Sacramento poised to take MLS’s 29th expansion slot

October 17 – Sacramento’s long wait may have paid off with media reports suggesting the new club franchise will become the latest Major League Soccer (MLS) team. 

Sacramento Republic FC is expected to be greenlighted to join the MLS early next week, ending an arduous five years on-off application for an expansion slot, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The California-based club entity would be the league’s 29th franchise, leaving one open space in MLS’s plan to grow to 30 teams. However, the MLS has not ruled out that expansion plans might top 30 franchises.

In 2014 Sacramento were a success in the USL and gained traction through a fervent fan base. They expressed an interest in moving up to the MLS. As the MLS franchise fees rose to over $100 million, Sacramento fell short, but the introduction of Ron Burkle, the Pittsburgh Penguins part owner and private equity investor, to the ownership structure provided the club with enough financial muscle to make a realistic MLS bid.

It is not clear when Sacramento will begin play in the MLS. They will be the latest to be granted top tier status alongside 2020 expansion teams Inter Miami and Nashville SC, 2021 expansion team Austin FC and the to-be-named 2022 team in St. Louis.

On social media Sacramento appeared to confirm the media reports. “We share the great excitement and anticipation in our community about Sacramento’s bid to join Major League Soccer,” said the franchise in a statement. “We will continue to respect the MLS expansion process and remain confident about the future of our club and our city. We look forward to sharing more information in the days ahead.”

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1624414062labto1624414062ofdlr1624414062owedi1624414062sni@o1624414062fni1624414062