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Vikings, Relevent Sports announce partnership, pursue MLS team

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The Minnesota Vikings announced a partnership with Relevent Sports, Wednesday, in an effort they hope will bring a Major League Soccer team to Minnesota.

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, members of the Vikings management group said they have been visiting other MLS cities and venues to continue a dialogue with league officials about securing a franchise to play in the new $1 billion Vikings stadium, under construction in downtown Minneapolis.

According to The Associated Press, those meetings included Vikings officials discussing their plans to make their 65,000 seat stadium fit soccer.

Vikings Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development Lester Bagley said, "We believe this is an outstanding market for MLS, and the new stadium, with its phenomenal indoor-outdoor fan experience, is a great fit for soccer."

The Vikings are also partnering with the University of Minnesota and Relevent to host and promote the Guinness International Champions Cup match on Aug. 2.

English Premier League Champions Manchester city will play against the Greek Champions Olympiacos at TCF Bank Stadium.

The game could be used to determine what kind of interest there is in professional soccer, in the market.

The MLS is looking to expand to 24 teams by 2020. The league has already announced plans to add franchises in Orlando, Atlanta, New York and possibly Miami.

Minnesota is considered a front-runner to get a franchise, but other cities in the running include Sacramento, Las Vegas, Indianapolis, St. Louis, San Antonio and Austin, Texas.

There are two Minnesota groups vying for an MLS team, though.

According to the Pioneer Press, a group led by Minnesota United FC owner Bill McGuire and Twins owner Jim Pohlad is also examining the possibility, though they have been more private about it.

The United play in the smaller NASL, but some of those smaller pro teams have made the jump to the MLS.

The newspaper reports a Minneapolis business consortium, 2020 Partners, approached United, last September, about building a soccer stadium at the Minneapolis Farmers' Market site near Target Field.

The decision about where the team goes, and who they sell the franchise too, though will lie solely with the MLS.

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