Now that the Super Bowl is done Jonathan Kraft, the son of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, will turn his attention to the family’s other business, Major League Soccer and that league’s expansion process.
Jonathan Kraft, whose family owns the New England Revolution, will begin the review of the 12 applications that Major League Soccer has received to see if any of the proposals work well enough to fill four slots that have been allocated for the expansion. That would take the number of teams in a league that probably has not made any money in its two-decade existence to 28.
Kraft will look at paperwork from investors from the following cities: Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Nashville, Phoenix, Raleigh, Sacramento, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa.
Charlotte has become somewhat worrisome from a political standpoint. It seems getting public money for a stadium may be a problem. The same could hold true for St. Louis investors. Nashville elected officials are scrambling to put together a publicly funded soccer stadium proposal.
The San Diego bid comes after the city could not reach an agreement with the Spanos family to build a new National Football League state of the art facility for the Spanos business. Dean Spanos took his team to the Los Angeles market. That could be a negative for Kraft as his committee goes through the applications. There is another element to the San Diego bid. San Diego MLS backers think they can get customers who will cross the border from nearby Tijuana, Mexico. The San Diego group also estimates about 6,000 people from the San Diego market go to Tijuana home games in a Mexican soccer league.
The first two expansion teams might be granted by year’s end and start play in 2020. A potential owner rush is on to enter a league that has not shown a profit.
By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.