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Ron Burkle Backs Out Of Sacramento’s MLS Expansion Ownership Group

(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

The MLS will work with Mayor Steinberg to evaluate possible next steps for MLS in Sacramento

Ron Burke, the lead investor for Sacramento’s Major League Soccer expansion ownership group, has decided to not move forward with the acquisition of an expansion team in Sacramento.

The MLS released the following statement on Friday afternoon:

Earlier today, Ron Burkle informed the League that based on issues with the project related to COVID-19, he has decided to not move forward with the acquisition of an MLS expansion team in Sacramento.

After working for many years to bring an MLS team to Sacramento, the League continues to believe it can be a great MLS market. In the coming days, the League will work with Mayor Darrell Steinberg to evaluate possible next steps for MLS in Sacramento.

“I want to thank Mayor Steinberg for his continued efforts to bring MLS to Sacramento,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “His commitment to the city and delivering for its passionate soccer fans should make all citizens of Sacramento proud.

“Interest in owning a club in Major League Soccer has never been higher. And I remain incredibly optimistic about finalizing expansion plans for our 30th team.”

Statement from the MLS regarding Sacramento’s expansion bid

The future of Major League Soccer in Sacramento is currently in doubt, with reports surfacing that the ownership group did not sign or return the long-form expansion agreement.

According to Jeff Carlisle of ESPN, bloated construction costs for the proposed new Railyards Stadium was the primary reason behind Burkle opting out of the group.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the situation cited increasing costs associated with building a stadium at the Downtown Railyards site as the primary reason Burkle, who also co-owns the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League, decided not to move forward. One source said that the costs for the Sacramento stadium went from $300 million to $400 million, while infrastructure costs increased from $27 million to $47 million. On top of those increases, the ability to raise funds from the projects’ limited partners, all in the middle of a pandemic, fell roughly $60 million short of what was anticipated.

Jeff Carlisle of ESPN

This is a developing story that will be updated as more information is released.