MLS team still under pursuit by Wilfs

Major League Soccer is coming to Minnesota for a game at TCF Bank Stadium on Aug. 2, but it's likely just the start of a bigger plan to place a MLS team in Minnesota.

One of the perks given to the Wilf family when they bought the Vikings was one that many skeptical fans thought was a meaningless throw-in.

Not so fast, my friends.

While the Vikings are merely a tenant – granted, by far the most primary tenant – of the yet-to-be-named (U.S. Bank) stadium, one of the concessions in the stadium bill negotiation that the State of Minnesota adopted was that the Wilfs would have a two-year window of exclusive negotiations for the right to bring a Major League Soccer team to play in that building.

Tomorrow an announcement is expected that the Wilfs will be partnering with Relevent Sports to attract a MLS team to its new stadium. Relevent represents some of the elite soccer teams of Europe, including Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid. The company also has worked with the national teams of Argentina, Brazil, England and Spain. To say the least, they're heavy hitters in the futbol world.

The process of gauging local interest in MSL will be tested Aug. 2, when TCF Bank Stadium hosts a match between Manchester City and Olympiacos. If you know both of those teams, you are in the target audience. It will be this match that is expected to be the platform by which a dual-track announcement is made that the new stadium may well have a MLS tenant to play there.

It likely is no coincidence that the anticipated announcement coincides with the World Cup in Brazil, which gets underway Thursday. It will be an opportunity for casual fans to see elite-level soccer – for sports TV enthusiasts, it may be hard to miss.

There is no question that the Vikings ownership group is convinced the MLS can make a dent in the popular sports culture of the Twin Cities, making them a six-sport NFL city – the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, WNBA and MLS.

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    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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