The Las Vegas Villains could become the newest Major League Soccer franchise when the league expands to 30 teams in 2023.
MLS have been searching for their next expansion side since Sacremento’s bid fizzled out after a major investor pulled out when the pandemic began.
According to multiple reports, a consortium could be ready to pounce by bringing a team to Las Vegas. As reported by Review Journal, the group have already trademarked the name ‘Las Vegas Villains’ in case their bid is successful.
Leading the project are billionaires Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris, who currently co-own Premier League side Aston Villa. Edens also half owns the Milwaukee Bucks who won the NBA Championship recently.
Las Vegas is an attractive proposition for MLS. The recently opened Allegiant Stadium, home to the city’s NFL franchise the Raiders, has a capacity of 61,000 and a stadium-sharing agreement is likely. There is also a captive audience of tourists which could help grow the league’s reputation worldwide.
Las Vegas is not the only city vying for an MLS spot, though. Both San Diego and Phoenix are also thought to be interested. There is no need to make a quick decision with the successful bidders not scheduled to begin competing until the 2023 season.
These expansion plans will take MLS up to 30 teams in total. Most recently Inter Miami, Nashville SC and Austin FC have joined the league, while Charlotte FC and St. Louis City FC will be entering the fray in 2022 and 2023 respectively.
MLS have not ruled out further expansion plans in the future too. Among the cities that could be interested in this are Louisville, Indianapolis and Detroit. Sacramento might resurrect their bid as well, as could any of the three candidates for 2023 expansion that miss out this time around.