SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber announced Monday that the league has awarded an expansion team to Sacramento.
Sacramento Republic Football Club will begin play in 2022 as MLS’ 29th team in California’s capital city.
The club will build a new, $300 million, 20,100-seat soccer stadium in the downtown Railyards District. The stadium will be a centerpiece of a redevelopment project that will include housing, retail, theaters, parks, museums, a hotel and a major medical center.
Republic FC is owned by a group from the worlds of business, sports and culture.
Ron Burkle, the technology, retail and hospitality entrepreneur, movie producer and owner of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, who have won three Stanley Cups under his direction, joined the existing ownership group to become the club’s lead investor.
Joining the investor group for the MLS expansion team is Matt Alvarez, the entertainment executive and producer known for his work on the Academy Award-nominated “Straight Outta Compton” and several popular film franchises. Longtime Sacramento area business leader and Sacramento Kings investor Kevin Nagle remains a central member of the investor group, a position he has led since 2014.
“Major League Soccer continues to grow throughout North America and we are so proud to welcome Sacramento as our newest team,” Garber said. “For many years, soccer fans in Sacramento have passionately supported Republic FC and shown that the club deserves to be competing at the highest level. Thanks to the determined efforts and commitment of new owners Ron Burkle and Matt Alvarez along with the leadership of Mayor Darren Steinberg, Sacramento will join MLS with a world-class soccer stadium that will transform the sport in California’s capital.”
The 20th largest media market in the United States, Sacramento sent a message to the North American soccer community in 2014 when the debut of its United Soccer League club saw a capacity crowd of more than 20,000 fans pack Hughes Stadium for the inaugural match of Sacramento Republic FC. Since then, many matches Republic FC matches have been sold out. In the USL, Republic FC has set league records, including season ticket sales and merchandising, and have hosted exhibition matches against top international clubs.
When Republic FC announced two years ago that season ticket holders would receive priority when the club joined MLS, the club received commitments for more than 10,000 season tickets for the proposed MLS team.
“Sacramento’s selection by Major League Soccer for an expansion team is a victory to be celebrated by everyone in our community,” Burkle said. “This has been a true team effort between the amazing soccer fans of the Sacramento region along with Mayor Steinberg and City Council, our partners and corporate leaders. We are proud to be part of the team that Kevin Nagle put together, which is made even stronger by an incredibly committed local ownership group. The relationship between Sacramento and our club already is a special one, and I’m committed to deepening that connection for years to come.”