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September 19, 2014

Report: Vikings owners to announce pursuit of MLS franchise

The Minnesota Vikings are expected to announce a push to pursue a Major League Soccer franchise for their new stadium later this week.

ESPN’s Ben Goessling reported the news on his Twitter account, Monday.

Relevent Sports has a history of working with some of Europe’s top soccer teams, including Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Barcelona, along with national teams like Brazil, Argentina, England and Spain.

Relevent brought the international game to the U.S. with tremendous success in 2013 when it created the Guinness International Champions Cup. The tournament featured eight of the world’s best soccer clubs, and culminated at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium when Real Madrid defeated Chelsea in front of nearly 70,000 fans.

It is also bringing a game to Minnesota later this year.

Minneapolis is considered a frontrunner to land a MLS team. The league has set a goal of expanding its league by 24 teams by 2020.

If the Vikings were to acquire a soccer team, they would likely share their new $1 billion downtown Minneapolis stadium with it. MLS teams in Seattle, New England and Vancouver also share stadiums with NFL teams.

The group though has competition in the market.

Twins owner Jim Pohlad and Bill McGuire, owner of the Minnesota United FC soccer team, are also interested in investing in a team.

The Wilf family has exclusive five-year rights to pursue an MLS team in the new Vikings stadium, once it opens in 2016.

According to the Star Tribune, the stadium question could be driving the competition though. Supporters of Minnesota United are proposing a 20,000-seat, open air soccer stadium. It would be located near Target Field and the Farmers Market in downtown Minneapolis.

The newspaper reports the drawback likely would be the $250 million cost, which would likely have to be financed privately.