MLS in St. Louis!: A Compilation of Facts
It’s Thursday night and for the third time this week I heard a MLS announcement was to be delayed. Suddenly, I see a tweet telling me to be ready for an announcement within the hour. I thank the heavens for a warning via the buddy-leak system and brace myself for the big news.
Many articles have been released before this one, but let’s compile everything we know.
Tonight’s announcement initially came from outlets being informed by the newly pressed expansion group “SC STL”--formerly the MLS2STL exploratory committee. No word yet on whether that is to be the team name, but I am inclined to believe it’s not at this stage. Here’s a list of stadium and team facts:
Biggest previously unknown of the day: the primary investor for the group is Paul Edgerley, who is a Boston based former executive of Bain Capital and current partner of VantEdge Partners. He was raised in Kansas City.
Other members of the ownership group include: Bill DeWitt III, president of St. Louis Cardinals, David Gross-Loh, a managing director at Bain Capital, Robert Hermann Jr., Jim Kavanaugh, CEO of World Wide Technology and founder of Saint Louis FC, Terry Matlack, Managing Director in VantEdge Partners, Dave Peacock, former President of Anheuser-Busch and current President of the St. Louis Sports Commission, Chris Zimmerman, President/CEO of Scottrade Center, Peabody Opera House and the St. Louis Blues.
There has not been an announcement from MLS on selecting SC STL at this point, but many have written of a “handshake deal”. One thing to be noted, however, is that MLS did nothing to help publicize expansion competitor Foundry St. Louis, whereas MLS seems to be in full PR purge mode for SC STL.
The stadium is to be placed adjacent to and west of St. Louis Union Station in Downtown St. Louis on a 24 acre plot of land currently holding seldom used exit ramps. This land is controlled by the Missouri Department of Transportation, but the exclusive option to purchase the land is owned by SC STL. They are also taking advantage of the new highway interchanges being put in place due to the large National Geospatial Agency site north of the highway.
The stadium capacity will be 20,000 with the ability to expand to 28,500 and will cost $200 million. SC STL plans to cover the expansion fee to MLS as well as 60% of the stadium costs and will seek financial assistance from the state.
The city will own the stadium facility.
The stadium project is subject to a public vote in April 2017.
The team is to acquire and incorporate Saint Louis FC and youth system Scott Gallagher Soccer Club as well as Worldwide Technology Soccer Park.
The team could compete by the year 2021
Press releases, stadium renderings, and more can be found on the Saint Louis FC website (while you're there, take a look at the USL team that will become our MLS team)
This is just the beginning--the stage producing most pure form of joy--not yet encumbered by bureaucracy and internet trolls (ok, maybe that's already started). St. Louis is said to join Sacramento for the next top seats for expansion in MLS. Things are happening and most everyone seems to be behind it. But, there is much to do to win the public vote and manage the red tape of acquiring the land. That said, the people in this group know how to get things done in the St. Louis sports world and have the money to back up the moves. I think we can all be confident in what is to come. -PG