Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert announced today they are partnering to bring a Major League Soccer (MLS) club to downtown Detroit. The ownership group’s efforts are supported by MLS and its commissioner Don Garber, who recently announced plans to grow the league to 28 teams and identified Detroit as market of great interest.
Gores and Gilbert, both graduates of Michigan State University with substantial sports, business and investment holdings in the region, issued a joint statement: “Detroit is rising and we know firsthand the power of sports to lift a community and drive a civic renaissance. We are very excited about the prospect of bringing Major League Soccer to Detroit and building an ownership group that represents a cross-section of investors.”
The MLS commissioner will be in Detroit this week and will meet with the potential ownership group to discuss their expansion plan. It will include the construction of a stadium in downtown Detroit.
Major League Soccer has experienced a period of unprecedented growth during the last 12 years, doubling in size from 10 to 20 clubs since 2004. The process and timeline for expansion to 28 clubs will be announced in the coming months.
The addition of an MLS club would fuel the growing excitement building in Detroit and enhance the expanding entertainment district in the city. The team will serve the impressive soccer fan base in the state, which includes thousands of
millennials and Michigan youth. Soccer has become one of the most popular sports in the state, with more than 92,000 registered youth players in Michigan.
“I’ve always believed a sports franchise is a community asset with the power to unite and inspire people,” said Gores. “I’m excited to partner with Dan and help in Detroit’s resurgence. Together we have all the tools we need to make a new team successful.”
“Soccer is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world with a passionate fan base and global reach,” said Gilbert. “Bringing a team downtown will also further energize Detroit’s urban core, which is critical to the entire city’s overall health and vibrancy.”