Markets. The most notable market is Chattanooga, home of the NPSL's Chattanooga FC, which averaged 4,911 fans per game in 2017. It also drew 12,484 fans for a preseason friendly against Atlanta United. Four prospective markets are homes to NASL or USL teams.
*NASL or USL markets.
Other applicants. NISA announced in June that it had received letters of intent to join from 10 markets. That list grew to 15, though seven markets have held their applications back for 2019 in order to meet NISA and U.S. Soccer minimum standards.
Goal. NISA plans to cap its membership at 24 teams by 2021. After that, groups would only be able to enter the league by purchasing an existing team or via a promotion-relegation structure incorporating leagues below and above it.
Competition. The USL has plans to launch a Division 3 league in 2019. It previously operated multi-tiered pro leagues, but its lone pro league was granted provisional Division 2 sanctioning early in 2017. It has been meeting with interested investors and civic groups in markets around the country -- examples: Lexington, Kentucky; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Asheville, North Carolina -- where there are currently no USL or NASL teams.
Division 3 standards. U.S. Soccer requires a Division 3 league to have eight teams whose lead owner has a worth of at least of $10 million and whose stadium seats at least 1,000. The next step for NISA is to make a presentation of its teams and plans to the U.S. Soccer board of directors on Friday in Jersey City.
NISA Co-Founder Peter Wilt: "The critical step to fully vet each market now moves into an important phase, so we can be assured of the applicants’ and the League’s success. Each successful applicant will need to show us and US Soccer that it has a proper venue, financial model, business plan, administration and ownership to assure sustainability."