Expansion of Major League Soccer

Expansion Of Major League Soccer

Major League Soccer is the top level of professional soccer in the United States and Canada. MLS was established in 1993 with 10 teams that began play in 1996. Since then MLS has expanded several times into new markets across the United States, and for the first time, beginning in 2006, into Canada. In May 2013, the league announced that the twentieth team, New York City FC, will begin play as early as 2015.

Major League Soccer considers several criteria when determining where to award expansion franchises -- (1) owners that are committed to MLS and have the financial wherewithal to invest in a team, (2) a stadium or approved plans for a stadium (preferably a soccer-specific stadium) that allows the team to control revenue streams such as parking and concessions, (3) the size of the market of the metropolitan area, and (4) an established local fan base. MLS has an Expansion Committee whose duties include reviewing applications from expansion contenders. Expansion committee members include MLS President Mark Abbott and Real Salt Lake co-owner Dave Checketts.

In terms of MLS longer-term goals, Commissioner Don Garber noted during a press conference on February 14, 2011 that he saw 22 teams in MLS by 2020, but league president Mark Abbott said in October 2012 that the league had "not made a determination about the timeline for expansion beyond " at the time. In April 2013, in response to a question about whether MLS would expand to 30 teams, Garber tweeted that 30 seems like too many.

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