- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On August 4, 2014
- 2 Comments
I keep saying it but it is worth saying again, this expansion race is red-hot. It is contested. It continues to evolve. And most importantly, it continues to get more eyeballs from across the country.
We talked about the race in Minnesota last week but now it is time to go back to the west coast with Sacramento for an update on their end. That is how this will continue to be. One group releases an update, the others follow suit.
While the Sacramento Republic FC is setting attendance records in the USL, their ownership group could be expanding. The NBA’s Kings are looking more and more like they are wanting to invest in this group’s expansion hopes according to the Sacramento Bee.
There is no agreement in place yet between the Kings and the Republic, but the Kings owners are interested in the idea of investing in the franchise and elevating it to the level of Major League Soccer, America’s premier soccer league, according to sources with knowledge of the talks. They declined to speak publicly because the deal isn’t completed.
This week, Kings President Chris Granger will travel to Portland to meet with MLS officials along with current Republic owner Warren Smith. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is also expected to attend the meeting, scheduled for Wednesday.
A source close to Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive said he sees soccer as a “tremendous opportunity for a larger vision of growth in Sacramento.” Soccer also fits with Ranadive’s interest of investing in sports that can create excitement not only locally but also internationally.
To me that is huge. I’ve been saying the same about Sacramento’s chances since the start that if they get the right amount of money involved on the ownership side, that things could take off for them. Not to mention getting the local government support for a new stadium is also big and worth looking at going forward as well. The motto continues to be from MLS that if you get a good stadium in an urban environment with the right ownership group that they will listen.
Sacramento already has one positive in their court, the fan support. Seeing as how they have shown up so far, that is good. MLS is taking note of that and continues to be impressed from what I’ve been told about their first season in the USL PRO.
Again, this expansion race is very hot. Everyone is wanting to put their best foot forward while MLS sits back and enjoys them fight over their attention.