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January 31, 2017
MLS receives expansion bids from 12 cities

NEW YORK -- Major League Soccer announced 12 ownership groups and markets have submitted applications for the league’s next round of expansion. MLS will add four teams, increasing to 28 teams.

“Major League Soccer began with 10 clubs back in 1996, and we now have 12 markets vying to secure a team in our next round of expansion,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said. “That’s a strong statement about the league and the growth of the sport in the United States and Canada. We would like to thank all of the groups for submitting their expansion applications, and we have been encouraged by the support from government officials, corporate leaders and fan enthusiasm in each market. We look forward to reviewing the applications and meeting with the MLS Expansion Committee in the coming months.”

The following cities and ownership groups submitted bids:

City Ownership Group
• Charlotte
o Marcus Smith – President and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc.

• Carl H. Lindner III – Carl H. Lindner III – Co-CEO of American Financial Group, Owner, Chairman & CEO of FC Cincinnati

• Detroit
o Dan Gilbert – Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans, Inc.
o Tom Gores - Owner of the Detroit Pistons, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Platinum Equity

• Indianapolis
• Ersal Ozdemir – Founder & CEO, Keystone Realty Group
• Mickey Maurer - Chairman of the Board, National Bank of Indianapolis and IBJ Corp
• Jeff Laborsky - President & CEO of Heritage
• Mark Elwood - CEO of Elwood Staffing
• Andy Mohr - Founder & Owner of Mohr Auto Group

• Nashville
o John Ingram – Chairman of Ingram Industries, Inc. Board of Directors
o Bill Hagerty – Former Commissioner of Economic Development for Tennessee

• Phoenix
o Berke Bakay - Governor, Phoenix Rising FC, CEO, Kona Grill
o Brett Johnson - Co-Chairman Phoenix Rising FC, CEO, Benevolent Capital
o Mark Detmer - Board Member, Phoenix Rising FC, Managing Director, JLL
o Tim Riester - Board Member, Phoenix Rising FC, CEO, RIESTER
o David Rappaport - Board Member, Phoenix Rising FC, Partner, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

• Raleigh/Durham
• Steve Malik – Chairman and Owner of North Carolina FC

• Sacramento
• Kevin Nagle - Chairman and CEO, Sac Soccer & Entertainment Holdings, and Minority Owner of Sacramento Kings
• Meg Whitman - Investor, Sac Soccer & Entertainment Holdings, and CEO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
• Jed York - Owner and CEO of San Francisco 49ers

• St. Louis
o Paul Edgerley – Senior Advisor at Bain Capital, Managing Director at VantEdge Partners, part owner of Boston Celtics
o Terry Matlack – Managing Director of Tortoise Capital, Partner at VantEdge Partners
o Jim Kavanaugh – CEO of World Wide Technology, Founder of Saint Louis FC
o Dave Peacock – Former President of Anheuser-Busch Inc., Chairman of St. Louis Sports Commission

• San Antonio
• Spurs Sports & Entertainment

• San Diego

• Mike Stone – Founder and Managing Partner of FS Investors
• Peter Seidler – Managing Partner of the San Diego Padres
• Massih and Masood Tayebi – Co-Founders of the Bridgewest Group
• Steve Altman – Former Vice Chairman and President of Qualcomm
• Juan Carlos Rodriguez – Media executive and entrepreneur

• Tampa/St. Petersburg
• Bill Edwards – Owner of Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL)

The MLS expansion committee and Garber will review applications and conduct in-person meetings with potential owners and officials.

Applicants submitted documentation that focused on:

1. Ownership – Description of ownership structure and financial information.

2. Stadium – Details on the proposed site, financing plan, required governmental approvals and support from public officials.

3. Financial Projections, Corporate Support and Soccer Support – Business plan, financial projections and commitment letters for stadium naming rights and jersey-front sponsor. Applicants also provided an overview of support from the soccer community.

MLS will announce four expansion teams in groups of two based on the following timeline:

Two new expansion teams before the end of 2017. Teams 25 and 26 will begin play in MLS by the 2020 season.

Two additional expansion teams will be announced at a later date. The timeline for selecting clubs 27 and 28 will be decided later.

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