Sacramento secures MLS franchise

Sacramento has been awarded a Major League Soccer franchise, which will enter the competition in May 2022 and play at a new $300m (£232m/€269m) stadium.

Sacramento Republic, which currently plays in the United Soccer League, will become MLS’s 29th team in 2022. The club’s new stadium will have a capacity of 20,100 and serve as the centrepiece of a wider project that will also include housing, retail, theatres, parks, museums, a hotel and a major medical centre.

The club’s ownership group includes lead investor Ron Burkle, who also owns the Pittsburgh Penguins NHL ice hockey team; entertainment executive and producer Matt Alvarez; and Sacramento Kings investor Kevin Nagle.

Sacramento Republic currently plays at the 11,000-seat Papa Murphy’s Park. In April, the club revealed revised plans for its new 20,100-seat stadium, with additional updates to the design expanding on the shovel-ready proposal developed and enabled under Nagle.

The new features of the stadium included a 360-degree concourse pedestrian walkway, new canopy-level seating on the west side of the venue and expanded field-level seating options.

The club has previously announced that current season ticket holders would receive priority if it joined MLS, which prompted commitments for more than 10,000 season tickets for the proposed MLS franchise.

MLS commissioner Don Garber said: “Major League Soccer continues to grow throughout North America and we are so proud to welcome Sacramento as our newest team.

“For many years, soccer fans in Sacramento have passionately supported Republic FC and shown that the club deserves to be competing at the highest level. Thanks to the determined efforts and commitment of new owners Ron Burkle and Matt Alvarez along with the leadership of Mayor Darren Steinberg, Sacramento will join MLS with a world-class soccer stadium that will transform the sport in California’s capital.”

Sacramento Republic will become the fourth MLS club in California, joining LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles FC.

MLS currently has 24 teams, with Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC to join in 2020, followed by Austin FC a year later. Sacramento Republic will be joined by a St. Louis-based team in 2022.

Image: Sacramento Republic