Major League Soccer announced it expects to see its 30th team in 2023, whether in Las Vegas or San Diego, as the location remains to be defined.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber stated Thursday during his annual state of the league address in downtown Los Angeles that MLS plans to continue its expansion discussions “and hope to finalize our 30th team sometime in the first half of next year.”
In January, MLS entered into an exclusive negotiation agreement with billionaires Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris regarding bringing a team to Las Vegas, and with Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Monsour about doing so in San Diego.
“It’s not a matter of whose first or whose second, both are very active discussions. We’ll have to see how it all pays out. I don’t want to have anyone think that one is leading the next,” Garber said, as reported by Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We’ve been in discussions with Wes and Nassef for some time. They’d be great owners in Major League Soccer.”
The talks between MLS officials and Edens and Sawiris have led them to identify a potential site where an MLS stadium could be built. Garber confirmed the location involves a portion of land on Las Vegas Boulevard between Warm Springs and Blue Diamond roads.
The push for a new franchise comes amid rising popularity in MLS Even though that location is at the center of the talks as they now stand, that could change before a potential deal is finalized.
“The landscape of Las Vegas, from a sporting perspective today is going to be very different from what it looks like in the next five years. So much talk going on with what’s happening with other leagues and other teams that I sit here today and can’t tell you what Las Vegas is going to look like years from now,” Garber said, as reported by the cited source.
“I think it’s a testament to what’s going on with the leadership of the convention and visitors bureau there and the mayor and certainly the success of the Raiders and the Knights,” he added.
In 2021 Edens and Sawiris filed to trademark “Las Vegas Villains,” according to records from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, with Edens excited about possibly bringing the latest major professional sports franchise to the city.
“We believe that the rising popularity of soccer and development of talent in the United States puts the MLS on a path to becoming one of the top leagues in the world,” Edens said in January, according to the aforementioned source.
“This is an important step to build on our relationship with the MLS. We’re optimistic we’ll reach a final agreement soon to bring a world-class franchise and significant economic and cultural benefits to the greater Las Vegas community,” he added.