Precourt Sports Ventures revealed plans for an MLS stadium in Austin, should the Crew move to the city, on a 24-acre, city-owned property at McKalla Place that includes "three access roads, limited on-site parking and a canopy encompassing the entire seating bowl," according to Kevin Lyttle of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. PSV aims to "make a proposal to the city within the next two weeks." The site has been "largely vacant since it was purchased from a chemical company" in '95. City Council Member Kathie Tovo noted that there "wasn’t much information in the site plan but likes parts of what she saw." Tovo said, “The three access points are a real positive. ... I’m encouraged that the Precourt group is thinking about ways the site can benefit the community.” The site plan "includes 1,000 parking spaces for cars and 500 spaces for bikes." PSV President Dave Greeley said that there are "approximately 10,000 spaces within a 20-minute walk." Deals would "have to be negotiated with those owners." Fans will "find shade once inside the stadium" as there is a "canopy planned over the 20,000-seating area." The plan also "includes music and performance space east of the stadium" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. 5/16). SOCCER AMERICA's Paul Kennedy noted if PSV "wants to leave Columbus for Austin -- into a temporary site -- for the 2019 season, it will likely need a decision at one of the two city council meetings in June." The next meeting after that "isn't until August, perhaps too late for planning purposes" (SOCCERAMERICA.com, 5/16). PRO SOCCER USA's Evan Weese noted Austin-based landscape architect TBG Partners and design firm Gensler are "cited as contributors to the rendering" (PROSOCCERUSA.com, 5/15).
Minnesota United said that construction of Allianz Field will now cost $250M and be "paid in full by United's ownership group," according to Andy Greder of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. United Owner Bill McGuire said, "As we move ahead and get a better understanding of the pieces as we build it out and all the bids, we make some modifications and stuff. It's accumulating." McGuire: "I don't think there is money wasted here. It's to make a great experience for the fans and for the players." The stadium is more than 50% complete and "scheduled to open" in '19 (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/16).
GOING FOR GOLD: Greder notes once Allianz Field is completed, it will host the USMNT and "up to three other teams in two matches in the CONCACAF Gold Cup." In the biennial tournament, the U.S. will "face off against an undetermined opponent in one game, and the countries in the other match also are undecided with 10 teams still going through qualifying for the expanded 16-team field." The full tournament schedule is "expected to be released later this year," with the U.S. game as the tournament's opener on reportedly June 18. Allianz Field was picked as one of 15 venues in the U.S. to host games "not only because the stadium is expected to be one of the finest in the U.S., but because of the support the venue and the sport have received from the community" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/16). In Minneapoolis, Megan Ryan notes hosting the Gold Cup games are the "first step in making Allianz Field and the Twin Cities a destination for soccer fans across the globe." Minnesota United investor Ben Grossman said that if he had "tried to pitch this idea a year ago, it never would have succeeded." However, all he "had to do was show CONCACAF and U.S. Soccer the designs of Allianz Field, and United supporters singing 'Wonderwall' after a victory, to convince both that this was a market to tap into and a place to call home" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/16).
A new high-tech, baseball attraction is being planned near Phoenix by Fleetwood Projects dubbed “Home: The Baseball Experience,” which is designed to showcase the role of tech and analytics in baseball and recreate various vantage points such as a bullpen, press box and dugout. It also plans to incorporate elements such as VR and holograms. There is not a specific site yet for the project, but the group is in discussions with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community about a potential site in the Talking Stick Entertainment District. That area in Scottsdale also serves as the Spring Training Home for the D-backs and Rockies. Marc Appleman, who is creating the attraction along with Fleetwood Projects Chair Rick Fizdale, said, “Our goal is to reinforce the emotional connection people have with baseball and to deepen their understanding of the game. It will not be a museum with artifacts and memorabilia under glass, but rather an experiential attraction where guests can be active participants.” Appleman currently serves as Society for American Baseball Research CEO, but will leave that post in July for Fleetwood Projects. Fizdale formerly was Leo Burnett Worldwide Chair & CEO.
BIG PROJECTIONS: Appleman and Fizdale have retained several entities for the project, including AECOM, which has conducted an initial feasibility study projecting a potential annual attendance of more than 300,000. That figure would surpass the numbers seen by the Baseball HOF and many other sports museums. HKS Architects is handling design work for the "Home" project, while BRC Imagination Arts is working on the interactive, tech-focused exhibits. The project currently carries a projected opening of early ’21. The "Home" initiative bears some similarity to the Baseball HOF's traveling, tech-driven tour, “We Are Baseball,” that operated in '16-17. But at more than 60,000 square feet, the Fleetwood Projects effort is designed to be a larger and permanently established attraction.