St. Louis appears to have new competition in its bid to secure a Major League Soccer expansion team.
Billionaire Ron Burkle has agreed to buy a controlling interest in Sacramento Republic FC, strengthening Sacramento’s bid to land an MLS franchise. Burkle owns the Pittsburgh Penguins and has previously attempted to purchase the Sacramento Kings.
The acquisition moves Sacramento into competition with cities like St. Louis, Detroit and Phoenix for an expansion franchise. Republic FC currently plays in the United Soccer League, but Burkle’s acquisition could provide the cash necessary to make the team a viable option for MLS.
Burkle has agreed to buy a proposed stadium site and adjacent acreage that would be developed into an entertainment district, The Sacramento Bee reports.
League executives called St. Louis’ bid for an expansion team a front-runner in December and includes plans for a new privately-financed stadium.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch