The Major League Soccer-to-St. Louis bandwagon picked up a little bit of steam on Wednesday, when Missouri Governor Jay Nixon told reporters that he’s scheduled to talk with MLS Commissioner Don Garber this week about a potential expansion franchise for St. Louis.
Nixon, who indicated that any decision on MLS expanding to St. Louis is far off, said that Garber sent him a letter expressing the league’s interest in St. Louis following the NFL’s decision to relocate the Rams to Los Angeles.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Garber said in his letter, which was dated Friday, that he was surprised and disappointed by the Rams’ departure and that he’s committed to exploring the possibility of placing an expansion team in St. Louis.
“I look forward to working with you, your staff and local leaders to explore ownership candidates and to investigate viable stadium solutions to bring MLS to St. Louis,” Garber said in the letter, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Nixon said that he’d need to look into the economics of expansion before committing to MLS. He didn’t offer any details about who might be involved in a potential expansion bid or where a stadium might be built.
“I don’t want to go into the details until I have a chance to talk directly with the commissioner, other than to say that with the finances involved with an MLS team, it opens up that opportunity to a much broader array of people [than the NFL].”
A longtime US soccer hotbed, St. Louis has repeatedly been mentioned as a potential destination for MLS. Garber discussed the prospect of expanding to the city in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl at the SuperDraft earlier this month, telling him that the league has always had interest in St. Louis.
“St. Louis has been on our radar screen as long as the league’s been in existence. We’ve never been able to find the right investor, we’ve never been able to find the right stadium solution. We know that there’s a stadium possibility – whether or not that’s an MLS possibility [is] still to be seen,” Garber said, referencing the proposed NFL stadium that would’ve been built in St. Louis with public support had the Rams stayed in the city.
“We know that there’s support for a facility in a great location and we’ve had discussions with those that were part of that project about bringing MLS to town. So the fact that there’s one fewer pro team there I think is a positive for our league as it relates to St. Louis.”