Major League Soccer has been making headlines again—but this time, it’s for something beneficial! The League is looking to expand their reach, adding two franchises in 2020 and another two franchises in 2022. Currently, the location of these franchises has yet to be announced. However, as the October presentation for League bids approaches, one thing can be said for sure—Detroit wants to be in the running! Arn Tellem, Vice Chairman of the Detroit Pistons, is the kingpin of this campaign. He believes bringing the League to Detroit will have a positive effect on the city, but also, that Detroit will have an impact on the League, too.
Prepped and rearing to go, Tellem has already crafted his list of points to lay before MLS commissioner Don Garber and league representatives at the October meeting. His points cover Michigan’s rising appetite for soccer, Detroit’s favorable demographics with a young fan base, and MLS’ attraction to inner cities to grow and diversify the game. “There is a real desire from the MLS to develop players from the inner city, as they try to broaden their game and make it more diverse in the states,” Tellem stated Wednesday in an interview.
While there is some local opposition to the idea of bringing an MLS franchise to the Motor City, Tellem insists it can only be favorable to the community—particularly younger fans of the sport. The MLS franchise is a package deal giving the area a soccer facility, practice facility, and a youth academy featuring afterschool programs. Currently, several major groups have submitted bids to win the franchise rights, including Pistons owner Tom Gore and Quicken Loans founder and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Currently, the expansion fee for the 2020 winning bid will be $150 million.