(WJBK) - Major League Soccer announced Wednesday that Detroit is one of four finalists competing for two expansion team slots expected to be announced before the end of the year.
Detroit, Cincinnati, Nashville and Sacramento will make formal presentations on Dec. 6 before the MLS Expansion Committee and Commissioner Don Garber in New York.
The Motor City's bid is being led by Quicken Loans Founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert and Detroit Pistons and Founder Tom Gores. In early November, the Ford family announced their support and offered Ford Field as a venue.
As part of the league's expansion to 28 teams, the four cities were among 12 that submitted bids for expansion slots in January. The other eight markets were Charlotte, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa/St. Petersburg.
"Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores, together with the Ford family, create a powerhouse group that is unprecedented in professional sports and secures a perfect stadium location in the heart of Detroit’s central business and sports and entertainment districts," said Arn Tellem, who is leading the bid process with MLS officials. "Sports franchises have a unique ability to unite and inspire people. Bringing a team downtown will further energize Detroit’s urban core and impact the community both on and off the field.”
While only these four cities are under consideration for the next two teams, the remaining markets are still being evaluated for the other two expansion teams, which will be announced at a later date.
"The leaders of the Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento MLS expansion ownership groups have bold visions and innovative plans for their clubs, stadiums and their involvement in their respective communities," Commissioner Garber said in a statement. "We are pleased these highly-respected business and sports leaders have been so determined to bring Major League Soccer to their cities. We have been greatly encouraged by the progress that all four of these groups have made and we are looking forward to their presentations."