Las Vegas Sun

April 28, 2015

Currently: 73° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Investor: Las Vegas still ideal for MLS expansion team

Beyond the Sun

Major League Soccer has recently expanded into Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, and Mark Noorzai believes those were excellent calls.

That he’s been trying to bring an expansion club to Las Vegas for more than three years, he said, doesn’t conflict with the moves MLS has made in the Northwest.

“I think (MLS commissioner) Don Garber picked the right cities with the right ownership groups,” said Noorzai, a California businessman who has specialized in the technology industry. “I’m optimistic that MLS will continue to grow in these difficult economic times.”

The Northwest was the center of attention in American soccer last week.

Wednesday, Vancouver was tabbed as MLS’s 17th team. Thursday, 32,522 crammed into Qwest Field in Seattle to watch the Sounders win their league debut. Friday, Portland was named as the 18th team.

Both Vancouver and Portland will begin play in 2011.

MLS has talked about expanding to 20 teams, with St. Louis, Miami and other fringe cities on the candidate list, but it isn’t certain whether that could take place by 2012.

Noorzai, who has been negotiating for months for a minority ownership position in the Columbus Crew, started the Las Vegas Sports & Entertainment Group three years ago. He said he hasn’t slowed down, despite the economy and investor fears, in trying to include Las Vegas on the MLS landscape.

“This is a long-term endeavor,” Noorzai said from Camarillo, Calif. “Long-term projects require not just perseverance and hard work, but endurance.

“Times couldn’t be better for what we want to do. Times couldn’t be better for working on a franchise for Las Vegas. The real estate is reasonable, the banking, the resources … and the opportunity couldn’t be better.”

The ongoing challenge hasn’t dissipated Noorzai’s bullishness on bringing a pro soccer franchise to Las Vegas.

“I’m very bullish,” Noorzai said. “Vegas will always be Vegas. The value of that asset has never changed. That won’t change. I still believe Las Vegas will be the market of markets for MLS.”

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

No trusted comments have been posted.