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How much would an MLS expansion team cost in Indianapolis?

The Phillip P. Anschutz MLS CUP trophy is shown during the pregame activities of the 2018 Audi MLS Cup Championship match between Atlanta United and the Portland Timbers at the Mercedes Benz Stadium on Dec. 8, 2018, in Atlanta. Atlanta United won 2-0. (Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Circle City could be adding another professional sports team to its list of successful franchises, according to an announcement Thursday from Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.

Indianapolis is pursuing a Major League Soccer expansion team in a city that already houses successful NFL, NBA and WNBA franchises.

The MLS has added several franchises over the last few years, eyeing continued growth throughout the United States and Canada.

The league has added 11 teams over the last decade, with another forming in 2025.

Should Indianapolis become the host city of the 31st team in the MLS, the expansion blueprint has been set, but it will not come without a hefty price tag.

From 2019-2021, Cincinnati, Nashville, Tennessee, and Austin, Texas, all added expansion franchises for an expansion fee of $150 million each.

In 2022, Carolina Panthers owner David Tipper reportedly paid an expansion fee of $325 million to add an MLS team in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In 2023, St. Louis City FC joined the MLS for an expansion fee of $200 million.

Finally, the league’s 30th team will play in San Diego beginning in 2025. That ownership group paid an expansion fee of $500 million to join the MLS.

If the Democratic mayor’s pursuit of a new MLS franchise becomes successful, Indy’s ownership group could face a hefty fee to join the league. It is unclear who would be involved in the ownership group, although Hogsett said that a defined group is in place.

The timeline for the proposed team is also unclear, as is how costly the expansion fee would be.

The MLS puts heavy consideration on the stadium, or plans for a stadium, that a new team would play in when entertaining expansion.

In 2023, the city began construction on Eleven Park, a $1 billion development that would house the Indy Eleven, the USL Championship team based in Indianapolis. Eleven Park is being built off Kentucky Avenue near Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Colts, in downtown Indianapolis.

The city’s pursuit of a new soccer team could jeopardize the construction of the Indy Eleven stadium, although city officials said the MLS team could end up playing at the new park.

Alternatively, the ownership group could build a stadium at 355 E. Pearl St. as Hogsett says.

Regardless of where and when an Indianapolis-based MLS team begins play, the price to start a franchise will cost a fortune.

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