Las Vegas gets MLS stadium approval for potential expansion team
Las Vegas just needs a team and they can put shovels in the ground.
MLS has a stadium waiting for them in Las Vegas. The City Council approved funding for a new soccer-specific stadium in the city on Wednesday that will only be built if Las Vegas gets an MLS team in a huge step for a city that is now in the thick of the expansion race.
The City Council voted 4-3 to approve $25 million in bonds and $31.5 million in infrastructure for the $200 million stadium that would house an MLS team. Findlay Sports and Entertainment and The Cordish Companies have partnered to bring a team to Sin City, but needed to get the $56.5 million to go ahead with their plans. Now they have it and just have to get the league to give them a team.
Las Vegas is battling Minneapolis, Sacramento and San Antonio for the league’s 24th team. MLS has said that their goal is to expand to 24 teams by 2020 and with New York, Orlando, Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles all promised teams, that leaves on spot left.
Now Las Vegas has an edge on all of the other bidders. They are the only city that has a stadium deal done and a clear ownership group. Minneapolis has two ownership groups jockeying, only one of whom have a venue and that is the undesirable Minnesota Vikings stadium. Sacramento and San Antonio are still working on getting a stadium deal done.
There have been questions about Las Vegas’ viability. Their plans seemed a little ambitious and they were a late-comer to the bidding, but they have surged ahead with a stadium waiting to get built. The ground would be in downtown Las Vegas and original plan called for a 20,000-25,000 seat stadium with a retractable roof. It’s unclear if the roof is still part of the plans. It would be a big boost in a city that can get very hot in the summer, but it isn’t absolutely necessary considering Houston and Dallas play matches in unbelievable humidity every summer.
MLS commissioner Don Garber said that the league hopes to award the 24th expansion team in the first half of 2015.
The news out of Las Vegas is more positive stadium momentum for the league, which saw D.C. United get approval on their long-awaited stadium earlier in the day.