With the latest transfers of Matuidi and Higuain to Inter Miami, the MLS is looking to continually expand their brand and the league. These players were just two new additions to the list of incredible European talent coming to play overseas in America. This list includes the likes of Wayne Rooney, Thierry Henry, David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and many more. Besides the MLS being a great league for past-prime to come and have fun, the MLS has proven to be of economic interest for states and the US as a whole.
In the past few years, cities including St. Louis, Sacramento, Nashville, and many others have proposed plans to build MLS stadiums in the city, with several succeeding. The result was phenomenal across all areas. This includes new jobs, an increase in innovative and attractive businesses, an increase in revenue, and a massive increase in viewers across the nation. In fact, new MLS teams and stadiums have been the initiative for many city reconstructions, small and large. With the introduction of new stadiums and teams coming all across the nation, the MLS has made millions in profit. Let’s take a look at some of the cities which have been part of the current MLS expansion.
One important city which has been part of MLS expansion from the beginning in St. Louis. In fact, in 2006, former Mayor Francis Slay had begun talks with the MLS to one day bring a soccer team to the Mound City (St. Louis). With official confirmation last year, the St. Louis City SC is expected to be integrated into the MLS starting in 2023. An impact study done by the St. Louis Board of Alderman last year, expects an $8.4 million annual fan revenue, an estimated 340,000 fans coming from outside city limits leading to increased tourism, and over a million dollars going to the city. The need for a team in the city was even requested by state representative Justin Hill, who stated that the “MLS will have a major impact on our ability to attract innovative businesses to the St. Louis area while supporting an already existing demand for professional soccer.” Not only will the St. Louis city team help economically, but it is also the first female-majority-led ownership group in MLS history.
Another city that has paved the way for others is Sacramento. Currently, Sacramento Republic FC plays in the United Soccer League (USL) and is set to join the MLS in 2022. Sacramento’s inclusion in the MLS will come with a new 300 million, 20,100 stadium. Capitol Public Finance Group released its report in which it states that the city’s inclusion into the MLS will be part of a 30-year economic development, generating over 1 billion dollars. In the short run, 1,755 new jobs were created during stadium construction with more coming once operations start, a $2.2 million annual fiscal benefits, and an anticipated 500,000 annual visitors. These numbers are proof of the ongoing MLS expansion and its clear-cut impact on major cities.
Another city that has most definitely reaped the benefits of MLS expansion is Nashville, Tennessee. A study conducted by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville promises mass growth for the city through economic gain. With an estimated 3,572 jobs created during construction, leading to $139.2 million in income for Tennessee workers and business owners. The state of Tennessee will also see a one-time state and local tax revenue of $18.3 million. Keep in mind this is just during the construction phase. During the operations phase, an expected 1,886 will be created, a $77.7 million annual income, and $15.1 million in annual tax revenues. These are numbers for just the first year, with an increase in each set to take place through attendance increase, price increase, and other factors.
Considering that the MLS is just getting started, and new franchises being created with major stars coming to play in the US, the economy is going to get a strong boost. Players including Ronaldo and Messi have feigned interest in one day joining the MLS, which would lead to even more increase in the economy. MLS expansion will undoubtedly help put itself as one of the world’s top leagues, and it will continue to be an influential economic factor across the nation.