News

Atlanta awarded MLS expansion team

Atlanta awarded MLS expansion team

SOCCER:Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank in the NFL NFC Championship football game in Atlanta, Georgia Jan. 20, 2013. Photo: Reuters/Jeff Haynes

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) – Atlanta has landed a Major League Soccer expansion team that will play beginning in 2017 in the city’s new open-air stadium downtown, officials announced on Wednesday.

Arthur Blank, owner of the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons team and a co-founder of Home Depot Inc. purchased the new franchise, which will be the league’s 22nd team, he told reporters.

“This is an exciting day for Atlanta,” Blank said. “We have been working on soccer for probably over 10 years now. It’s been a dream of ours.”

The Georgia Dome, Atlanta’s current downtown football stadium, is scheduled to be torn down and replaced in 2017 with a $1 billion open-air facility with a retractable roof.

“Downsizing technology” to create a smaller stadium seating plan for soccer fans will be used at the new football stadium, the league said.

No decision on the name of the team has been made, Blank said.

MLS currently has 19 teams in the United States and Canada with two additional teams planned to launch next year in New York and Orlando.

Miami is also vying for a franchise led by David Beckham, the former England, Manchester United and Los Angeles Galaxy star. Last month, Beckham’s group announced a plan for a downtown stadium which has yet to be approved.

The NFL’s Minnesota Vikings have also expressed interest in bringing an MLS franchise to their new football stadium due to open in 2016 and designed to be suitable for soccer.

(Editing by David Adams, G Crosse, Kevin Gray)

Recent Headlines

in Music

10 of the most memorable MTV Video Music Awards moments

mileycyrusvma

Since debuting in 1984, the MTV Video Music Awards have prided themselves on being a stage for all things hip - and often - controversial.

in Music

This week’s top country tracks

Zac Brown as Zac Brown Band performs during Music Midtown 2014 at Piedmont Park on Saturday, Sep. 20, 2014, in Atlanta.

LISTEN: This week's top country tracks, according to the latest Billboard chart.

in Entertainment

‘Siri, can you give me a hint?’ Apple confirms September event

16-overlay14

The rumors are true: Apple will host an event Sept. 9 in San Francisco.

in Viral Videos

This is one way to get a tan

10-overlay22

It's summer and the beaches are packed - so this guy got some private sunbathing time while sky high.

in Entertainment

Netflix drug drama ‘Narcos’ blurs line between cartels, agents

11-overlay7

Not all cops are good guys and not all drug suppliers are obvious villains in the dark drug drama "Narcos," a bilingual examination of the history of cocaine smuggling in America and its most menacing supplier.