Wes Edens, the co-founder of Fortress Investment Group, an investment company, has backed a proposal to bring an MLS expansion franchise to Las Vegas. The final decision on which team(s) get the go-ahead for an expansion into MLS was announced in December 2017 or early 2018.
Mr Wes Edens is not new to the world of professional sports. He currently holds minority ownership in the Milwaukee Bucks, an NBA team based out of Wisconsin. In 2014, he purchased a stake in the English soccer organization Aston Villa F.C., also known as “The Villans.”
In December 2017, MLS announced four potential expansion cities: Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Nashville. While many cities are competing for an MLS team, the league said they could announce more finalists in 2018. Las Vegas is competing against Phoenix, Sacramento, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg, Cincinnati, Austin/Texas State Athletics Inc., Indianapolis, Charlotte (North Carolina), and Nashville (Tennessee).
Mr Edens is part of a group that includes Justin Findlay and some members of the Findlay family, who own Findlay Automotive Group. They plan on investing $350 million in private funding for a new stadium, with $215 million towards construction costs and $150 million to boost the MLS team. This would be a really significant investment into MLS, as most new stadiums are being constructed with public funding at present.
Because the city of Las Vegas and Clark County did not vote to spend public money, Mr. Wes Edens said he would be investing $575 million in private funds towards the construction of the stadium, which could seat up to 30,000 people. This means that the city of Las Vegas would not have to pay back any of this money unless the stadium is not completed by 2021.
One of the most affordable MLS stadiums is in Orlando, where they paid $155 million for construction. Steve Arters, who serves as the president of business operations for Atlanta United FC, believes that this is the next stadium to be built in MLS. He also believes that their new stadium, which seats just over 40,000 people, will attract more audiences to see games for a longer period of time.