St Louis wins 28th MLS franchise with female-led ownership group

August 21 – St. Louis was officially announced as the newest MLS expansion franchise on Tuesday, in what is the league’s first female majority-owned team.

The MLS’s 28th team will begin play in 2022 and is the 18th addition to the league since 2005. Cincinnati joined as the 24th team this season while Nashville and David Beckham’s Inter Miami will debut in 2020. Austin, Texas, will kick off in 2021.

“It is with great pride that we welcome St. Louis to Major League Soccer,” Garber said in a statement. “St. Louis is a city with a rich soccer tradition, and it is a market we have considered since the league’s inception. Our league becomes stronger today with the addition of the city’s deeply dedicated soccer fans, and the committed and innovative local ownership group led by Carolyn Kindle Betz, the Taylor family, and Jim Kavanaugh.”

St Louis will play in a 22,500-capacity stadium (which could be expanded to 25,500), in Downtown West and will be the centrepiece of that area’s redevelopment. Every seat in the stadium will be within 120 feet of the pitch. The stadium will have a translucent canopy that will provide cover for the fans as well as allowing light to reach the pitch.

The ownership group is led by members of the founding family of car rental business Enterprise.

“It’s an incredible feeling to now be able to say, St. Louis is home to the first official majority female-led ownership group in MLS,” said Carolyn Kindle Betz. “Our MLS team and stadium will only add to St. Louis’ renaissance currently underway and will provide us with a great opportunity to bring together many different segments of the community, uniting people in their love for the game.”

The award of an MLS franchise to St Louis has been a long time coming but two years ago its likelihood looked slim after a city vote rejected use of a business tax to finance a new stadium. Since then the city’s commitment was confirmed by the St. Louis Board of Alderman passing a resolution to provide tax exemptions and other incentives to help with the construction.

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