Detroit has been named one of four finalist cities for two Major League Soccer expansion teams.
The MLS Board of Governors, with representatives from each current team, will meet on December 14 to discuss the final presentations and a decision on the two expansion teams will be made before the end of the year. According to Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, who played a lead role in this plan, MLS officials had even encouraged the county and city to purchase the $18 million Toyota Field stadium in 2015, on the assumption that San Antonio would soon have a national soccer franchise.
Experts had similarly said that a lack of support from the city could weigh on Charlotte's chances of landing a team.
"Partnering with the Ford family bolsters our powerhouse group and provides a ideal stadium solution in the heart of Detroit's central business and sports and entertainment districts", Detroit Pistons Vice Chair Arn Tellem said in a release.
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The plan to use Ford Field now erases Gilbert's plan for the soccer stadium on the site of the failed Wayne County Gratiot Jail site. "Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores, together with the Ford family, create a powerhouse group that is unprecedented in professional sports and secures a ideal stadium location in the heart of Detroit's central business and sports and entertainment districts. Bringing a team downtown will further energize Detroit's urban core and impact the community both on and off the field".
Ford Field underwent more than $100 million in renovations before the 2017-18 National Football League season, which they believe will help grow soccer and benefit the community.
Though Wednesday may been seen as a setback in Phoenix Rising FC's journey to becoming a major league team, a tweet from Phoenix Rising's Vice President of Marketing and Sales Sam Doerr makes the franchise seem hopeful.
"This is the moment we've all been waiting for", Nagle said.