ATLANTA (AP) — Major League Soccer is closing in on a deal with Falcons owner Arthur Blank to bring an expansion franchise to Atlanta's new downtown stadium.
The team would likely begin play in 2017, when the $1 billion retractable roof stadium is set to open next to the Georgia Dome to provide a new home for the NFL Falcons.
"Our discussions with Major League Soccer continue, but we do not have a final agreement at this time," Kim Shreckengost, the chief administrative officer for Blank's AMB Group, said Tuesday in an email to The Associated Press. "We hope to complete the agreement soon, at which time we will make a formal announcement."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that a new team will be announced April 16.
"We are continuing discussions with Arthur Blank to bring a Major League Soccer expansion team to Atlanta," said Dan Courtemanche, a spokesman for MLS. "However, we have not finalized an agreement at this time."
The MLS has long coveted the Atlanta market, the largest in the U.S. without a team, as it moves toward its goal of expanding to 24 franchises.
The 19-team league has already announced expansion franchises in New York City and Orlando that are scheduled to begin play next season, in addition to a provisional franchise in Miami owned by a group that includes David Beckham. That team is contingent on a deal for a new soccer-specific stadium in south Florida.
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