Atlanta United fans cheer before an MLS game against at Columbus Crew at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in Atlanta. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL
Photo: Branden Camp
Photo: Branden Camp

MLS announces 4 expansion finalists

Atlanta United may soon have an MLS neighbor.

The league released the four finalists for its next two expansion franchises and Nashville, some 200 miles away, was included with Cincinnati, Detroit and Sacramento.

Atlanta United will play Nashville SC, the USL team, in February.

The two winning bids are expected to be announced by the end of the year. The leaders of the four groups will make presentations to the league on Dec. 6. 

Here is info on the groups from the release sent by the league:

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

Cincinnati: Carl H. Lindner III – Co-CEO of American Financial Group and Owner, Chairman and CEO of FC Cincinnati; Scott Farmer - CEO of Cintas Corporation.

Nashville: John Ingram – Chairman of Ingram Industries Inc. and CEO Nashville Soccer Holdings; Wilf Family – owners of the Minnesota Vikings; Turner Family – Managing Partners of MarketStreet Enterprises.

Sacramento: Kevin Nagle – Managing Partner of Sac Soccer & Entertainment Holdings and Minority Owner of the Sacramento Kings. Jed York – CEO of the San Francisco Forty-Niners. Mark Friedman – President of Fulcrum Property Group and Minority Owner of the Sacramento Kings, and other limited partners.

“The leaders of the Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento MLS expansion ownership groups have bold visions and innovative plans for their clubs, stadiums and their involvement in their respective communities,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in the release. “We are pleased these highly-respected business and sports leaders have been so determined to bring Major League Soccer to their cities. We have been greatly encouraged by the progress that all four of these groups have made and we are looking forward to their presentations.”
The four finalists are from a group of 12 cities that expressed interest in becoming one of the four expansion winners. The remaining two winners will be announced next year. Those cities and groups that weren’t finalists for the two spots that will be announced within a month will be considered for the two spots that will be announced next year. 

Atlanta United and Minnesota United started play in the 2017 season. LAFC will begin play in 2018. 

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