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SC STL Joins 11 Other Cities, Submits Application for MLS Expansion Franchise

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With the deadline today, MLS has officially received twelve applications for two MLS expansion franchises, according to multiple sources. It is widely considered that Sacremento, which has a stadium plan in place, and St. Louis, remain the favorites to be awarded teams #25 and #26. St. Louis Public Radio has the latest on the stadium funding effort in St. Louis. You can read nextSTL coverage of SC STL here. MLS has said it will announce expansion franchises later this year.

Statement from SC STL:

___________________________

LOUIS OWNERSHIP GROUP FORMALLY SUBMITS APPLICATION FOR MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER EXPANSION TEAM

ST. LOUIS, January 31, 2017 – An ownership group from Missouri today formally submitted an application for a Major League Soccer expansion team that would play its matches in a new 20,000-seat stadium to be built in Downtown St. Louis, a city that for generations has been considered the traditional home of soccer in the United States.

The St. Louis ownership group, SC STL, filed the application and supporting documents with MLS Commissioner Don Garber and MLS President and Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott.  The submission of the application was followed by a phone call between the league office and SC STL lead owner and chairman Paul Edgerley.

“It is a privilege to represent St. Louis in the effort to bring Major League Soccer to the city,” Edgerley said.  “Formally filing the application for an MLS expansion team is an important milestone.   We’ve spent a lot of time with MLS officials and feel that St. Louis is very well positioned to be awarded a club.  There is still a long way to go, but thanks to the recent progress made possible through collaboration with city officials, we are very close to bringing Major League Soccer and a multi-purpose stadium to the downtown area.”

Edgerley, a senior advisor at Bain Capital and a Managing Director with VantEdge Partners, is joined on the SC STL’s Executive Committee by three other officers who include Jim Kavanaugh, the Vice Chairman of SC STL and CEO of World Wide Technology.

“The timing is right to bring MLS to St. Louis and St. Louis is ready,” said Kavanaugh, who is also the Founder of Saint Louis FC, which plays in the United Soccer League.  “We have an incredible soccer history, soccer infrastructure and fan following that deserves Major League Soccer.  With the Rams leaving our community, St. Louis deserves an ownership group committed to the growth and development of St. Louis.  To that end, we will do all we can to make sure St.  Louis is announced later this year as a member of the Expansion Class of 2020.”

Terry Matlack, Managing Director of Tortoise Capital in Kansas City and a Partner in VantEdge Partners, is also a Vice Chair of SC STL while Dave Peacock, formerly President of Anheuser-Busch, serves on the Executive Committee of SC STL.

The proposed stadium will generate 450 start-up and construction jobs and 428 permanent jobs from team/stadium operations.  It will be located virtually adjacent to and west of historic St. Louis Union Station in Downtown St. Louis on 21 acres of property that will soon be vacated when new highway interchanges are introduced to accommodate the relocation of the National Geospatial Agency.

The stadium would complete one of the great corridors of sports, culture and entertainment in the nation, with residents and visitors able to visit within one mile the new Gateway Arch grounds, new Kiener Plaza, Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village, CityGarden, Scottrade Center and Peabody Opera House, St. Louis Union Station and new MLS stadium.  The corridor will be completely walkable and accessible via three current Metro Link stations, with more than 1,000 new parking spaces planned for the stadium to complement ample parking options that already exist nearby.

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The 12 markets submitting applications for an MLS expansion franchise:

Charlotte, NC
Big Lead: Marcus Smith, CEO of Speedway Motorsports
Stadium: $175M / 22,000 seats

Cincinnati
Bid Lead: Carl Lindner III, co-CEO of American Financial Group Inc., majority owner of FC Cincinnati soccer team
Stadium: UC Nippert Stadium / scouting new stadium locations

Detroit
Bid Lead: Tom Gores-Detroit Pistons owner, and Dan Gilbert-Cleveland Cavaliers owner
Stadium: Downtown Detroit / $1B mixed-use development / 25,000 seats

Nashville
Bid Lead: John Ingram, chairman of Ingram Industries Inc.
Stadium: $110M / focused on Fairgrounds Nashville site

Raleigh/Durham
Bid Lead: Steve Malik-Carolina RailHawks owner
Stadium: $150M / renovated stadium or new stadium at undisclosed site

Indianapolis
Bid Lead: Ersal Ozdemir-Indy Eleven owner, real estate developer
Stadium: $100M / exploring potential sites

Phoenix
Bid Lead: Berke Bakay, president and CEO of Kona Grill, advertising executive Tim Riester, JLL Managing Director Mark Detmer and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy-Phoenix Rising FC owner
Stadium: 15-acre site near Tempe/Scottsdale

Sacramento
Bid Lead: Warren Smith, president of Sacramento Republic FC
Stadium: Plan in place for 20,000-plus-seat facility

St. Louis
Bid Lead: SC STL, comprised by former Bain Capital executive Paul Edgerley, World Wide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh and former Anheuser Busch president Dave Peacock
Stadium: $140M / downtown site west of Union Station

San Antonio
Bid Lead:
Behind the bid: SS&E-San Antonio Spurs owner
Stadium: Upgrade to 8,000-seat Toyota Field

San Diego
Bid Lead: Mike Stone, founder of FS Investors, former Qualcomm President Steve Altman, technology entrepreneurs Massih and Masood Tayeb, Padres owner and local investor Peter Seidler and sports media executive Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Stadium: $200M / 30,000-seat venue at Qualcomm Stadium site

Tampa/St. Petersburg
Bid Lead: Bill Edwards-Tampa Bay Rowdies owner
Stadium: $80M renovation of Al Lang Stadium

{proposed St. Louis MLS stadium – image via SC STL}

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  • Brian Randazzo

    Honest concern: The frustrations around what happened with the Rams and the political voices saying no to MLS will cause the Blues and Scottrade to not get a fair look at money needed for improvements. The great Blues ownership deserves it and that facility is missing out on event opportunities due to lack of upgrades. Taking care of that is my top priority even though I would love an MLS team. Again, just fear that they all will effect each other negatively…

    • jhoff1257

      The MLS stadium will be voted upon by the people. If the people say no, then it’s not happening. Scottrade renovations are just a simple bill that needs to be passed by the Board of Aldermen. Both the MLS and Scottrade proposals passed committee yesterday.

      As far as my two cents on the Blues, an ownership group made up of nearly a dozen multi-millionaires should be putting far more money into this. $135 million in renovations and the City will be on the hook for nearly $105 million. Utterly ridiculous.

      • Brian Randazzo

        Do you agree that a successful city/ownership partnership should involve both sides having skin in the game? You are correct, that ratio seems lopsided for this specific renovation, but I would have to really look at numbers before I comment on the ownership not pitching in their fair share. My initial feeling is that this ownership group has invested back into the team and community much more than they have ran with profits…

        • jhoff1257

          “…but I would have to really look at numbers before I comment on the ownership not pitching in their fair share.”

          The numbers have been pretty well reported on by the local press, including this site. Maybe have a look?

          The ownership group’s job is to invest in the team they own. The City’s finances are already in poor shape, including a recent credit rating downgrade. Ownership should be paying significantly more.

  • Joe s

    Sorry if this ends up being a double post… There are still 8 NASL markets remaining- North Carolina, Indianapolis, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Edmonton, Jacksonville, Puerto Rico,

    If MLS wants to put NASL out of business, they can use this as the
    opportunity. However, NASL is struggling to hang on and may not survive
    one more entire season. Currently there are two MLS teams in New York,
    one in San Jose (competes with San Francisco), and one expected MLS team in
    Miami. This alone addresses 3/8 markets and should be enough to finish
    off NASL. But, if MLS does not feel that is adequate enough, the next
    two most desirable markets would be North Caroliina and Indianapolis.
    For that reason I think NC has a shot at getting an MLS team.

    Here are the soccer teams in the current proposed cities:
    Charlotte – USL team (2015 and prior)
    Cincinnati – USL team (2016)
    Detroit –
    Nashville – USL team expected in 2018
    Raleigh/Durham – NASL team
    Indianapolis – NASL team
    Phoenix –
    Sacramento – USL team (2014)
    St Louis – USL team (2015)
    San Diego –
    San Antonio – USL team (2016- transferred from NASL)
    Tampa/St Petersburg – USL team (2016 – transferred from NASL)

  • SoccerFan

    Fingers crossed! I hope everything works out.

  • Joe s

    Technically these teams will be more like 27 and 28 since Los Angeles is getting another team next year and Miami is pending their stadium deal. The only reason this matters is because expansion is expected to only get to 28 teams in the foreseeable future.

    • Alex Ihnen

      There are 22 teams playing in the league now. LA and Miami are #23 and #24. The next two announced will be #25 and #26.

      • Joe s

        My bad. Thanks for clarifying. I was thinking they were sitting at 24 with Atlanta and Minnesota but I jumped the gun.