MLS could be coming to Las Vegas. If a controversial $2 billion dollar stadium designed to lure the Oakland Raiders to Sin City is approved, it would be a no-brainer for Don Garber and the MLS cabal to fast-track Vegas for an expansion team.
Atlanta and Minnesota are getting teams in 2017. LA is getting a second team in 2018. Beyond that, it’s a free for all.
David Beckham has been trying to bring an MLS team to Miami since the Cold War, but when that will actually happen is anyone’s guess.
Las Vegas was making moves back in 2014 to get an MLS team, even going so far as to approve $56.5 million in public funding for a soccer-specific stadium, contingent on the city being granted an expansion team.
However, by February 2015, Soccer Don let Vegas know they were on the back burner until at least 2018.
But with the city vying to lure the NFL to town, the arrival of MLS may be an unintended benefit.
A domed stadium in Las Vegas would not only be the home of the Raiders and UNLV but likely an expansion MLS team. pic.twitter.com/XgCmK1IPKm
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) August 25, 2016
If the developers of the proposed $1.9 billion dollar stadium are able to extort $750 million in public funds, they will essentially have the green light to begin construction on the proposed 65,000 seat stadium.
That $1.9 billion breaks down into $1.325 billion for the stadium, $375 million for land and infrastructure improvements, $100 million for a practice facility for the Raiders, and $100 million extra, just in case.
The current proposal has the Raiders putting up $500 million, Las Vegas Sands putting up $650 million, and the public putting up the remaining $750 million for the stadium.
However, not everyone is on board with the project.
Las Vegas resident and Las Vegas Mobsters (a pro soccer team that plays in the Premier Development League, the fourth division in the American soccer pyramid) fan “AffableCynic” voiced some valid concerns,
Las Vegas resident here. They are attempting to use 500-750 million dollars of public funds without any vote or even voter input. I’d love to have a venue for high-profile friendlies and an MLS but the arrogance and blatant disregard they have for the public’s opinion has me livid.
I think Vegas would be a great market for MLS to get into, but I too have my concerns.
First of all, the NFL is rich as fuck. It’s just plain wrong to extort taxpayers, cities, and working people for money to build new stadiums when the league and its billionaire owners have that money sitting around in cash.
As an MLS fan, I worry that rapid expansion will dilute the quality of the league. There are already three expansion teams slated for the next two years and not all 20 teams that currently exist can field a quality starting 11.
MLS is still at least two or three levels below the top European leagues. You watch a Premier League game and an MLS game and it’s two different worlds.
I understand that MLS is a business and making money is their mandate, but I’m worried that they’re going to do it (literally) at the expense of the fans.