Nashville Among Four Finalists For New Major League Soccer Franchise | Nashville Public Radio

Nashville Among Four Finalists For New Major League Soccer Franchise

Nov 29, 2017

This story will be updated throughout the morning.

Nashville is one of four finalists for a Major League Soccer expansion franchise, according to an announcement Wednesday morning.

Next week, the four cities — Nashville, Cincinnati, Detroit and Sacramento — will make formal presentations to the league’s commissioner and the expansion committee, and the league will be choosing two cities for new franchises.

“We absolutely have complete hope that come the middle of December, when they make their final decision, that we’re going to be one of those expansion teams,” Nashville Mayor Megan Barry said Wednesday.

The MLS announcement says those presentations will be followed by additional discussions on the prospective cities with current ownership representatives.

More: WPLN's ongoing MLS coverage

A dozen cities originally submitted bids, and Nashville was initially considered a long shot. But in the last several months, Nashville’s bid was boosted by additional backing from a billionaire NFL-owning family — the Wilfs, owners of the Minnesota Vikings — and a quickly-approved soccer-specific stadium plan, which received a resounding vote from the Metro Council.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber called the bids from the four finalists “bold” and “innovative.”

“We are pleased these highly-respected business and sports leaders have been so determined to bring Major League Soccer to their cities,” his statement said.

If Nashville is not selected next month, the city could still be in contention for two other expansion franchises that the league plans to award in the near future.