MLS President: SC STL the “only contender” for St. Louis expansion team

St. Louis skyline

In an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this week, Major League Soccer President Mark Abbott clarified that prospective MLS ownership group SC STL is the “only contender” for an MLS expansion team in the city of St. Louis.

“We have worked with SC STL for over a year and we vet ownership groups very thoroughly,” Abbott told the paper. “We have great confidence in their commitment and the capacity they have to fulfill their obligations under what’s required by the league.”

A second group, known as Foundry St. Louis, recently made public its intention to make a bid for an expansion team and even proposed $80 million in funding for a new stadium project. But Abbott told the Post-Dispatch that while MLS has had discussion with both prospective ownership groups, Foundry St. Louis "have been very general about ideas they have without any specifics or a plan or anything that really would give us confidence or belief it was something they could execute on or be successful with.”

“I contrast that with the very specific and extensive discussions over the course of the last year that we’ve been having with [SC STL chairman] Paul Edgerley,” continued Abbott. “And his group have given us great confidence in their ability."

SC STL, led by chairman and lead owner Paul Edgerley, formerly of Bain Capital and currently a partner with VantEdge Partners, has proposed a new $200 million stadium project, located just west of Union Station for an MLS expansion team. The group has also proposed acquiring USL team Saint Louis FC, local powerhouse academy St. Louis Scott Gallagher, and Saint Louis FC's current home, World Wide Technology Park, as part of the proposal to join MLS.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber visited St. Louis in May 2015 and is reportedly lining up another visit to St. Louis to discuss expansion prospects in the coming months.