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Major League Soccer Turns Down Las Vegas, Ending Stadium Deal

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman's gamble for a major league franchise ended Thursday when Major League Soccer rejected the city's bid for a team.

The city announced it was not selected for the expansion team for the 2017 or 2018 seasons.

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The decision ends the city’s effort to build a soccer stadium downtown. 

Originally, the city had partnered with the Cordish Companies and Findlay Sports and Entertainment to build at $200 million stadium in Symphony Park to house the team. Public money would have accounted for about $56 million of that total.

The city council’s controversial vote in December approving the funding stipulated the project would only move forward if the city was chosen for the MLS expansion team. Three city council members who opposed the deal actually ran a petition drive that put the issue on the ballot for June’s municipal election.

The exclusive negotiating agreement with the city’s private partners on the deal will expire Feb. 20. Once it has expired, the city will be able to consider other options for developing that section of land.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman supported the project and the team. She went with a delegation to meet with league executives about bringing the expansion team to the city. Goodman released this statement.

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“Of course I am disappointed that the MLS did not select Las Vegas for an expansion team in the 2017 or 2018 seasons. I still believe our city would be the perfect location for a major league team, and I am saddened that we miss out on the opportunity to gain $450 million in downtown investment and job creation. A team coming here would have been the catalyst for other developments in the downtown. I hope the MLS will still consider Las Vegas for a team beyond 2018, and that the league’s decision will not be a negative influence on other major league franchises coming to our city.” 
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Natalie is an Emmy-award winning journalist who has worked in the Las Vegas market since August 1996, starting as a newscast producer for KLAS-TV Channel 8, and later as an online editor for 8newsnow.com.