It looks like San Antonio is out of the running, at least for now, for a long hoped for Major League Soccer franchise, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Major League Soccer announced today that Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville, and Sacramento are the four finalists for the two expansion franchises which will be awarded this year.
The four cities selected all have heavyweight ownership groups. Cleveland Cavaliers owner and Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert is the principal in the Detroit bid, the Wilf Family which owns the Minnesota Vikings is a principal in the Nashville bid, and Jed York, CEO of the San Francisco 49ers, heads up Sacramento's proposal.
They muscled out Spurs Sports and Entertainment, the owners of the San Antonio minor league soccer team, that was San Antonio's MLS bid.
MLS Commissioner Dan Garber says San Antonio and the other seven cities which were not selected are not out of the running. He says they are under consideration for two more expansion franchises which will be awarded 'at a later date.'
“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,” said Commissioner Garber. “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.”
But the fact that the owner of the existing MLS franchise in Columbus Ohio has plans to move that team to Austin would appear to foreclose on San Antonio's hopes of landing an MLS franchise, because the MLS has already said it will not allow two franchises to exist in cities that are only 70 miles apart.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff says he was just informed that, due to his allegations that the league acted in good faith, the San Antonio application was 'deferred' until the second round. Wolff said he has not been informed of this, and he will wait to hear from the District Attorney to determine if the City has a civil case against the MLS.
The MLS plans to expand its 23 team league to 28 teams, but a Miami franchise has already been selected, leaving four franchises open.