Brazil’s largest soccer club interested in pursuing MLS team in Vegas

Brazil’s wealthiest and most popular soccer club, Flamengo is in advanced talks to invest in a new Major League Soccer expansion team located at Cashman Field in Las Vegas.

According to a report from Rio De Janeiro’s newspaper O Globo, the soccer giant is interested in expanding their franchise internationally in the next few years. Their goal is to begin competing in MLS.

Officials from Flamengo involved in the arrangement have remained ambiguous on the matter. 

“The Clube de Regatas do Flamengo informs that it has been working to consolidate a project of globalization of the brand. In due course, we will deal with the issue with responsibility and maximum transparency,” read an official statement from the soccer club.

Since June 2019, the City of Las Vegas have been in exclusive negotiations with construction management firm Renaissance Cos. to develop a 25,000-seat soccer stadium at Cashman Field near downtown. 

Chairman of Renaissance Cos. Floyd Kephart did not directly comment on Flamengo’s potential involvement in the arrangement. 

“We have had discussions with several parties, national and international. Until there is an agreement with one of these parties that can be publicly reported, it would be inappropriate for us to comment on those discussions,” said Kephart.

If the deal for an MLS expansion team takes effect, owner of the Las Vegas Lights, Brett Lashbrook, will sell his United Soccer League Championships franchise to Baupost Group.

“It’s clear public knowledge that we are in support of the Renaissance/Baupost plan,” said Lashbrook. 

The Boston-based hedge-fund Baupost Group is fronted by billionaire Seth Klarman. If they take ownership of the Lights, they intend on building the team its own stadium, and converting them to MLS. 

This is not the first time a popular international soccer club has partnered with an American MLS franchise. Manchester City joined forces with MLS’ team New York City FC in 2014. Making them one of the most valuable soccer franchises in the world. 

A recent report from ESPN suggests soccer legend Lionel Messi may leave his longtime team FC Barcelona and move to Manchester City. The deal reportedly includes a stipulation for him to move to NYCFC after three years in the Premier League. 

Flamengo was originally founded in 1895. Their home games are played at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã stadium, which hosted the 2014 World Cup. The team has won six championships in Brazil’s top soccer competition, Campeonato Brasileiro Série A. The team’s current coach is Domenec Torrent, former coach of NYCFC. 

Additional agreements for the Cashman Field stadium proposal call for an addition of residential and retail projects in the 84-acres of surrounding city land as a precursor before securing a MLS franchise. 

Blueprints for the stadium include a translucent fabric roof, making it a climate-controlled indoor venue. The field will be retractable, enabling the venue to be used for other sporting and entertainment events. 

Last year, Kephart told they intend to build a soccer concussion research center, sports medicine training facilities, and an Esports center at the space.