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Report: Bill Foley Exploring MLS Expansion Squad for Las Vegas Stadium

Las Vegas Stadium rendering

Las Vegas Stadium is reportedly being eyed as a home for MLS, as the Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that Bill Foley has been in discussions about an expansion squad at the venue.

Currently slated for a 2020 opening, the $1.8 billion Las Vegas Stadium will host the relocating Oakland Raiders, UNLV football, and the annual Las Vegas Bowl, while being positioned as a selling point to bring major events to Las Vegas. It is apparently being explored for MLS as well, as Foley–the owner of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights–has reportedly been in talks about placing an MLS expansion team in the facility.

Foley’s MLS expansion push would be one of two in the mix for a Las Vegas. The other effort, revealed last week, calls for Las Vegas Lights FC (USL Championship) owner Brett Lashbrook to sell control of the Lights to a new investment group led by billionaire hedge-fund manager Seth Klarman of the Boston-based Baupost Group. In turn, the new owners and the city would embark on a plan for a new Las Vegas MLS stadium that would anchor a larger redevelopment of the 62-acre Cashman Field site in downtown Las Vegas.

Any MLS expansion squad at Las Vegas Stadium would act as a tenant, and have to engage in discussions with the Raiders on revenue streams. For his part, Raiders owner Mark Davis is open to considering the idea of MLS at Las Vegas Stadium, seeing it as one way to bolster the facility’s non-football event schedule. More from the Las Vegas-Review Journal:

“We have 365 days a year to fill in the stadium,” Davis said. “We will be using it for eight (regular-season) dates plus, hopefully, all our playoff games. So that leaves around 353, and then there is (UNLV football).

“Major League Soccer and other events would be at the top of our list to help fill those remaining dates. We are open to listening to anything. We owe that to ourselves and the community.”

When asked if the Raiders and Foley had engaged in talks about an MLS franchise playing in the stadium, Davis said: “I’d prefer not to speak about anyone who has approached us.”

A third source told the Review-Journal that Foley could potentially partner with another party — not the Raiders — on the MLS deal.

For MLS, there would be several factors to weigh when considering Las Vegas expansion proposals. The Klarman-led pitch more closely matches some of the league’s traditional facility preferences, as the team would be a primary tenant at a soccer-specific stadium tied to a larger urban redevelopment project. However, Foley’s successful ownership of the Golden Knights could be a point in his favor, and perhaps arrangements could made with the Raiders to make any Las Vegas Stadium MLS plans more intriguing. Sister site Soccer Stadium Digest took a closer look at some of these intricacies.

Rendering courtesy MANICA Architecture.

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