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MLS Expansion Final Four: Sacramento and 3 Others

Sacramento, Nashville, Cincinnati and Detroit are the final contenders for spots 25 and 26.

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MLS: All-Star Game Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Firstly, my apologies. Full time jobs tend to get in the way of what’s most important in my life, and this is it!

Major League Soccer has come out this morning and stated the final four cities for the 2017 expansion decision: Nashville, Detroit, Cincinnati, and your very own Sacramento. This comes as no shock as all of these cities were pushing pretty hard as the deadline approached. Although San Antonio and Phoenix had some solid cases, they were never really going to get an opportunity in this round.

Sacramento has been the clear favorite for quite some time. Now that MLS has revealed the four cities they are currently favoring, my confidence is at an all-time high that Division 1 pro soccer is coming to Sacramento.

To me, it looks like there’s only one free spot open for expansion, because Sacramento already occupies the other. However, there’s more to it than just a biased opinion.

Sacramento is the only team of the remaining four that has an actual set stadium plan. In fact, they have already begun by making the building ground suitable for the construction of the stadium. Cincinnati just today received permission from their city and county to build the stadium which is obviously a big deal, but with only 2 weeks left, they have a lot of issues to resolve before they can start building.

Detroit was originally going to create a stadium that would only be for their soccer club, but realized it wouldn’t be cost-effective. They decided to go along the lines of sharing Ford Field with the Detroit Lions (NFL Team). Although it’s a smart move and makes it seem like they already have a stadium in place, it’s a lot less attractive for a brand new professional team to be using a stadium that’s 15 years old.

Nashville used to be a dark horse candidate, but was able to spring from the shadows and is now seen by many as the 2nd-favorite city to land an MLS squad, right behind Sacramento. Nashville has been able to get a $275 million, 27,500-seat stadium at the city's fairgrounds approved by Nashville city council earlier this month.

After Miami’s failure to construct a stadium despite receiving a green light from MLS, the league will not want to have to deal with a similar problem with the newer expansion teams. This is what makes Sacramento and Nashville so attractive; they’re ready to start building NOW.

Other Sacramento Arguments:

  • Sacramento is currently ranked in the top 20 in Sports Media markets within the United States. It is currently the only city in the top 20 that has only one major league sports team. Only two cities have two teams while the rest have at least three.
  • While Sacramento Republic FC has been in the USL for only four years, they have been 1st, 1st, 2nd, and 2nd in attendance from 2014-2017 respectively. On the years they have been 2nd, it’s not that attendance decreased, it’s that Cincinnati was using a stadium that could seat up to 40,000 fans while Papa Murphy’s Park could only hold ~12,000 (Google it. Too many links).
  • This is the fastest growing city in California, which is a top 10 world economy, and growing at a rate twice the national average.
  • Sacramento is the only city of the remaining four that has investors from multiple professional sports; Kevin Nagle (Sacramento Kings), Mark Friedman (Sacramento Kings), and Jed York (SF 49ers). Not to mention the best president in Warren Smith.
  • Sacramento is the only team being considered that is positioned in the western part of the country.

Other Great City Perks:

  • Top 30 coffee city in the Unites States
  • 11th fittest city in the United States
  • Agricultural Capitol; “Farm to Fork Capitol of the World”
  • 2nd in Trees per capita within city limits
  • Home of award-winning, most technologically-advanced stadium in the world (Golden 1 Center)
  • Equidistant between the Bay Area and Lake Tahoe
  • Sacramento is just plain cool. It’s not the cow town you think it is. I promise!!

Final Thoughts:

Sacramento has been a favorite for the past several years. After the last expansion decision, the city along with its fans were a little miserable. Fortunately our strong ownership group never wavered. They kept fighting and continued to be aggressive towards the goals of becoming an MLS city. There’s absolutely no reason why Sacramento should not be chosen.

Republic FC has checked every box imaginable AND THEN SOME. In fact, Don Garber himself has said “It’s not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’”. Well guess what? “When” is NOW.