MLS provides updates on St. Louis, Charlotte, Sacramento expansion bids

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Major League Soccer provided updates on several expansion bids on Monday, including the news that the prospective MLS expansion bid from St. Louis made a formal presentation to the league's expansion committee.

“Today the ownership group representing St. Louis’ Major League Soccer expansion bid made a formal presentation to the MLS expansion committee and league executives in New York City,” the league said in a statement. “We had a productive meeting with the St. Louis group and look forward to continuing our discussions with them.”

The St. Louis ownership group, led by led by Andy Taylor and Carolyn Kindle Betz of Enterprise Holdings and Jim Kavanaugh, CEO of World Wide Technology, is one of several vying to join MLS as the league expands to 30 teams. In April, the group revealed renderings for a planned 22,500-capacity stadium in the West Downtown neighborhood of the city, and was one of two groups — along with Sacramento — with which the Commissioner's office was authorized to advance discussions.

“We want to thank Major League Soccer and the expansion committee for the opportunity to share our ownership group’s vision for an MLS team in St. Louis,” said Carolyn Kindle Betz in a statement following Monday's meeting. “We’re confident our proposal puts St. Louis in the best position to bring MLS to America’s first soccer capital.”

In addition to the bid from St. Louis, a group from the Charlotte bid led by Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper also visited MLS's offices on Monday to provide an update on their bid.

“In addition [to the St. Louis visit], representatives from Charlotte’s MLS expansion bid visited MLS’s offices today to provide an update,” continued the league's statement. “Major League Soccer also continues to work closely with the ownership group representing Sacramento’s expansion bid, and we expect to meet again soon.

“The ownership groups from Charlotte, Las Vegas, Sacramento, St. Louis and other potential expansion markets are scheduled to attend MLS All-Star week festivities later this month in Orlando.”

There are 24 teams currently competing in the 2019 MLS regular season, with three more set to join the league in the next two years. Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC will begin play in 2020, while Austin FC will begin play in 2021, leaving three spots to be determined.