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MLS, Atlanta planning 'major announcement'

AP - Sports
Atlanta lands MLS expansion team for 2017

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FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2014 file photo, Atlanta Falcons owner and chairman Arthur Blank speaks in Atlanta. Major League Soccer is closing in on a deal with Falcons owner Arthur Blank to bring an expansion franchise to Atlanta's new downtown stadium. A top official from Blank's parent company, Kim Schreckengost, said Tuesday, April 8, 2014, negotiations continue and "we hope to complete an agreement soon." (AP Photo/John Amis, File)

ATLANTA (AP) -- Major League Soccer and Falcons owner Arthur Blank are planning a ''major announcement'' Wednesday on a proposed expansion team to play in Atlanta's new downtown stadium.

Blank has long coveted a top-level soccer team for the city, and negotiations with the MLS intensified after he reached a deal on building a new $1 billion retractable roof stadium next to the Georgia Dome. Site preparation has already started, and the facility is expected to open in 2017.

Both the MLS and a top official from Blank's organization acknowledged last week that the two sides were close to a deal. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the new team would be announced Wednesday.

Blank, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed are scheduled to attend the news conference.

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