DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit is one step closer to getting a Major League Soccer team.
The Detroit bid to land an MLS franchise has been chosen to be one of four finalists to make presentations to the expansion committee early next month.
MLS announced it has selected Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento as the finalists for the first two expansion spots. Owners and officials from the four markets will make formal presentations to MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the league’s expansion committee in New York on Dec. 6.
“The leaders of the Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento MLS expansion ownership groups have bold visions and innovative plans for their clubs, stadiums and their involvement in their respective communities,” Commissioner Garber said in a league statement. “We are pleased these highly-respected business and sports leaders have been so determined to bring Major League Soccer to their cities. We have been greatly encouraged by the progress that all four of these groups have made and we are looking forward to their presentations.”
STATEMENT FROM ARN TELLEM – WHO IS LEADING THE BID PROCESS WITH MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER OFFICIALS
“We are excited to be to be named as one of the finalists chosen to meet with Commissioner Garber and the Major League Soccer expansion committee in December and look forward to sharing our bid proposal that would bring MLS soccer to Detroit. Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores, together with the Ford family, create a powerhouse group that is unprecedented in professional sports and secures a perfect stadium location in the heart of Detroit’s central business and sports and entertainment districts. Sports franchises have a unique ability to unite and inspire people. Bringing a team downtown will further energize Detroit’s urban core and impact the community both on and off the field.”
The four ownership groups named above were among 12 markets that submitted formal bids in January for a total of four expansion slots as part of the league’s expansion to 28 teams.
This news comes weeks after a group including billionaire Detroit developer Dan Gilbert and the William Clay Ford family, which owns the Detroit Lions, supplemented its application for an MLS expansion franchise with a planning study detailing Ford Field as the preferred stadium site in downtown Detroit. [Read more]
This would be in place of Gilbert’s previously-announced, now abandoned plan to build a new, smaller soccer stadium at the sight of the long-delayed Wayne County Jail project. Gilbert offered the county a deal to swap the prime real estate, near I-75 and Warren Avenue, for another Gilbert-owned Detroit property where his company would build a new criminal justice complex. The land swap, approved by the Detroit City Council last week, is still expected to take place with Gilbert developing the I-75/Warren site without a new stadium.