At halftime of yesterday’s Major League Soccer All-Star Game. viewers were expecting Commissioner Don Garber to discuss the league and provide updates. What many viewers may not have been prepared for was the announcements of the league’s expansion plans. You can now expect MLS to have twenty four teams by year 2020.
Recent weeks have been filled with news of a new stadium in D.C. and stadium construction delays in San Jose, as well as ownership changes in Columbus. Even earlier this year, the league’s twentieth franchise was announced – New York City Football Club – and then we were all advised it was time to “take a deep breath.“
Despite the constant barrage of expansion rumors involving Orlando and Miami, some may have taken Garber’s words for face value. During Garber’s live Q&A session held on Twitter on Monday, he hinted that expansion – both timing and number of teams – was on the agenda at Wednesday’s Board of Governors meeting.
As MLS enters a period of accelerated growth, the addition of new teams will allow us to expand our geographic coverage, grow our fan base and help us achieve our vision of being among the best leagues in the world by 2022.
MLS has grown significantly in recent years – ten new franchises since 2005 including two of the league’s most successful clubs, Portland and Seattle. On that topic, Garber commented,
These expansion clubs have brought new ideas that have contributed to our strategy for growing the league and the addition of new markets has expanded our geographic reach while increasing our fan base.
Expansion to twenty four clubs with make Major League Soccer as the largest professional league in the world. It will also ensure that the league maintains its unbalanced regular season schedule with the majority of matches focused on regional competition and rivalries.