January 31, 2017 [DETROIT] – Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert announced today that they have submitted an official application to Major League Soccer (MLS) to bring an expansion franchise to downtown Detroit. The league recently announced plans to grow to 28 teams and identified Detroit as market of great interest.
Gores and Gilbert, both graduates of Michigan State University with substantial sports, business and investment holdings in the region, issued a joint statement: “We’ve completed an important first step in bringing Major League Soccer to Detroit, and together, we have the experience needed to make a new team successful. We know firsthand the power that sports can play in uniting communities. Our hope is this team will play an important role in the continued revitalization of the city.”
Major League Soccer has experienced a period of unprecedented growth during the last 12 years. MLS commissioner Don Garber visited Detroit last April and received an initial briefing on the Gores/Gilbert expansion plan prior to the January 31, 2017 application deadline. MLS officials expect to announce two expansion teams (#25 and #26) later this year followed by two additional teams (#27 and #28).
The addition of an MLS club will enhance the expanding entertainment district in the heart of the city. The team will serve the local and international soccer fan base of Detroit, while inspiring a new generation of youth soccer throughout the state, whose current numbers exceed100,000 registered players.
“I’m energized about what this opportunity means for the city and the region,” said Gores. “Detroit is rising, reinventing itself. I’m excited to partner with Dan and continue to play a role in Detroit’s resurgence.”
“Detroit sports fans are some of the most passionate in the world. No where else can you find as many major league teams in the urban core than in Detroit,” said Gilbert. “Since soccer is the most popular global sport, we also hope having an MLS team will put Detroit on the map with new audiences, attracting more visitors and more residents to the city.”
An Opportunity For Detroit
* Independent studies in comparable MLS franchise markets predict an economic impact to their respective regions of $1.2 billion over 30 years.
An Asset For The Community
A Global Sport, for a Global City
Given the collective experience, expertise and personal and organizational resources of the joint ownership team, Detroit is uniquely qualified location to launch a new team, develop a new soccer stadium and execute MLS’ vision in becoming one of the top leagues in the world.
About Tom Gores
Gores, a Flint native, is Chairman and CEO of Platinum Equity, a global private equity firm with more than $6 billion in assets under management and investments in a broad array of sectors including automotive, transportation and logistics, manufacturing industries, media, and sports and entertainment. His holdings include the Detroit Pistons NBA franchise, The Palace of Auburn Hills arena and related entertainment businesses and venues include DTE Energy Music Theatre and operating rights to Meadow Brook Amphitheatre and Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill.
About Dan Gilbert
Dan Gilbert is Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans Inc., the nation’s second largest mortgage lender. He is also Founder and Chairman of Rock Ventures LLC and majority owner of the 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Rock Ventures and its more than 100 affiliated companies across the country employ more than 30,000 team members.
Dan’s primary mission is transforming his hometown, the city of Detroit, through both business and philanthropic investment. He has moved and created over 17,000 full-time jobs in downtown Detroit over the past five years while investing heavily in the city’s real estate through Bedrock Detroit, a full-service real estate firm specializing in purchasing, leasing, financing, developing and managing commercial space based in downtown Detroit. In addition, Dan is vice chair of Detroit’s light-rail initiative, co-chair of Detroit’s Blight Removal Task Force and serves on the board of the Cleveland Clinic.
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