The man heading that city’s bid, pharmaceutical executive Kevin Nagle, released an open letter acknowledging concerns and said Republic FC has “pledged to do whatever it takes to address and resolve these questions.”
With Nashville winning an MLS expansion franchise Wednesday, Sacramento and FC Cincinnati were seen as the leading candidates for the remaining one, with Detroit considered a longshot.
Nagle wrote that he’s “willing to be open and flexible in order to attract the right partners,” including “another major investor or investors.”
None of the minority partners connected to the bid, including billionaire Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman, is thought to be a candidate to take on the lead role, Sports Illustrated’s Brian Straus reported Thursday.
Republic FC also will seek to add additional minority partners, Nagle wrote.
“No question, this will be a tall task,” he added. “And we will need to move quickly to remain competitive for the next expansion slot. But if ever there was a community that can dig deep and persevere, it’s Sacramento …. We are so close to our goal. Our bid fundamentals remain extremely strong. We know exactly what we need to do. And Commissioner Garber remains confident that Sacramento is MLS ready.”
As for FC Cincinnati, Straus raised more doubt as to whether the club or MLS prefers the announced Oakley site for its planned stadium. While SI reported there still are a couple of final details to confirm on the Oakley deal, it also said “there’s no assurance that [Oakley] is even the league or FCC’s first choice. Potential sites closer to the urban core in the West End area and across the Ohio River in Newport, Kentucky, also have been identified.”
Miami, which has been promised a team since 2015, looks close to winning formal approval, Straus reported. Miami had been slotted to be the 24th MLS franchise, but Commissioner Don Garber gave that number to Nashville.
Garber said the league hasn't decided when the new teams will start playing. The expansion teams had been slotted for 2020.
MLS confirmed Thursday morning that the second expansion award will be announced after the holidays.