Mark, Zygi, and Leonard Wilf all own the Minnesota Vikings and are a big presence in Minnesota, thanks to their NFL team’s new $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium. The trio tried to use that to their advantage and land an MLS team in Minnesota, but weren’t successful.
After failing to bring an MLS team to the land of 10,000 lakes, the trio is taking their desire to own an MLS team down South to Nashville, Tennessee. The three Wilfs will make a formal announcement Tuesday announcing their partnership with Nashville billionaire John Ingram, according to the Star Tribune.
Ingram told the Star Tribune that he and Mark Wilf are on the board of trustees at Vanderbilt and that’s how the two got to know each other. From there, their relationship evolved into potential MLS co-owners. Ingram went on to say the Wilfs’ experience owning the Vikings and with planning new stadiums make them appealing partners.
Nashville, you've outdone yourself ???.
Thank you to all 47,622 fans who set a new soccer attendance record in Tennessee! pic.twitter.com/1cwYbQyjWD
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) July 9, 2017
As for how the ownership would break down in Nashville, Ingram would be the majority owner with the Wilfs serving as minority owners.
“We’ve got a lot of great appreciation for soccer, and we think it’s a growing sport,” Mark Wilf said. “We’re here to support him as best we can.”
Ingram added that a formal stadium presentation will be made next week to city and regional government representatives. As of now, the potential majority owner said he has his eyes on a site at the fairgrounds in Nashville.
— Eric Alvarez (@FOX17Eric) July 29, 2017
Nashville is one of 12 cities that are hoping to land an MLS expansion franchise as the league looks to add possibly two more teams in 2018. The list of potential cities, according to CBS, includes Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Nashville, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, and Tampa/St. Petersburg.
All of those cities would be interesting, and all of them host at least one major league franchise with Detroit and Phoenix being the only cities that host MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL franchises.