Major League Soccer has confirmed that prospective expansion bids from St. Louis and Charlotte made presentations to the league's expansion committee on Monday.
The league currently sits at 24 teams for the ongoing season with FC Cincinnati the latest club to join the league. That number will jump to 27 over the next two years, though, with Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC set to begin play in 2020, while Austin FC will take the field in 2021.
MLS has stated that the league intends to reach 30 teams with the likes of Sacramento, St. Louis, Charlotte, Phoenix, Detroit, Las Vegas and Raleigh considered among the candidates for the final three positions.
St. Louis and Sacramento are the two groups that the commissioner's office has authorized to advance discussions.
Charlotte, meanwhile, features a bid led by Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper, who also visited MLS's offices on Monday to provide an update on their bid.
“Today the ownership group representing St. Louis’ Major League Soccer expansion bid made a formal presentation to the MLS expansion committee and league executives in New York City,” the league said in a statement. “We had a productive meeting with the St. Louis group and look forward to continuing our discussions with them.”
The statement added: “In addition [to the St. Louis visit], representatives from Charlotte’s MLS expansion bid visited MLS’s offices today to provide an update. Major League Soccer also continues to work closely with the ownership group representing Sacramento’s expansion bid, and we expect to meet again soon.
“The ownership groups from Charlotte, Las Vegas, Sacramento, St. Louis and other potential expansion markets are scheduled to attend MLS All-Star week festivities later this month in Orlando.”
The St. Louis ownership group, led by led by Andy Taylor and Carolyn Kindle Betz of Enterprise Holdings and Jim Kavanaugh, CEO of World Wide Technology, made a formal presentation to league executives on Tuesday after releasing renderings for a planned 22,500-capacity stadium in April.
“We want to thank Major League Soccer and the expansion committee for the opportunity to share our ownership group’s vision for an MLS team in St. Louis,” said Betz in a statement. “We’re confident our proposal puts St. Louis in the best position to bring MLS to America’s first soccer capital.”