SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The deal to bring Major League Soccer to Sacramento is dead, with MLS appearing to have moved on.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber answered several questions regarding the next team to join the league when he talked about the latest on the expansions — but not once did he mention Sacramento.
“We’re making progress, as has been announced or leaked in Las Vegas,” Garber said. “We’re excited about the market. I want to point out that we are still in discussions with other markets, both Phoenix and San Diego.”
It’s a complete 180-degree turn away from MLS’s stance just 10 months ago when Sacramento and Republic FC lost Ron Burkle’s backing. Burkle pulled out of the deal, citing issues with the proposed new stadium at the Railyards.
At the time, Garber said in a statement that “the League continues to believe it (Sacramento) can be a great MLS market.” The team reaffirmed its commitment to finding another billionaire investor to help bring a team to the region.
“We have a shovel-ready stadium project site, an agreement with the City. All those things are in place and that work has been done so, the sooner we can secure that investor the sooner we’re going to be playing in Major League Soccer,” President and General Manager of Republic FC Todd Dunivant said.
But again, that was then.
“I’m just blown away with what’s going on in Las Vegas, and I’ve been in the sports business for a really long time and I didn’t see it coming. We’re very bullish about the market and we’ll continue to plow forward,” Garber said.
So, where does that leave Sacramento?
Republic FC, the mayor’s office, LDK Ventures and the developers for the Railyards project all refused multiple requests from FOX40 for comment.
FOX40, however, did learn from a reliable source the working plan is now for Republic FC to move forward and continue playing in the United Soccer League.
In doing so, the team is still planning on building a new stadium at the Railyards, but it will be a 14,000-seat stadium instead of one with 20,000 seats.
There is no timetable for construction since the path to paying for it changed when Burkle left the deal.
Meanwhile, Sacramento remains a passionate soccer market — even though the chances of bringing an MLS team anytime soon appear to be almost zero.
“I will say to the group here that we don’t have any plans to expand beyond the 30 teams at this point, but like everything else, life is a long time,” Garber said.