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Republic Expansion Effort Gets 49er Push

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Sacramento Kings President Chris Granger, San Francisco 49ers President Paraag Marathe, Republic President Warren Smith, Republic majority owner Kevin Nagle, and Republic minority owner Dorene Dominguez met Friday.

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

The effort to land a Major League Soccer franchise for Sacramento has grown to include the owners of the San Francisco 49ers.

The York family agreed last night to terms with Sacramento Republic FC that will give the Niners' owners a minority share of the soccer team.

Kevin Nagle is Sac Republic FC's majority owner. He says the regional support that now includes an NFL franchise in the Bay Area is important to the soccer team's efforts to land an expansion spot.

"When we went and spoke to MLS Commissioner Garber and Deputy Commissioner Abbott, they shared with us a number of times things they wanted to see in an MLS-type team. The reality of it is is that we feel we've built something so that we feel they can not say no," Nagle says.

Niners President Paraag Marathe says this is the first time the club has joined an ownership group in another sport.

"Coming here in the last several months, I mean, it's going through a big shift and it's exciting to be a part of that and to see it. Obviously with what Chris and Vivek are doing with the Kings and now what Kevin and Warren are doing with the Republic. It's really fun to be a part of it," says Marathe.

Just prior to the Niners joining the effort, Sacramento Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive joined the Republic as a minority owner.

The additions of cash and regional influence could move Sacramento ahead of two groups in Minneapolis that are also seeking an MLS expansion spot.

One group includes an existing minor league team. The other group has the backing of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Niners will use their recent experience building Levi Stadium to help the Republic design a new soccer stadium at the Railyards.

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