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Minnesota Vikings “stepping up” bid for MLS franchise

Apr 16, 2014, 8:57 AM EDT

Vikings Stadium Football AP

Talks surrounding Major League Soccer’s 24th franchise are beginning to heat up considerably, as the mad scramble for a slice of MLS’ pie is reaching fever-pitch.

With Atlanta set to be announced as MLS’ 23rd franchise on Wednesday afternoon now other markets wanting to become the 24th franchise, which MLS Commissioner Don Garber previously said would be the limit for the foreseeable future, Minneapolis-St. Paul seems to be right at the front of the list.

According to reports out of the Twin Cities, the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings are “stepping up” their bid to bring MLS to the land of 10,000 lakes.

The Vikings’ vice president of public affairs, Lester Bagley, said the team are working to secure an MLS expansion franchise to play in their new downtown Minneapolis stadium, which is set to open in 2016.

“We’ve been stepping up our conversations with the MLS,” Bagley said. “There are definitely others interested in the market.”

Other interested parties include Bill McGuire, owner of the NASL’s Minnesota United and the Minnesota Twins ownership group who have teamed up to try and bring MLS to Minnesota, in a separate bid to the one proposed by the Vikings.

However with New York City FC and Atlanta both expected to play in large venues scaled down for soccer, it seems as though having an MLS team play in the Vikings’ new home wouldn’t be an issue for the league.

The race for franchise number 24 is well and truly on and Minnesota looks to be way ahead of the rest.

  1. vtravi00 - Apr 16, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    I can’t believe mls is going back to playing in football stadiums. A SS stadium should be require gorgeous an mls team. I know that is not easy (looking at you nycfc) but I think it is vital. We will see with Atlanta ny and now minn.

    • kirielson - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      Eh, I would bank more on Minnesota United getting it because they at least have a team together and are really interested in giving Garber what he wants.

    • talgrath - Apr 16, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      What if you create a dual-purpose field? If I recall correctly, the Atlanta stadium is supposed to have a sort of roll-out grass surface so that you can have both grass and turf. Also, teaming with NFL teams has worked out awfully well for the Sounders, Timbers and Whitecaps, so I think the league has softened their stance on the soccer-specific stadium bit.

      • hippiedippyweatherman - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:22 PM

        The Timbers play in their own stadium. The downsizing system in Atlanta will be similar to but probably slightly better than what the Whitecaps have at BC Place. I think they’re also looking into a hybrid turf system like what some European soccer teams have.

      • talgrath - Apr 17, 2014 at 7:58 PM

        Sorry, I was incorrect in that the Timbers and Whitecaps didn’t team up with NFL football teams…they did however team up with football teams. The Whitecaps host CFL teams, while the Timbers share the field with the Portland State University Vikings football team (so no, the Timbers don’t have the field just to themselves). My point was that all three teams share their fields with football teams.

  2. keytoarson - Apr 16, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    MN resident here… Not one part of me wants the Wilfs to own an MLS franchise in Minnesota and play second fiddle to the Vikings. Let alone playing in a 60K stadium.

    Here’s to hoping Bill McGuire wins the bid.

    • hippiedippyweatherman - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      I’d take just about anybody over the Wilfs but MN United is a wonderful organization and the plan for a SSS in the Farmer’s Market looks fantastic. I’m really rooting for them. Gonna be tough to get that stadium approved though. Fingers crossed.

  3. keytoarson - Apr 16, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Just looked it up.. the new stadium capacity is 72K. Was just guessing before but either way, vtravi00 is right, SSS should be a requirement for a franchise to be granted.

  4. mnjoemama - Apr 16, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    Use the name that finished second in Wild voting . “Minnesota Northern Lights” !

  5. geojock - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    Looks like MLS is on an out of control expansion train. If you have the money, you can have a franchise. MLS will contract back down to 20 teams in 2020.

    • kirielson - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      Not really. If you notice their expansions, they’ve been in mass media markets, and that’s what they need to thrive and survive.

  6. danielk1 - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    I just visited Minneapolis on business a couple of months ago. I went a couple days early to check out the city over the weekend and caught a Premier League game at one of their pubs. It was a blast! The people there were very excited about their soccer. The city is awesome and I could definitely see them embracing a local team. I’m rooting for you, Minnesota, even if it will be on astrodturf in an American Football stadium.

  7. drewvt6 - Apr 16, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    Minnesota United has a beautiful logo. I know a team name of the loons wouldn’t go over well but you don’t necessarily need a team mascot in the name anymore.

    • krazymunky - Apr 16, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      love their jerseys

    • hippiedippyweatherman - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:27 PM

      I like the nickname. It’s more like a true nickname like many European clubs have (Liverpool are the “Reds” for example). I think they should keep at least in an unofficial capacity.

  8. jollyjoker2 - Apr 16, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    hey, now ziggy can try to get more tobacco money from all you anti smoking crowd portray as evil to humanity.

  9. chadmoon1 - Apr 16, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    It is time for Garber to go. He is capitulating to the NFL just to fill dates in their stadiums. If Minnasota is really the way to go, then it should be to a soccer group playing in a soccer stadium. San Antonio and San Diego should have been brought in before Atlanta and Miami.

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