Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber announced today that St. Louis has been awarded an MLS team. Garber made the announcement at the Palladium St. Louis and was joined by members of the ownership group and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson. “It is with great pride that we welcome St. Louis to Major League Soccer,” said Commissioner Garber. “St. Louis is a city with a rich soccer tradition, and it is a market we have considered since the league’s inception. Our league becomes stronger today with the addition of the city’s deeply dedicated soccer fans, and the committed and innovative local ownership group led by Carolyn Kindle Betz, the Taylor family, and Jim Kavanaugh.” St. Louis will become the 28th team in the league and is expected to begin play in 2022. Miami and Nashville will join in 2020 to expand the league to 26, Austin in 2021 as the 27th team.
St. Louis original bid for a soccer team was unsuccessful when in 2017, city voters defeated a city referendum that would have awarded $60 million in new tax proceeds toward the construction of a new soccer stadium. But in October of 2018, the city’s bid for a team was revived when an ownership group comprised of Enterprise Holding Foundation president Carolyn Kindle Betz, Enterprise Holdings executive chairman Andy Taylor and six female members of the Taylor family, plus World Wide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh presented a proposed which included funding a stadium with almost entirely private funds. According to the ownership group, no tax increment financing or any direct citywide tax investment will be needed to finance the stadium. Only those purchasing tickets and items at the stadium will be paying any tax to fund the stadium. In addition, the team will pay for all stadium maintenance, repair and upkeep. The stadium will be located in the western part of downtown St. Louis. St. Louis is the first female majority-owned club in MLS history, according to MLS.
“Our ownership group has come a long way since we first announced our bid last October at Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club, and it’s an incredible feeling to now be able to say, St. Louis is home to the first official majority female-led ownership group in MLS,” Kindle-Betz said. “Our MLS team and stadium will only add to St. Louis’ renaissance currently underway and will provide us with a great opportunity to bring together many different segments of the community, uniting people in their love for the game.”
Next item of business: a team name. . .