At some point this week, FC Cincinnati is expected to find out whether it has been granted an MLS expansion bid.
There are four finalists to become the 25th and 26th MLS cities in 2020:
There has been plenty of chatter since the finalists were announced earlier this year. There has been plenty of chatter since league officials met last week to make their selection, for that matter.
One conversation of note took place this past week on the Sports Illustrated Planet Futbol podcast, between by SI writers Grant Wahl and Brian Straus. At the end of the show, Straus and Wahl took stabs at who they think will land the bids.
To repeat: this is who they think will land the bids. But interestingly enough, neither thought Cincinnati would make it into this round of expansion. Below is what they said on the show.
I am going to go with, far from 100 percent confidence, I'm going to go with Nashville and Sacramento. Reason being, that Cincinnati like I said still has a couple I's to dot and T's to cross on their stadium plan as far as I know, and the subtle difference between Sacramento and Cincinnati, Sacramento is a Top 20 media market, Sacramento has been in this game for a while, and essentially was almost promised an expansion team by the league. It's a western team. It's the only western team in the running. So, Nashville and Sacramento gives them that east/west conference balance. Great brand. And now an extra $3 billion in the net worth of the ownership ... and that is money that I don't think Cincinnati that is a level of net worth now that I believe eclipses Cincinnati, and so, just by a hair, just by a nose, I go with Sacramento and then Nashville is I think the top rated market in the committee's eyes.
I will say Likely the same. Sacramento. Nashville. Detroit, I'm a little surprised they made the Final Four ... we need fewer NFL stadiums in MLS, not more, in my opinion. And then like you said, Cincinnati -- not totally ready on the stadium front. Certainly, a lot to be excited about there. I think almost certainly unless something crazy happens, they'll get one of the next two slots ... and I look at Sacramento and I think they deserve it. They've done it right. So, Sacramento and Nashville, we'll probably both be wrong.
"We will probably both be wrong," Wahl joked afterward.
Straus said that Cincinnati would be a "formidable favorite" to become team No. 27 as the league continues to expand.
MLS released this statement this past Thursday:
“Today, Major League Soccer’s Board of Governors had a productive discussion about the bids from ownership groups representing Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento to become the next MLS expansion clubs. League officials and the MLS Expansion Committee will continue to work with the four finalists and plan to have more details shortly.”
FC Cincinnati has already surpassed 15,000 season ticket holders for the 2018 season. In just two seasons as a franchise, the club is bringing in more fans a game than several MLS cities.
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