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Nashville Expected To Win MLS Expansion Team

Nashville Expected To Win MLS Expansion Team
A preliminary rendering of a planned MLS stadium in Nashville, designed by HOK

Major League Soccer officials are coming to Nashville on Wednesday, and they are expected to announce the city has won a new expansion franchise, the Tennessean reports. The event will cap Nashville's unexpected rise from long shot to leading contender for the team.

Nashville is one of four finalists for the team. The other three are Cincinnati, Detroit and Sacramento.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will be on hand for the announcement late in the afternoon Wednesday at the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

The lead investor of the expansion effort, billionaire John Ingram, will also be on hand.

Ingram has made a strong push for the team — especially by bringing in the Wilf family, owner of the Minnesota Vikings, as minority owners — and being instrumental in securing public funding for a $275M soccer stadium at the city's fairgrounds.

Nashville's reputation as a boom town probably helped bring the city to the attention of MLS.

The exact timetable of the team's formation has not yet been determined, although the MLS wants two new teams active by the 2020 season. That would be in addition to the team that is already forming in Miami, MLS' 24th franchise.

The stadium project will include a 10-acre mixed-use development on fairgrounds land with restaurants, bars and a hotel.