Today, groups from Las Vegas, Sacramento, and Minneapolis-St Paul are in New York, making their pitches for a Major League Soccer expansion franchise. Minnesota actually has two groups making pitches – the Minnesota Vikings, and a Minnesota United-led consortium that appears to (but does not officially) involve the owners of the Twins, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, and Hennepin County.
Much has been debated about what MLS is looking for, but financials will likely play a big part in the decision. Here now, a few statistics, comparing the three cities.
POPULATION – A decent proxy for the potential market for fans. (source)
14. MINNEAPOLIS-ST PAUL
30. LAS VEGAS
TOP TV MARKETS – A measure of how attractive would a city be for a TV contract, given that this is one of the prime drivers of league-wide revenue. (source)
15. MINNEAPOLIS-ST PAUL
42. LAS VEGAS
FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES – A proxy for the corporate base in each area, given that corporate clients are the prime market for premium seating – perhaps the biggest source of gameday revenue for a team. (source)
MINNEAPOLIS-ST PAUL – 20
LAS VEGAS – 4
SACRAMENTO- 0 (source)
If you assume that money is at the heart of this decision – and if it’s not, it would be a first for big-time sports – then the choice seems pretty straightforward.