MLS confirms Nashville will be home to its latest expansion franchise

Major League Soccer confirmed on Wednesday that the city of Nashville had been granted its latest expansion franchise, making it the 24th team in the league.

Don Garber, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and Nashville Soccer Holdings head John Ingram were all present for the announcement, which marks the successful completion of a bid that was considered a long shot when the 12 expansion candidates were announced back in January.

But Nashville ticked off all the necessary boxes, and ultimately had the most complete bid out of a group of four finalists that included Cincinnati, Detroit and Sacramento.

Ingram was brought in to lead the investment group, with the Wilf family, owners of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, joining him later to supply additional financial heft.

The investor group then secured $225 million in public financing from the city of Nashville to be used towards the construction of a $275m stadium to be built on the Fairgrounds Nashville. The city also showed strong support for one-off events like last summer's Gold Cup.

The organization will field a team in the second-tier USL next season.

A lawsuit aiming to stop the use of the Fairgrounds as a site for the stadium was dismissed on Monday.

The league has still not made any mention of which city will fill the other expansion slot that MLS has said will be granted this month.

With Nashville named, the race for the last spot is widely viewed as a two-city race between Cincinnati and Sacramento.

In terms of when Nashville will begin play, that is still to be determined with the fate of Miami's expansion effort and the completion of Nashville's stadium among the complicating factors.

But with LAFC joining MLS in 2018, and giving the league an odd number of teams, there will be momentum to bring Nashville on board as quickly as possible, with the 2020 season the most likely scenario.