadium and team are expected to cost more than $300 million, some of which would be paid with public funds. Cordish apparently already has an agreement with the city on that.

Las Vegas does not have a major league team in any sport so MLS could be the first into the market and the potential ownership group has already spoken with MLS.

"We recently met with Justin Findlay and Blake Cordish at the MLS League office in New York and were very impressed with their vision to pursue building a new soccer stadium and acquiring an MLS expansion club for Las Vegas," MLS Deputy Commissioner and President Mark Abbott said to the Las Vegas Sun.

"We look forward to continuing discussions as they work to further develop their plans with Mayor Goodman and the City of Las Vegas."

MLS has said that they want to expand to 24 teams by 2020. They currently have 19 teams, with New York City FC and Orlando City set to join next season. Atlanta has also been awarded a team and will debut in 2017, while Miami has a provisional team, pending their ability to get a stadium built.

Assuming Miami does get that done, MLS is committed to 23 teams, leaving one more opening. Minneapolis has been considered a frontrunner, with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf hoping to put a MLS team in his new football stadium and Twins owner Carl Pohlad part of a group trying to build a soccer stadium. San Antonio, Sacramento and Indianapolis are among the other cities vying for a team, but it looks like Las Vegas is also in the mix now and if they are as far along as they say, they may have the upperhand.

If this is built, it would not be the only new venue in the city. Recently, AEG broke ground on a new arena right off of the Strip and UNLV is working to build a new football stadium, however neither has immediate plans to bring a major league team to the city.

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