As soccer continues to grow in the U.S., Las Vegas has thrown its hat into the ring for possible MLS expansion.
MLS commissioner Don Garber said in April that the league would seek to expand to 30 teams, and that slots 28 and 29 are likely to go to Sacramento and St. Louis. With Las Vegas entering the fray, Detroit, Charlotte and Phoenix are the likely contenders for slot number 30.
ESPN reports that negotiations between Renaissance Companies, working on behalf of Baupost Group and the Las Vegas city council could lead to a plan to redevelop a 62-acre site and build a 25,000-seat indoor soccer stadium. Baupost Group chief executive Seth Klarman is a major player in the deal, and has a minority stake in Fenway Sports, which owns Liverpool FC. The city council will vote this week on whether to enter an exclusive negotiating agreement with Renaissance, which could lead to a master development agreement if all goes well.
The site where the new stadium would be developed is currently home to Cashman Field and the USL’s Las Vegas Lights.
Sports architecture firm Populous reportedly already has preliminary designs for the would-be stadium, which call for an engineered ETFE dome similar to the roof at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Building an indoor stadium could help protect fans from the Las Vegas heat, where average daytime temperatures during the summer can surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
“I believe that if we’re going to be in communities like [Las Vegas], we need indoor stadiums,” Garber said at last year’s MLS All-Star Game in Atlanta. “We can’t schedule all of our games at night in every city across the country.”