MLS set to expand to Atlanta

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank will reportedly get a new MLS team. (REUTERS)

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank will reportedly get a new MLS team. (REUTERS)

KURTIS LARSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:54 PM ET

Major League Soccer will roll the dice in Atlanta on Wednesday when it announces the league’s 22nd franchise.

As first reported by Philly.com’s Jonathan Tannenwald last week, MLS officials will make the announcement Wednesday evening at an event in Georgia’s largest city.

Since reports surfaced earlier this month, skeptics have criticized the league’s decision to give NFL owner Arthur Blank an MLS franchise in a market that has struggled to support professional sports teams in the past.

The NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers barely survived a decade before moving to Winnipeg in 2011 while the Atlanta Braves have had below-average turnstiles in recent seasons.

Supporters of the move point to Blank’s deep pockets. The 71-year-old’s two franchises — the NFL’s Falcons and the yet-to-be-named MLS team — will share a $1-billion venue that’s slated to open in downtown Atlanta in 2017.

Atlanta is also a top-10 TV market in the U.S., which could help revive Major League So


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