The push to bring Major League Soccer in St.Louis is back on again after reports that the Taylor Family who owns Enterprise Holdings, the largest car rental company in the world based in Clayton MO., is offering to privately finance the proposed soccer stadium in downtown St.Louis. Early this past week, Missouri Government Mike Parson met with Major League Soccer officials about the proposed stadium site next to Union Station that was defeated on April 2017 ballot, that was asking for $60 million dollars in public funding on the stadium. Since last year vote two cities, Nashville and Cincinnati were award an Major League Soccer team, becoming the 25th and 26th teams in the League. St. Louis faces much longer odds as only 2 expansion slots are available which the league plans to expanded to 28 teams by the next couple of years and the cities that are heavily favorite to be the final two markets are Phoenix and Detroit while other cities, San Diego and Sacramento also faces considerable odds.
Phoenix is ranked 5th as the largest cities in the U.S. and are planning to build a privately finance soccer stadium. With the sizable market that is back by Billionaire investors of their current United Soccer League team, Phoenix Rising FC; it will be hard not to award them a slot of a Major League Soccer expansion team. Detroit was a finalist to be the 26th teams to be awards a team but was given to Cincinnati. The City officials in Detroit are planning to remodel Ford Field similar to what Atlanta did to their stadium that is shared by the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC.
St. Louis chances in getting a Major League Soccer would have been good had the Taylor Family would have gotten involved last year without the help of a public vote. Now those odds are very long and even-though, Major League Soccer officials have visited Governor and City officials it still won’t guarantee an expansion team for the Gateway City. So my solution would be to build soccer specific stadium next to Union Stations that seats between 8,000 to 12,000 for their current soccer club, Saint Louis FC. The team is enjoying one of its finest season as they make the push to playoffs in the United Soccer League. While the team average between 4,000-5,000 a game this season. building a soccer stadium in downtown St. Louis will unified the region and generate revenue to both the city and county. Lost in this past week in regards to St. Louis MLS expansion push was the announcement that the United Soccer League has formed 3 tier soccer league pyramid similar to England’s, English Football League tables. Soccer fans were excited about the news because in the next couple of years USL could eventually have promotion and relegation according the USL President Jake Edwards. “What I’m focused on over the next few years is turning USL League One into a strong, competitive, professional league that is going to have infrastructure, stadiums, ownership and quality of players that lends itself to looking at [pro/rel] down the road.” The news of this proposal sent signals that the USL wants to be different from Major League Soccer who currently have a close soccer system.
There are USL teams that have soccer stadium in downtown such as San Antonio, Phoenix, Sacramento, Raleigh NC, home of North Carolina FC, Rio Grande TX., Pittsburgh and Hartford who will be playing in 2019, and other USL teams that currently building soccer specific stadiums in their perspective home metro areas like Louisville, Charlotte NC and Tampa/St.Petersburg. I still have my hopes for a MLS team in St.Louis, I would love to see I-70 derby between Sporting Kansas City and Saint Louis FC to have bragging rights, but if St. Louis doesn’t get a Major League Soccer expansion team the other option would be to build the soccer stadium next to Union Station in a small capacity and follow the paths of Louisville City, Raleigh NC and Tampa/St.Petersburg who are following the vision of United Soccer League.
Louisville City FC stadium rendure
5 thoughts on “St. Louis other Stadium Option”
Grammarly. Get it. You need it.
Well written article here. However, I just dont see a multi-million dollar stadium in downtown as a viable option for a USL team. In many regards the USL is seen as a “semi-pro” version of the MLS to many people. Franchises in the MLS are using USL teams as a way to develop their own players, and it is known that the owners of the USL offered a relegation system to the MLS which was flat out rejected. Basically not even considered (which I do not support. I think this would have been awesome.)
After going to school in Saint Louis, and working at Saint Louis FC as an intern for some months, I can tell you that I don’t believe that it will have the grip on the community like you say it would. Downtown is dead space right now with the exception of Busch Stadium and Ball Park village. It will take years (think 5-10 if not more) for the USL to develop and i still do not believe that it will gain enough ground on the MLS to have devoted fanbases like Sporting KC, Atlanta, Portland, etc. I understand all of your points here, but in my own opinion a new stadium in downtown for a USL team would be a waste of time, money, and space.
Now if the MLS announces that they would expand the league to somewhere around 30-32 teams this is not a bad idea. They would need to design the stadium so that it could be expanded after a couple of seasons if granted an MLS franchise. Otherwise, they’re shit out of luck and you’re locking yourself into the USL with no way out due to the stadium and fanbase requirements of the MLS.
Thank You Mike
First off, I completely disagree that St. Louis is a real long shot. MLS wants a team in STL. St. Louis checks all the boxes:
– The venue will be privately funded.
-The Taylor family could get this deal done with no issue by themselves. Their family net worth is around $13 billion. The $60 million gap is a drop in the bucket.
-MLS and Don Garber REALLY want St. Louis as an expansion team. Perfect regional rivals for Chicago, KC, Nashville, Cincy and even Minneapolis.
-St. Louis has a pro sports void with the Rams being ripped from the City.
-The stadium site is already there, ripe for redevelopment.
-The State of MO is on board, unlike the previous Governor (Greitens).
-MLS2STL has said recently, that they are still interested in bringing MLS to STL. If that group, along with local politicians, teams up with the Taylors, this deal can be done with ease. This venue will be a great connector between Downtown and the CWE. The development site area is booming with construction as we speak. It would be a great project. Not sure where you get that the area is a “dead zone”. The central corridor of St. Louis is booming with more projects to come. The nearby Cortex District is one of the fastest growing tech/innovation districts in the country.
I think this article is off and so are the commenters. MLS or bust in STL!!!
So, the MLS rejects a female owned/operated franchise with ties to one of the premier advertising resources in the US (Enterprise Rental), a privately constructed stadium in an area that already supports two major league franchises such that their attendance is in the top 10 of each? Really?
The comments about the location in downtown being off-center are from someone who is not from here, isn’t invested here and doesn’t understand the impact of having a downtown stadium on the regeneration of an area in need of foot traffic. Want a comparable? See LAFC and their new stadium in downtown LA, situated next door to Compton.