April 16, 2014 ATLANTA (AP) -- Atlanta has become the newest city in Major League Soccer with an expansion franchise that will begin play in 2017.
The team announced Wednesday will be owned by Arthur Blank, who also owns the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.
The MLS team will play in a new $1 billion retractable roof stadium to be built next to the Georgia Dome. While primarily designed for the Falcons, Blank was eager to line up an additional revenue source for the new facility.
MLS, which has 19 teams this season, is expanding rapidly with a goal of having 24 franchises. Orlando and New York City are scheduled to begin play next season, and the league has awarded a provisional franchise in Miami to a group led by David Beckham, contingent on a new stadium deal.