MLS to expand to 30 teams with St. Louis and Sacramento set to join
Last Updated: 19/04/19 7:30am
MLS have announced plans to expand to 30 teams with the league in discussion with several ownership groups and markets including Sacramento and St. Louis.
The North American league said Sacramento and St. Louis will make presentations to its expansion committee in the second quarter of 2019 with a decision to be made "in the coming months."
FC Cincinnati joined MLS as the 24th team this season. David Beckham's Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC and will debut in 2020 followed by Austin FC in 2021.
MLS said Sacramento had shown an impressive level of fan support since expressing interest in a club in 2014, while St. Louis would be the league's first female majority-owned team.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement: "Professional soccer at all levels is thriving in the United States and Canada and we believe there are many markets that could support a successful MLS club.
"We continue to believe that there are many, many cities across the country that could support an MLS team, with a great stadium and a great fanbase and great local ownership that will invest in the sport in their community."
MLS said the expansion fee for the next two teams will be $200m each while the board deferred a decision regarding the expansion fee and timeline for the league's 30th club.
Sacramento's hopes of landing a team were boosted in January when billionaire Ron Burkle became the new lead investor in the Sacramento Republic soccer team. The team currently plays in the second-tier United Soccer League.
Burkle is a co-owner of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins with a net worth estimated at $2 billion by Forbes magazine.
The St. Louis group includes World Wide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh and the Taylor family, owners of the rental car company Enterprise Holdings.