Part 2: Which City Will Host the Next MLS Expansion Team?

Hope all of you out there in the Sports Talk Social world are having a fantastic day! Yesterday I wrote about three cities that could host the next MLS franchise and today, I write about the final three cities. I cannot believe that an MLS franchise costs about the same as buying Leeds United and bids are still lining up prepared to pay $325 million for the rights to an MLS team.

You can view Part 1 of Which City Will Host the Next MLS Expansion Team here.


Louisville already has the soccer specific Lynn Family Stadium which has a capacity or 11,700 and can be expanded to over 15,000. Louisville City FC have been competing in the USL Championship since 2014 and have a well established support for professional soccer in the city, average attendances among the best in the league.

An expansion bid will need to be bankrolled by someone with deep pockets but Louisville has appeal as one of the largest cities in the U.S. without a team in the major five professional sports leagues. A franchise would also have FC Cincinnati as an instant rival, Louisville around the same distance to Cincinnati as it is from Cincinnati to fierce rivals Colombus.

San Diego

As the eight largest city in America, an MLS expansion franchise in San Diego makes a compelling case. San Diego also has a huge sporting community with more people playing soccer per capita than any other city in the country.

The San Diego Loyal were co-founded in 2020 by USMNT hero Landon Donovan as an expansion team in the USL Championship. With crowds currently averaging just over 4,000, the Loyal are still in their early days of establishing a fanbase to fill their 6,000 capacity Torero Stadium.

San Diego State University's Aztec Stadium will open in 2022 to accommodate the university's football program. With a capacity of 35,000, the Loyal have discussed playing out the stadium if they can grow their fanbase and an MLS expansion franchise could also be based out of the stadium.

Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay is the largest U.S. market without an MLS soccer team and a team would serve as a great rival to Inter Miami and Orlando City SC. Historically the city has strong soccer links with the Tampa Bay Rowdies who were a strong team in the old North American Soccer League throughout the 70s and 80s.

After folding in 1993, the Rowdies returned as a phoenix club and took the pitch in 2010. The club have been members of the USL Championship since 2017 and play out of the 7,500 capacity Al Lang Stadium. Team owner Bill Edwards even has the city's support to expand the stadium to 18,000 seats if the need arises to cater for an MLS franchise.

Tampa Bay also has a history in the MLS with the Mutiny playing in Major League Soccer's inaugural year in 1996 until folding in 2001 due to dropping attendances, unfavourable stadium lease agreements and a decline in on-field success. Stadium expansion for a Tampa Bay franchise would cost the Rowdies $80m and on top of the $300m plus in expansion fee costs the bid will need someone with very deep pockets.

Do you have thoughts on which city should host the next MLS franchise?

All the way from the Land Down Under, I created Wolfgang Sport as I enjoy writing and watching British and American sports. Started in 2017, I started the blog as a way to connect my passion for sports in the US & UK. Sign up to the newsletter today_ and I'll prove Aussies know more about your own sports than you think.


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