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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Major League Soccer expansion fees could go as high as $200 million

Major League Soccer expansion fees could nearly double to $200 million in the future.

A host of cities are competing to be one of the last four teams in the league's plan to reach 28 clubs, and MLS deputy commissioner Mark Abbott told Bloomberg that they would have to pay up to secure a spot.

"There has been incredible interest from cities across the country in acquiring a Major League Soccer expansion club and we continue to have productive discussions with a number of prospective ownership groups," Abbott said in a league statement.

"Following the Board of Governors meeting, the league is continuing to work on the timetable and the details, including pricing, for future expansion and no decisions have been made.

"Based on the increasing value of MLS clubs, expansion fees could be as high as $200 million."

The league should expand to 22 teams next season with Atlanta United and if all goes to plan with the Minnesota franchise.

Then LAFC is set to join in 2018, and the league is hopeful David Beckham's Miami club will be prepared to start then as well.

LAFC paid $110 million to join the league, but that could seem like a bargain compared to what the league hopes to make from the last four teams.

In April, MLS commissioner Don Garber said St. Louis and Sacramento were the "front-runners" in the race to join, which also includes Detroit, San Diego, San Antonio, Austin, and Cincinnati.

Bay Area business consultant Andy Dolich told the Sacramento Bee that the "buzz" at the All-Star Game last week was that the expansion fee would be between $125-135 million.

But he believes Sacramento could pay the $200 million despite playing in a relatively small market -- and having to pay at least that amount again to build a stadium.

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