SAN ANTONIO - It's the most popular sport in the world, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars for cities in the top tier.
That's just one reason why Major League Soccer looks so appealing for many cities in the United States. MLS has openings for four new cities, and Tuesday was the deadline to submit bids.
Spurs Sports & Entertainment released a video Tuesday, the same day it officially submitted its application to join Major League Soccer. The video is likely just one piece of the bid that MLS officials will see to judge whether or not San Antonio is MLS ready.
January 31, 2017
It highlights the fact that an MLS team in the Alamo City is expected to include a fan base from Austin and all of South Texas.
Politicians are also putting their full support behind the bid.
KENS 5 obtained a copy of a letter recently sent to MLS Commissioner Don Garber. It’s from Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor. It reads, in part:
“Our research (which includes two studies commissioned in 2011 and 2014) has indicated that MLS is the best fit as the next major professional sport to add to our fast-growing community. San Antonio is a great market for professional sports, as demonstrated by the Spurs rankings among the NBA league leaders in ticket sales, sponsorships and TV ratings.”
The ownership group could be key for San Antonio, as MLS will be judging applications based on ownership, a stadium and community support. While San Antonio meets all the credentials, competition is stiff with 11 other cities promising brand new stadiums: Cities like San Diego, Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Indianapolis.
James Hope and Steve Arters are not only San Antonio FC season ticket holders, but they’ve also started a grassroots campaign from the fan-base, pushing its support for MLS. They said the application is just the beginning.
“I think it definitely can happen if we work very hard to make it happen because the other cities are working just as hard as we are,” said Arters.
“I think one of the things to do, is to get out and to be more public. I think it’s important that Spurs Sports and Entertainment and our fans start rallying behind the causes,” said Hope.
The MLS will announce two expansion bids later in 2017. The league is then expected to announce two more spots at a later date.