Twin Cities has inside track for expansion MLS franchise, league commissioner says

Categories: Sports
Thumbnail image for stadiumSoccer.jpg
A rendering of what the new Vikings stadium would look like for the MLS.
-- Update at bottom --

Earlier this month, Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, told us "there's discussions going on with the MLS about getting an franchise here but nothing that's finalized." The idea, of course, is that an MLS team could play its home games at the new Vikings stadium.

RELATED: Dark Clouds: Embedded with Minnesota United FC's misfit fans

There still hasn't been anything finalized at this point, but judging by comments made during a conference call today by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, the Twin Cities has the inside track to land a team.

The league plans to add two teams to expand to 24 within the next five years or so, and today, Garber addressed the topic of which markets are the leading contenders. He mentioned just two by name -- Atlanta and the Twin Cities.

"That opportunity is one that we're excited about as we believe we need more teams in the midwest," Garber said. "I think if Minneapolis as a market can continue to show the support that they've had for the NASL club [Minnesota United] and if they continue to make progress on a number of different stadium opportunities, there's a real opportunity there."

A United spokesperson told us the team is working on a statement in response to Garber's comments and will release it  shortly. We also left a voicemail with the Sports Facilities Authority seeking comment but haven't heard back as this is published.

The addition of an MLS franchise would make the Twin Cities the second smallest metro area with teams in each of "big five" professional sports leagues -- NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS -- just ahead of Denver. (And Denver, it should be noted, doesn't have a WNBA team.)

:::: UPDATE :::: Late this afternoon, Eric Durkee, spokesman for the United FC, got in touch with us and said, "We hope to speak to this subject very soon and offer comment, but at this point in time our focus is on our upcoming season."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

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23 comments
midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

Just what we need, another billionaire owner crying for welfare every 5 to 10 years. There are only so many sports fans in Minnesota and those fans only have so much money to spend. The more teams we have the more thinly the fan revenue is spread among those teams. People should consider that before jumping on the pro soccer bandwagon.

hahahahaha
hahahahaha

sounds good lets build them a stadium

ron.fresquez
ron.fresquez topcommenter

NASL club Minnesota United? I have to heard of them. Interesting.

Tamara Brown Legler
Tamara Brown Legler

Lovely...if NFL stadiums just 'don't work' for soccer,who gets to pay for THIS new stadium?

prorelhater
prorelhater

I wonder what the Loons are going to respond.

Cliff Spab
Cliff Spab

I am old school. A place where the word Gay is not cool. So awesomely gay "ain't happenin". So don't get your panties all in a bunch. The word gay does not always refer to homo activity.

Wes Burdine
Wes Burdine

ooooh. BURN. Actually, yes, the soccer supporters groups in Minnesota have been very active in our anti-homophobic position. So, I guess that is pretty awesomely gay.

Eric Shawn Smith
Eric Shawn Smith

Yaaaaaaaawn. As entertaining as Curling. And the comment about real football? Please. The NFL Kickers use their feet too, I think you meant Rugby, goof.

teffster
teffster

@MnNiceFC I love that Garber mentioned fans continued support for the Loons is important to MLS.

Michael Medved
Michael Medved

Rather have a soccer specific stadium. Other than Seattle. NFL stadiums haven't worked in MLS.

Reier Erickson
Reier Erickson

Yay for sports that don't stop every 30 seconds for 2 minutes.

ron.fresquez
ron.fresquez topcommenter

Cliff, thank you for making that clarification.

Adam
Adam

From the linked article:


"That opportunity is one that we're excited about as we believe we need more teams in the Midwest," Garber said. "I think if Minneapolis as a market can continue to show the support that they've had for the NASL club [Minnesota United] and if they continue to make progress on a number of different stadium opportunities, there's a real opportunity there."

What's particularly interesting about this is that Minnesota United was referenced, but not the Vikings. Previously, it had been reported that Zygi Wilf was interested in acquiring a MLS team with the idea of having them play in a stadium primarily built for the Minnesota Vikings. If it's actually the United owners who are driving interest -- and there have been reports that the Twins could be a partner in the deal -- that probably means it would be with the intention of playing in a far more MLS-appropriate soccer stadium.

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