MLS Expands Expansion … San Diego Hopes Still Alive

Major League Soccer wants to reach 30 teams instead of 28

While we wait to see if San Diego State can, indeed, finance and build a new 35,000 seat stadium in Mission Valley (and the folks involved with the project still believe they can have something completed by 2022) there is still a lingering hope that a Major League Soccer franchise can call the fresh facility home.

MLS is doing all it can to keep the San Diego door open.

Major League Soccer was on a quest to expand to 28 franchises and hoped San Diego would be one of them. Then SDSU West beat Soccer City at the ballot box, a result that put MLS to San Diego on life support but did not kill it altogether.

This week MLS announced a desire to expand to 30 teams and the reason is simple:

America’s top professional soccer entity is dying to be in America's Finest City.

By 2021 there will be 27 teams up and running. Major League Soccer has told two more cities, Sacramento and St. Louis, to prepare formal presentations so those markets are clearly front-runners to be awarded a franchise (possibly by July of this year).

If both receive a franchise then that leaves one more spot to get to 30 and you have to believe that if there is any chance for that new stadium to house a team it's going to happen.

SDSU Athletic Director J.D. Wicker has stated he is open to having other sporting entities play in the proposed stadium, including an MLS franchise. But like everything else in San Diego sports and politics it’s not that easy.

Expansion fees for the next two franchises to join the league are set at $200 million. That’s a big chunk of money to swallow if the owner is also paying rent without the possibility to make revenue off other events held in its stadium.

Unless SDSU is willing to agree to some kind of revenue sharing with the MLS franchise owners it’s going to be extremely difficult to convince anyone to bring a new team into the stadium if it’s ever built.

Also keep in mind since the 2018 election there is no publicly known person or group that wants to own a new franchise and take on the role of championing the MLS to San Diego cause.

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