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Las Vegas, San Diego front-runners to get next MLS franchise

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber said the decision on whether Las Vegas will be the league’s 30th team will come by year’s end.

Las Vegas and San Diego are the front-runners to get the next franchise, Garber said Wednesday.

“San Diego and Las Vegas are the most likely,” he said during an interview at the league’s new TV studio.

Echoing what he said late last year, Garber said he would like to unveil the league’s next franchise this year.

“The 30th team will come at some point soon,” he said. “We’d like to get that announced by the end of the year.”

Las Vegas and San Diego aren’t the only markets in consideration, with Garber also mentioning Detroit, Phoenix, Sacramento and Tampa.

In January 2022 MLS entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement with billionaires Wes Edens and Naseef Sawiris to potentially land a team in Las Vegas. They filed to trademark “Las Vegas Villains,” which is noted to be associated with a professional soccer franchise.

The two would tentatively look to build a soccer stadium on Las Vegas Boulevard, between Warm Springs and Blue Diamond roads.

Sawiris and Edens own the Premier League’s Aston Villa soccer club, with Edens also a co-owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.

Edens is also the co-CEO of Fortress Investment Group, which through an affiliate owns high-speed passenger rail line Brightline. The rail company, under the name Brightline West, is looking to connect Las Vegas and Southern California via high-speed rail. The Las Vegas station would be built on land next to where the MLS stadium would be constructed.

San Diego came into the fray last year, with Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Monsour entering into talks regarding expansion. The city has a soccer-ready stadium in Snapdragon Stadium, which opened less than a year ago and seats 35,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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