MLS to postpone launchings of 3 growth franchises due to coronavirus

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MLS to delay debuts of 3 expansion franchises due to coronavirus

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MLS Commissioner Don Garber, left, and Charlotte MLS owner David Tepper reveal that Major League Soccer will be concerning Charlotte in 2021 at an occasion in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019.

Nell Redmond | AP

Major League Soccer is back, however inbound cities will need to wait longer for brand-new groups to show up due to Covid-19.

The MLS revealed Friday it would postpone the start of 3 of its 4 growth franchises: St. Louis, Sacramento and Charlotte. The Charlotte group was just recently bought by Panthers owner David Tepper.

Originally set up to show up in 2021, Tepper’s franchise will now debut in 2022. The club in St. Louis and the Sacramento Republic FC will begin play in the 2023 season, a year after both clubs were anticipated to get in. The MLS’ Austin FC franchise will still begin in 2021, the league stated. 

The choices were authorized by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, who stated in a declaration the hold-ups would assist the clubs “make up for what has been a challenging 2020” due to Covid-19 shutdowns throughout sports.

“These teams will be well-positioned for their debuts and for long-term success,” he stated in the declaration. “It’s important for each club to take the necessary time to launch their inaugural MLS seasons the way their fans and communities deserve.”

In December, Tepper paid a record $325 million entry charge to own an MLS club. Buying into the MLS likewise enables brand-new owners to take a stake in Sum United Marketing, which supervises all the MLS’ business rights. 

AMOUNT likewise manages sponsorship, broadcasting, digital and customer item rights of the entities and manages the promo of the Mexican Football Federation contests and CONCACAF’s Gold Cup video games in the U.S.

In 2019, both the Sacramento group and the St. Louis club paid a $200 million entry charge to sign up with MLS. The Sacramento group’s financiers are headed by billionaire Ron Burkle, and the St. Louis group is led by Carolyn Kindle Betz, president of the Enterprise Holdings Foundation.

Last week, Garber likewise informed CNBC’s “Closing Bell” the MLS was close to permitting personal equity funding that “could come into investing with our local teams.” 

Garber stated the strategy might assist MLS recuperate from a possibly $1 billion loss due to Covid-19.

“Not having day-of-game revenues have been really impactful for us,” he stated. “We’ll get through this, but it has had challenges for sure.”

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the MLS went back to use July 8 with its “MLS is Back Tournament” after suspending operations due to the pandemic on March 12.

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