KANSAS CITY, MO. (AP) -Ã‚Â Expansion is coming toÃ‚Â Major League Soccer. The only questions facing the league’s board are how many teams, where to locate them and when to bring them into the fold.
Commissioner Don Garber told The Associated Press in a wide-ranging interview Monday that the league’s owners plan to discuss expansion ”in great detail” during a meeting Wednesday.
The MLS will play Italian club AS Roma in its annual All-Star game that night.
At the moment, the league is focused on adding a second team in New York. But with David Beckham holding an ownership option and several cities expressing interest in a franchise, the league could shoot past the 20-team mark within the next few years.
”The league is going to expand. It’s not an ‘if,’ but a ‘when,’ and it’s a ‘how many,”’ Garber said. ”There’s lots of interest among many, many different markets, so we’ll get pretty focused on establishing something firmer in the next few months.”
There was a time when an ownership group could spend less than $10 million on a franchise, but those days are over. Surging attendances, modest but consistent television growth and even the recent success of the U.S. national team have made the MLS a hot property.
It cost English club Manchester City and its partner, the New York Yankees, an expansion fee of $100 million to launch New York City FC, which will begin play in 2015.
Other cities that have expressed interest in a team, or have lower-tier franchises who want to join MLS, include Atlanta, Sacramento, Orlando and the Twin Cities. Read more