MLS announces Austin franchise: What to know about Austin FC, the league's newest club
The club was officially announced Tuesday
Major League Soccer announced its 27th team with a new expansion franchise in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday. MLS commissioner Don Garber officially introduced Austin FC -- the first major professional sports team in Texas' capital.
"Austin is a thriving metropolitan city – the personification of what we mean when we say MLS is a 'League for a new America,'" Garber said in a league release. "We are extremely proud to be the first major professional sports league to become part of the culture of this historic American city. In their support of a world-class soccer stadium that benefits everyone, the leadership of the city of Austin has shown tremendous faith in our league and game, and Anthony Precourt has paved the way for Austin FC to have great success on and off the field. To the people of Austin and the surrounding community, welcome to Major League Soccer."
Here's what to know:
Who owns the franchise?
The franchise is owned by Precourt Sports Ventures, which is owned by the aforementioned Anthony Precourt, the former owner of the Columbus Crew. Precourt attempted to relocate the Crew to Austin but was unsuccessful, so he went the expansion route with this team.
Where will they play?
Part of the deal to start a franchise there involves a soccer-specific stadium built and owned by the city. It will be privately franchised by Precourt Sports Ventures. Austin is one of three future MLS teams -- Inter Miami FC and Nashville will join in the coming years.
The capacity of the stadium is expected to be 20,000 and the cost an estimated $225 million. The expectation is to begin the project this spring and for it to be open in two year's time. The stadium deal was announced in December.
When will they join the league?
While Nashville and Miami are set to play their first matches next year, Austin FC will begin playing in 2021.
What will the early expectations be?
While having a new club in MLS will be exciting, Austin's market isn't that of the biggest cities and it will be tough to meet the early success of recent expansions. LAFC got off to a hot start in its first year and made the playoffs, while Atlanta United won the MLS Cup in just its second season. For this team, a lot obviously depends on who the coach is and who is on the roster, so it's too early to determine. But the excitement level is there and another team in MLS shows the continued growth of the league and the sport in the United States.
You can watch select MLS matches on fuboTV (Try for free).
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