Dropped N.F.L. Cities Are Among M.L.S. Bidders…

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From left, the former player Carlos Bocanegra, the M.L.S. Atlanta owner Arthur Blank, the rapper Ludacris, M.L.S. Commissioner Don Garber, and the former player Darren Eales in 2015.

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Dropped by the N.F.L., St. Louis and San Diego are among bidders from 12 areas applying for four Major League Soccer expansion teams.

Two of the teams, which will have to pay $150 million expansion fees, will start play in 2020. M.L.S. Commissioner Don Garber said Tuesday that having stadium financing in place was a condition for selection.

“In the past, we weren’t in a position to demand that every new market came in with all their I’s dotted and T’s crossed,” Garber said. “Now we’re at a point where there are so many cities looking for so few market opportunities that we can do the right thing by everyone and ensure that every aspect of their expansion plan is fully in place.”

The expansion committee, led by New England’s Jonathan Kraft, will start to review applications this month. M.L.S. will pare the field in the next few months and plans to announce its selections by the end of the year. The percentage of government stadium financing will depend on the city.

“Every market is different,” Garber said.

Others to submit bids were groups from Charlotte, N.C.; Cincinnati; Detroit; Indianapolis; Nashville; Phoenix; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Sacramento; San Antonio; and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.

Started with 10 teams in 1996, M.L.S. will have 22 this season following the addition of Atlanta and Minnesota franchises. A second Los Angeles team is set to begin play next year, and David Beckham has rights to start a Miami team, although he has been unable to complete a stadium plan. The league said in December that it planned to expand to 28 teams but has not given a timetable for adding the final two.

The N.F.L.’s Rams left Los Angeles and moved to St. Louis for the 1995 season, then shifted after the 2015 season back to the Los Angeles area, where a new stadium is under construction in Inglewood. The Chargers had been in San Diego since 1961 but said on Jan. 12 that they would to the Los Angeles area for next season, also at the Inglewood stadium.

“Clearly, both in San Diego and St. Louis, there’s a void left by the N.F.L.,” Garber said, explaining that the loss of the N.F.L. might increase interest in M.L.S. among businesses. “Those folks that were sitting on the fence as it relates to supporting soccer now might be more inclined to do.”

The St. Louis owners would include Paul Edgerley, a senior adviser at Bain Capital and a minority owner of the Boston Celtics; Terry Matlack, a managing director of Tortoise Capital; Jim Kavanaugh, owner of St. Louis’s team in the second-tier United Soccer League; and the former Anheuser-Busch president Dave Peacock.

San Diego investors would include the Padres’ controlling owner, Peter Seidler; Michael Stone of Freestyle Partners; the former Qualcomm president Steve Altman; the Bridgewest Group co-founders Massih and Masood Tayebi; and the media executive Carlos Rodriguez.

Others bidders include:

CHARLOTTE Marcus Smith, the Speedway Motorsports chief executive.

CINCINNATI Carl Lindner III, American Financial Group chief executive and owner of the U.S.L.’s Cincinnati team.

DETROIT Tom Gores, Pistons owner, and Dan Gilbert, Cleveland Cavaliers owner.

INDIANAPOLIS Ersal Ozdemir, chief executive of Keystone Construction; Mickey Maurer, chairman of National Bank of Indianapolis; Jeff Laborsky, chief executive of Heritage; Mark Elwood, chief executive of Elwood Staffing; and Andy Mohr, owner of Mohr Auto Group.

NASHVILLE John Ingram, Ingram Industries chairman, and Bill Haggerty, former Tennessee economic development commissioner.

PHOENIX Berke Bakay, owner of the U.S.L.’s Phoenix Rising.

RALEIGH/DURHAM Steve Malik, owner of North Carolina’s team in the second-tier North American Soccer League.

SACRAMENTO Jed York, San Francisco 49ers owner; Meg Whitman, Hewlett-Packard chief executive; and Kevin Nagle, owner of the U.S.L.’s Sacramento Republic.

SAN ANTONIO Spurs Sports & Entertainment.

TAMPA/ST. PETERSBURG Bill Edwards, owner of the U.S.L.’s Tampa Bay Rowdies.

According to Nielsen, the biggest markets without M.L.S. teams among the bidders are Tampa/St. Petersburg (11), Phoenix (12), Detroit (13), Sacramento (20) and St. Louis (21).

“Market size is only one factor that needs to be considered,” Garber said. “When you look at some of our most successful cities, they happen to be in smaller markets, many that have less competition.”

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