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Volume 25 No. 64

Facilities

FC Cincinnati has now met all requirements from MLS to land an expansion franchise
Photo: FC CINCINNATI

The Cincinnati City Council last night "voted to sign off on a community benefits agreement for FC Cincinnati's West End stadium plan," according to Cameron Knight of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. The amended agreement came "after nearly 10 hours of negotiations between the team and the neighborhood." The vote is the last action City Hall needed "to finish the package to build the 21,000-seat soccer stadium." FC Cincinnati has now "met the last major requirement outlined" by MLS to "secure a franchise." One major change to the agreement approved last night was that the West End Community Council is now a "full party to the contract instead of a third-party beneficiary." If city council "approves the benefits agreement, the only thing that stands in the way" of FC Cincinnati's MLS bid is MLS itself. FC Cincinnati will "meet with MLS and try to secure its bid to the league." The league has "given no timeline on when it will finalize its decision on expansion teams" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/17). Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority President Laura Brunner said that the city's port authority "will own the stadium and lease it to FC Cincinnati." The team said that MLS Commissioner Don Garber and league execs "will visit Cincinnati and tour the West End site at some point although that date hasn't been determined" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 5/16). 

IN SCRAMBLE MODE: In Cincinnati, Patrick Brennan writes as things currently stand, FC Cincinnati "would be in something of a scramble to ready itself" for the '19 season if it received the proverbial "green light" from MLS officials. But the organization has "proven itself adept at operating under tight deadlines." Every day FC Cincinnati has been "unable to close the door on its MLS bid," a '19 entrance to the league becomes "increasingly unlikely" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/17). 

David Beckham's MLS ownership group has "taken so long to produce the plans" for a Miami soccer stadium that hopes of putting the lease on the August ballot "have dried up, and it now appears the measure couldn't be voted on before November," according to Joey Flechas of the MIAMI HERALD. The delay could "nudge the ballot question into tricky political territory as the November ballot -- already jammed with 13 state constitutional amendments -- might also include a loaded menu of city ballot questions involving leases of public land." It is unclear if the city-owned Melreese golf course has "become the front-runner" for an MLS stadium, as Miami Beckham United has "not publicly indicated so." City officials have said that the soccer group "has promised renderings and economic impact figures for a Melreese stadium." There are "longstanding plans to build on nine acres in Overtown that were approved by MLS and have never been ruled out, and Beckham's group has met with Doral officials to discuss interest in privately owned land in the suburban west Miami-Dade city" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 5/16). 

In San Jose, David DeBolt noted the A’s "have the blessing" of the Oakland City Council to study both the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and Howard Terminal sites in their "quest to build a new ballpark in Oakland." The city council approved an “exclusive negotiating agreement” with the A’s, allowing the two to "begin talks about constructing a ballpark at the Coliseum, the team’s home for 50 years." The city will "negotiate with the A’s over the next nine months" while team President Dave Kaval studies whether the 112-acre East Oakland site is the "right fit." The city can "extend the negotiations an additional three months" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 5/16).

PUBLIC APPROVAL: In Boston, Sean Sweeney noted Foxborough residents "voted in favor of the Revolution’s plan to expand their Gillette Stadium training facilities." The design is "only conceptual," as the club still has to "go through the permitting process with the town." Construction on the facility is "expected to start this year." The team "currently holds a majority of its practice sessions on a fenced-in grass pitch nestled in a wooded area just to the south" of Gillette Stadium. The expanded complex "would add three full-sized fields -- two grass, one turf -- as well as new parking lots along Keith Road." A building "would also be constructed, which will consist of offices for all technical staff between the first team and the Academy, coaches offices, and locker rooms" (BOSTONSPORTSJOURNAL.com, 5/15).

TEXAS FOREVER: Univ. of Texas AD Chris Del Conte said that he has "hired an architectural firm to design an UT-themed hall of honor that will take up 30,000 square feet inside the north end zone of Royal-Memorial Stadium." Del Conte added that the project will cost just under $10M and "half the money has already been raised." Construction will begin after the '18 football season (HOOKEM.com, 5/15).