Cities Struggle to Meet MLS Stadium Requirements | Athletic Business

Cities Struggle to Meet MLS Stadium Requirements

Major League Soccer may not have as many options as it expected as it moves toward final decisions in expanding its membership to 28 clubs.

Applications for the league's four remaining spots, after Los Angeles and Miami become numbers 23 and 24, were due on January 31.

Of the 12 original applicants, almost all are facing dramatic setbacks in their plans to come up with a suitable Major League venue.

St. Louis

St Louis’ proposed business tax to help fund the construction of a downtown stadium was defeated in an April referendum. 

San Diego

San Diego’s request for the expedited purchase of land at the market rate was denied by the city council on Monday.


The City of Charlotte has declined to funnel a portion of the revenue from its tourism tax toward a new stadium effort.


The Indiana state legislature has been reluctant to pass a bill that would allow taxes generated at and near a proposed stadium to fund its construction.


Wayne County officials have not yet agreed to hand over a plot of downtown land in exchange for Detroit owners paying for the construction of a new jail and courthouse.

Tampa Bay and Phoenix

Clubs in Tampa Bay and Phoenix have foregone asking for public money, and are instead struggling to privately finance their respective renovations and new construction.


Cincinnati is waiting for permission to use incremental tax gains generated by its new facility to help fund construction.


A new stadium at the Nashville Fairgrounds has been endorsed by the city’s mayor, but the club is still waiting to hear what the city’s contribution to the project will be.

San Antonio

San Antonio has not yet revealed how it plans to finance the renovation and expansion of Toyota Field.


Raleigh has made little progress to create support for a public MLS stadium.


Meanwhile, Sacramento has fulfilled all of the MLS’ venue criteria and is still waiting to be given the go ahead from the league to build.

MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbot told Sports Illustrated that the league is not discouraged, and that the process takes time.

“We recognize stadium projects are complicated, but we know — and our history shows us — that when you have committed groups in communities interested in attracting MLS teams, they find a way to get those projects done,” he said.

“The advantage we have today is given the growing popularity of the league, and the interest from multiple markets across the country, it helps our case and helps us finalize projects.”

The 12 hopefuls still have six months before the MLS board of governors is scheduled to meet to select its two new clubs, and to lay out plans to choose the final two in 2018.

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