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Nashville stadium approval boosts MLS hopes

Plans to bring a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team to Nashville have been boosted by the city’s Metro Council decision to approve a $275 million stadium project.

The approval of the stadium project puts Nashville in a strong position to secure one of the two expansion slots that MLS will award in mid-December.

The stadium would be built on a portion of the city’s fairgrounds, and includes a funding package of $225 million in the form of revenue bonds.

The MLS stadium plan integrates the new stadium with the existing Metro masterplan for the fairgrounds.

Stadium funding would come from a combination of three sources: $200 million in revenue bonds, $25 million in cash from the MLS ownership group, and $25 million in Metro general obligation bonds to pay for public infrastructure associated with the stadium.

Twelve locations expressed have interest in an expansion franchises. Two winning bids are expected to be announced in December, bringing the league to 26 teams, with two additional teams to be added in the future.

MLS expanded to 22 teams this season with the addition of Atlanta United FC and Minnesota United FC. LAFC, which replaces the now-defunct Chivas USA, joins next year. Miami’s expansion effort, led by David Beckham, would bring the league to 24.

In addition to Nashville the other areas that submitted bids for an expansion team include: Cincinnati, Detroit, San Antonio, Sacramento, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.