News

Atlanta awarded MLS expansion team

Atlanta awarded MLS expansion team

SOCCER:Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank in the NFL NFC Championship football game in Atlanta, Georgia Jan. 20, 2013. Photo: Reuters/Jeff Haynes

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) – Atlanta has landed a Major League Soccer expansion team that will play beginning in 2017 in the city’s new open-air stadium downtown, officials announced on Wednesday.

Arthur Blank, owner of the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons team and a co-founder of Home Depot Inc. purchased the new franchise, which will be the league’s 22nd team, he told reporters.

“This is an exciting day for Atlanta,” Blank said. “We have been working on soccer for probably over 10 years now. It’s been a dream of ours.”

The Georgia Dome, Atlanta’s current downtown football stadium, is scheduled to be torn down and replaced in 2017 with a $1 billion open-air facility with a retractable roof.

“Downsizing technology” to create a smaller stadium seating plan for soccer fans will be used at the new football stadium, the league said.

No decision on the name of the team has been made, Blank said.

MLS currently has 19 teams in the United States and Canada with two additional teams planned to launch next year in New York and Orlando.

Miami is also vying for a franchise led by David Beckham, the former England, Manchester United and Los Angeles Galaxy star. Last month, Beckham’s group announced a plan for a downtown stadium which has yet to be approved.

The NFL’s Minnesota Vikings have also expressed interest in bringing an MLS franchise to their new football stadium due to open in 2016 and designed to be suitable for soccer.

(Editing by David Adams, G Crosse, Kevin Gray)

Recent Headlines

in Local

Rauner’s Inauguration Committee Announces Concert Lineup

Fresh
Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate businessman Bruce Rauner participates in a Republican gubernatorial candidate debate Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Springfield, Ill. The four Republican gubernatorial candidates said that they’ll be willing to work with unions if elected but differed on how to approach the relationship during a downstate debate that largely focused on pension reform, taxes and just briefly on personal issues that have dogged some of the candidates.

Country star, blues legend part of the festivities

in Local

US Senator Kirk Sounds Alarm in Wake of Sony “Hack Attack”

Fresh
mark-kirk

May ask Sony executives to appear in Washington DC

in Local

No One Injured in Sunday Shootings, Police Looking for Suspects

gun

No one's in custody yet after a pair of shootings on Springfield's east side Sunday afternoon.

in Local

Mayor Houston Releases Proposed Budget Numbers

municipalcenter

Council to begin discussions next month

in Local

Governor Makes Annual Trip to Visit Wounded Illinois Soldiers

Updated
american flag

Also urges others to donate frequent flier miles