Tom Gores, Dan Gilbert Team Up To Bring MLS to Detroit

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Last week, Don Garber mentioned Detroit right behind the front runners of Sacramento and St. Louis as a city that is on the radar for MLS expansion. Today, Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who is also the CEO of Detroit based Quicken Loans, have strongly hinted at plans to bring MLS to Detroit through a joint ownership venture.

According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, their bid includes plans for a downtown stadium. The first choice for a new stadium would be on the site of the abandoned Wayne County jail near Greektown, but that land is still under control of the county. Gilbert would likely spearhead the effort to secure that land. If he cannot, sites along the banks of the Detroit River or in Corktown, where Tiger Stadium stood, are also possibilities.

Gores would likely be the primary owner of the club. He is seeking investors to aid in the financing of a team that would include the lofty expansion fee to get into MLS.

The plan also says it will “complement the two lower division minor league soccer teams playing in Detroit.”

Last time this report surfaced, I wrote an opinion piece saying Detroit City FC should be the club answering the door. I still feel they need to get themselves a seat at the table in order the keep their interests alive and well, whether or not they plan to join the bid to bring MLS to the city. While none of their owners are included in the report, they did release a statement on their website. “Detroit City FC has had initial contact with the interested parties regarding the possibility of Major League Soccer in Detroit, and we look forward to carrying on more conversations with those groups as the soccer scene evolves.” The club continues to focus on its renovation of Keyworth Stadium and growing the sport in the city of Detroit.

The Northern Guard, Detroit City FC’s largest and most vocal supporters group, also tweeted out their feelings on the matter.

In the past, MLS to Detroit stories have been nothing more than rumors and hearsay. It has been a pipe dream of a few rich men who have never gained any momentum. Now, with two of Detroit’s most valued businessmen in the fold, it finally looks close to becoming  a reality. With a stadium plan supposedly included and the evidence that small scale soccer can succeed in the market, perhaps the time has finally come for American soccer’s first tier to make it in the Motor City.