Several news outlets are reporting that Philadelphia next Thursday will be unveiled as the 16th Major League Soccer franchise in a live news conference from Chester, Pa., site of a proposed 18,500-seat stadium to be built beside the Delaware River. The Philadelphia Inquirer broke the news, citing sources close to both MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the local group making the bid.
Philadelphia is the largest market where MLS does not currently have a team, and though a deal has been guaranteed there are still some details to hammer out between MLS and the local investment group, which includes iStar Financial CEO Robert Sugarman and Swarthmore Group chairman James Nevels.
Among the details being ironed out are the final financial plans for a $115 million stadium near the Commodore Barry Bridge in Chester. Last month, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell announced that the state would provide $47 million in funding for the project. Chester is one of Pennsylvania's poorest cities, but the state aims to revitalize the region through a $500 million shopping, restaurant and housing complex, of which the stadium is a significant part.