MLS names Atlanta as their 22nd franchise

Atlanta MLS 2017

Move over David BeckhamArthur Blank wants in on the MLS action.

Major League Soccer announced Wednesday evening the addition of Atlanta as the league’s official 22nd franchise. They will begin play in 2017.

“We are thrilled to welcome Atlanta to Major League Soccer as our 22nd team,” Garber said in a statement. “Atlanta is one of the largest and most diverse markets in North America and has a rich tradition in sports and culture.

“And with Arthur Blank joining our ownership group, we are adding one of the most respected owners in professional sports. Arthur is deeply passionate about soccer and our quest to become one of the top professional soccer leagues in the world. We look forward to working with him and the entire Falcons organization on achieving this important goal.”

Home Depot co-founder and Atlanta Falcons owner Blank will head the new club come 2017 and house them in a state of the art, shared-space stadium with his NFL club. The $1.2 billion dollar retractable roof arena will house 65,000 fans, and can be made to expand up to 75,000. For the purposes of MLS, the Arena will be tarped off to 29,000, and feature a makeshift interior roof to mitigate the vast emptiness of the arena.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Blank paid $70 million in franchise rights to join the league. The yet-to-be-named side will don the original colors of the Falcons franchise — red, white and gold. According to MLS, fans will be able to suggest a name for the fledgling side.

Beckham’s Miami franchise has not been officially awarded a team within MLS, but are expected to join as the 23rd team. MLS has designs on growing to 24 sides by 2020. Meanwhile, Atlanta will begin accepting $50 season ticket deposits in anticipation of 2017.