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MLS Announces Nashville Event Where it's Expected to Accept Expansion Bid

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Major League Soccer is coming to the music city.

The league all but confirmed Tuesday morning that the Nashville bid fronted by billionaire John Ingram and supported by the Wilf brothers, who own the Minnesota Vikings, has been accepted. MLS commissioner Don Garber will join Ingram, Tennessee governor Bill Haslam and Nashville mayor Megan Barry at an event Wednesday afternoon at the Country Music Hall of Fame, where they’ll announce the city’s entry.

Ingram and the city plan to build a 27,500-seat, $250 million stadium at the Fairgrounds Nashville site just south of downtown. Their bid was considered a long shot when it was announced in January. But Nashville’s cultural appeal, Ingram’s wealth, the public-private partnership (which included 10 acres for mixed-use development adjacent to the stadium), and stumbles by early expansion favorites left Nashville as the clear front-runner.

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It was the favorite heading into last Thursday’s MLS board of governors meeting.

The league had committed to naming two expansion teams this year, and selected Cincinnati, Sacramento and Detroit as the other finalists. There was no word Tuesday about their fate. It’s believed that ownership group questions in Sacramento and stadium questions in Cincinnati have made a decision more difficult than anticipated.

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