Ballard Spahr advised Phoenix Rising FC in its bid to gain one of the four expansion team franchises that will be awarded by Major League Soccer (MLS). Phoenix is one of 12 markets with groups that submitted expansion application bids to MLS before the closing of the MLS deadline yesterday.

After reviewing expansion applications and meeting with each ownership group, Major League Soccer will announce the four expansion teams in groups of two based on the following timeline:

  • Two new expansion teams before the end of 2017. Teams 25 and 26 will begin play in MLS by the 2020 season.
  • Two additional expansion teams will be announced at a later date. The timeline for selecting clubs 27 and 28 will be decided later this year.

Previously, Ballard Spahr assisted in the acquisition of the former Arizona United Soccer Club. During a period of five months, the new ownership group rebranded the team as Phoenix Rising FC, secured a long-term lease on 45 acres of land at the 101 and 202 freeways in south Scottsdale within the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, started construction on a new, soccer-specific stadium and training facilities, and began a campaign to invest in a roster of professional soccer players from around the world.

The Ballard Spahr team was led by Business and Finance Partner Travis J. Leach, along with Associate Chloe Jensine Steadman. Mr. Leach is also co-leader of the firm's Emerging Growth and Private Capital Group and its Sports practice. In addition to his representation of corporate clients in a number of different industries, he counsels professional sports franchises and ownership groups in a number of business ventures.

Phoenix Rising FC Governor Berke Bakay said, “Travis has been an incredible asset to our ownership group. We needed all hands on deck to complete our MLS application last weekend, and Travis was there to assist us with his expertise every step of the way.”