Earlier this month, Ford Field agreed to house a new Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team, if Detroit won the bid. Now, Detroit has been named a top-four finalist for the new club, and the group behind Detroit’s bid, led by Dan Gilbert, Tom Gores and Detroit Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem, is scheduled to make its final pitch to MLS Commission Don Garber in less than a week.
In a statement on Ford Field, Tellem said:
Partnering with the Ford family bolsters our powerhouse group and provides a perfect stadium solution in the heart of Detroit’s central business and sports and entertainment districts… Over the last two years, we have invested significant time, effort and resources into our bid to bring MLS to Detroit. After careful study and analysis, we concluded that the downtown location of an MLS stadium is paramount to an MLS team’s success. And no MLS stadium sits in a better downtown location than Ford Field. We also saw additional evidence that multi-use stadiums can be very successful in the right situation and we believe our new proposal is superior for the city and for MLS in every way.
Ford Field — which has hosted four USA Soccer international matches (2008, 2011, 2012, 2015) — recently underwent a $100-million renovation. It’s the new choice for a Detroit location, after plans to use a failed jail site were scrapped.
Speaking this week about the revised plan and Detroit’s top-four standing, Tellem added:
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… 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.
Detroit’s three competitors for the expansion team are Cincinnati, Nashville and Sacramento.