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Las Vegas competing with San Diego for 30th MLS franchise

Updated November 3, 2022 - 6:28 pm

Major League Soccer hopes to announce its 30th team in 2023. Whether that’s Las Vegas or San Diego remains to be seen.

“We plan to continue our expansion discussions and hope to finalize our 30th team sometime in first half of the (next) year,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said Thursday during his annual state of the league address in downtown Los Angeles.

In January, MLS entered into an exclusive negotiation agreement with billionaires Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris regarding bringing a team to Las Vegas. The league is also in discussions with a group led by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Monsour about bringing a team to San Diego.

“It’s not a matter of whose first or whose second, both are very active discussions,” Garber said. “We’ll have to see how it all plays out. I don’t want to have anyone think that one is leading the next. We’ve been in discussions with Wes and Nassef for some time. …They’d be great owners in Major League Soccer.”

The talks between MLS officials and Edens and Sawiris have led to them to identify a potential site where an MLS stadium could be constructed. Garber confirmed it could be built on a portion of land on Las Vegas Boulevard located between Warm Springs and Blue Diamond roads.

Although that location is at the center of the talks as they now stand, that could change before a potential deal is finalized.

“The landscape of Las Vegas, from a sporting perspective today is going to be very different from what it looks like in the next five years,” Garber said. “So much talk going on with what’s happening with other leagues and other teams that, I sit here today and can’t tell you what Las Vegas is going to look like years from now.

“I think it’s a testament to what’s going on with the leadership of the convention and visitors bureau there and the mayor and certainly the success of the Raiders and the Knights.”

In 2021, Edens and Sawiris filed to trademark “Las Vegas Villains” according to records from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, with Edens clearly excited about possibly bringing the latest major professional sports franchise to the city.

“We believe that the rising popularity of soccer and development of talent in the United States puts the MLS on a path to becoming one of the top leagues in the world,” Edens told the Review-Journal in January. “This is an important step to build on our relationship with the MLS. We’re optimistic we’ll reach a final agreement soon to bring a world-class franchise and significant economic and cultural benefits to the greater Las Vegas community.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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