Las Vegas is inching closer to securing a bid for the next Major League Soccer expansion team. Billionaire Wes Edens is backing Las Vegas’ bid, which will be vying with 12 other cities for four new franchises that MLS plans to award by 2020. “We are very pleased that one of our first major investors has stepped forward publicly on behalf of our project,” said Nick Stone, managing partner at Findlay Sports and Entertainment, which is spearheading the Las Vegas proposal. “Wes is a titan in the financial world and his involvement with our project will bring immediate, international credibility to our organization.”

Wes Edens has agreed to join the Findlay Sports and Entertainment partnership that is representing Las Vegas. The other investors in the local bid include Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and representatives from the Cordish Company, a nationwide developer that has been building sports-entertainment facilities across the country. The MLS expansion team would play in a new, outdoor stadium at Symphony Park, which is one of the most important development projects underway in downtown Las Vegas.

The league hasn’t said when it will announce expansion cities. But once the league does, Wes Edens and Stone will have to move quickly if they expect to secure a team for Las Vegas. They hope to begin construction of the stadium within 90 days of being awarded an MLS franchise. If Findlay Sports & Entertainment is named an expansion city without bringing on additional investors, it would be required to pay $100 million upfront and share profits with the league. MLS expansion is a two-step process that involves teams competing against 11 other cities for four spots in the United States’ top soccer division.

Wes Edens owns the Milwaukee Bucks NBA franchise. Edens co-owns Fortress Investment Group, which he founded in 1998 after receiving his MBA at Oregon State University. He has been ranked on the FORTUNE Magazine list of “The World’s Most Powerful People” and also created New Media Investment Group Inc., formerly known as GateHouse Media Inc., one of the largest media companies in the United States.

Connect Wes at professional network: http://Linkedin.com/in/wesley-edens-a6b19b3a