Detroit makes final pitch for MLS expansion team

City on list of finalist cities for pro soccer team

By Nick Monacelli - Reporter

DETROIT - The group tasked with creating Detroit's bid for a Major League Soccer team will be giving their presentation to the league on Wednesday. 

MLS has made it clear the league prefers soccer-specific stadiums, something the city of Detroit does not have. However, Arn Tellum, vice chairman of the Detroit Pistons, argues Ford Field is the best option to attract a pro soccer team. He will be making that argument Wednesday in New York. 

"The key to a team's success in the MLS is location, and there is no better location in all of the MLS, which is in the heart of an urban core, than Ford Field," said Tellem on Local 4's Flashpoint.  

The league did announce last week Detroit is one of four finalist cities for an expansion team. The other three are Cincinnati, Nasvhille and Sacramento. 

Another issue brought up is that Ford Field would be an indoor facility. Tellem said that's an issue that could be addressed. 

"If that's an issue we can address that down the road, if that's an issue for the MLS ... those are issues you can deal with," he said. 

A rendering of a Major League Soccer game in Detroit.

A rendering of professional soccer in Detroit.

Ford Field named 'ideal home' for soccer team

Tellem is coordinating the communication for the ownership group behind the push for a MLS team in Detroit. Pistons owner Tom Gores, Bill Ford Jr. and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert have all partnered to get a team. 

"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," Tellem said. "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."

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