MLS to delay debut of 3 expansion franchises due to coronovirus

MLS Commissioner Don Garber, left, and Charlotte MLS owner David Taper announced that Major League Soccer will arrive in Charlotte, NC, 2021 in an event on Tuesday, December 17, 2019.

Nail Redmond | AP

Major League Soccer is back, but upcoming cities will have to wait longer for new teams to arrive due to the Kovid-19.

MLS announced on Friday that it would delay the start of three of its four expansion franchises in St. Louis, Sacramento and Charlotte, which were recently bought by Panthers owner David Taper.

Originally scheduled to arrive in 2021, Tepper’s franchise will now begin in 2022, while clubs in St. Louis and Sacramento Republic FC will begin play in the 2023 season, with both clubs expected to enter a year later. The Austin FC franchise of MLS will still start in 2021, the league said.

The verdict was approved by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, who said in a statement that the delay would help clubs “keep up with what has been challenging until 2020” due to the Kovid-19 shutdown during the game.

In the statement, he said, “These teams will be well positioned for their debut and for long-term success.” “It is essential for each club to take the time necessary to launch their initial MLS season for their fans and communities.”

In December, Tepper paid a record fee of $ 325 million to own the MLS club. Buying into MLS allows new owners to take a stake in Some United Marketing, which oversees the commercial rights of all MLS.

SUM also regulates the sponsoring, broadcasting, digital and consumer product rights of institutions and promotes Mexican Football Federation contests and CONCACAF’s Gold Cup games in the US.

In 2019, both the Sacramento team and the St. Louis Club, led by Enterprise Holdings Foundation President Caroline Kindle Betz, paid an entry fee of $ 200 million to join the MLS.

Last week, Garber also told CNBC’s “Closing Bell” that MLS is close to allowing private equity financing that “may come into investment with our local teams.”

Garber said the plan could help MLS potentially recover from a $ 1 billion loss due to Kovid-19.

“The game revenue day has not been really impressive for us,” he said. “We’ll get through it, but it definitely has challenges.”

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, MLS returned to play on July 8 with its “MLS Back Tournament” after suspending operations due to an epidemic on 12 July.