If MLS pre-announcing that they only had one expansion team left was supposed to work up a frenzy of cities bidding to land that slot, man, is it ever working. The latest is San Antonio, where the minor-league Scorpions appear to have convinced the city council to kick in toward expanding their stadium from 9,000 to 19,000 seats in order to be MLS-ready. From the Scorpions’ press release:
The cost to expand Toyota Field is estimated at $38-45 million. Designed by Pro Sports Developments (PSD) of San Antonio, the expansion envisions the addition of 10,000 seats to the existing 8,000, with 9,000 of the new seats on a new upper tier that would create a bowl-like configuration around the playing field…
Eighteen suites accommodating up to 24 fans apiece would be added to the east side of the stadium, bringing the total number of Toyota Field suites to 32. Plans also call for three new clubs – the East Club with 130 balcony seats on the east suite level, the West Club with 40 observation-terrace seats on the existing west suite level and a Members Club at the southeast corner of the stadium. Club patrons and suite holders would be allowed to use a new entrance directly across from existing reserved parking.
Other proposed enhancements include concessions, restrooms and merchandise outlets on each stadium level to efficiently meet the level of fan demand at halftime; field lighting for Division 1 network broadcasting; and a team store accessible from inside and outside the stadium.
All that for $45 million seems … ambitious, let’s call it? If they can pull it off, it’s not a huge expense as these things go. But it looks like the Scorpions owners would still be asking San Antonio taxpayers to chip in an unknown amount: Five city councilmembers have pledged to pass a resolution saying they’ll “assist” in luring an MLS team, whatever that’s supposed to mean.
Also unclear is whether the expansion plans would only be approved contingent on San Antonio actually getting an MLS team, which you sure hope would be the case, but you never know. In the meantime: pretty pictures!