Vegas’ MLS dream shattered, Findlay withdraws expansion bid

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Vegas’ MLS dream

Findlay Sports & Entertainment announced on Thursday (February 12) that the group has officially withdrew its bid for a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion franchise in Las Vegas.

The announcement came just hours after the City of Las Vegas decided to discontinue efforts of pursuing a stadium downtown.

“We have worked tirelessly to bring this project to fruition,” said Justin Findlay, managing partner of Findlay Sports & Entertainment in a press release. “While we still feel strongly about the positive impact Major League Soccer would have on the Las Vegas community, at this time we will no longer pursue this project,” he added.

The group thanked Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, city officials and their partners for their support. “We would also like to thank the team at Major League Soccer,” said Findlay. “Of course our biggest regret is to the residents of Southern Nevada, including all the local soccer fans, who have encouraged us throughout this venture.”

The development ends the ambitious dream to bring the MLS to Downtown Vegas. According to media reports, the City of Las Vegas received a letter from MLS Commissioner Don Garber stating that a franchise would not be coming to Vegas for 2017 or even 2018. The door was left open, however, for future consideration.

“Given the timing of our expansion rollout and the uncertainty as to when we might be able to move forward in Las Vegas, we are no longer considering Las Vegas as an expansion market until after 2018,” Garber said in his letter.

Las Vegas officials had green-lighted the building of a $200 million soccer arena near The Smith Center, but it was contingent on the city actually landing a team. A decision to use public funds to help build the stadium wasn’t well received and opponents recently won the right to put the matter before voters in June. An official “no” on a team, however, means the arena — and its surrounding controversy — is dead, too.

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