Bournemouth’s new American owner Bill Foley has said the Premier League club was a « bargain » compared to the price it would take to bring a Major League Soccer expansion team to Las Vegas.
Foley, owner of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, acquired a 50.1% stake in Bournemouth this week through his Cannae Holdings firm for a fee of $126 million.
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Previously, Foley was leading the charge to bring a new MLS team to Las Vegas. He has now explained, though, that the bill for such a proposal would be significantly more expensive than purchasing Bournemouth in the world’s richest soccer league.
« I’ve looked at it, I’ve examined it and I was pretty serious about it, » Foley told the BBC.
« The MLS, unfortunately, requires a stadium to be built and, in the United States, that is costing $600-700m, » he said.
« The franchise fee itself, I think, is $300m so you are into it for a billion dollars before you have a team.
« I thought Bournemouth was a bargain. I’m buying a Premier League team that already has a stadium, already has players and I can improve it. I don’t see us being involved in the MLS. I’m just not that interested . »
MLS expansion fees have risen dramatically in recent years, from the $10m paid by Toronto FC in 2007 to a record $325m for the most recent expansion team, Charlotte FC, at the end of 2019.
MLS commissioner Don Garber has said that the league plans to announce its 30th team sometime in the first half of 2023.
Garber previously said Las Vegas was the frontrunner to host the league’s next team with ambitions to build a stadium right off the iconic strip, through prospective owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris. The pair are co-owners of Aston Villa, while Edens is also a co-owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.
However, San Diego has emerged as a serious rival in recent months, with Garber saying in November that the league is now in active discussions with representatives from both cities.