FC Cincinnati unveils stadium vaportecture, downplays $100m in tax money needed to build it

FC Cincinnati has unveiled renderings of its new stadium plans! Do they have fireworks? Do they have spotlights aimed pointlessly at the sky? Do they have poorly proportioned people and soccer goals that defy physics? You betcha!

Basically, it looks like a soccer stadium, only way more orange. Have your own fun picking apart the artistic skills of the renderers — my favorite is the way in the top photo there appears to be light streaming upward from the soccer pitch itself, which will no doubt be equipped with a fiber-optic turf surface — and keep in mind all the while that the main goal of this exercise is to get taxpayers in Cincinnati (or maybe Newport, Kentucky, across the Ohio River) to cough up as much as $100 million toward building this thing, because who can say no to women in tank tops holding scarves?


21 comments on “FC Cincinnati unveils stadium vaportecture, downplays $100m in tax money needed to build it

  1. I love how the skyline is across the Ohio River, but apparently only about 20 yards away on the second rendering.

    The sad part is that FC Cincinnati are a legitimately good story – they have been a surprise success in a city that wasn’t necessarily on peoples’ radar as a soccer hotbed, and they have brought a heck of a lot more dates to a Nippert Stadium that until now has had all of six dates per season to look forward to.

    Of course, it figures that the endgame is nothing more than a publicly financed stadium boondoggle. Is it a better plan than pumping $200m into US Bank Arena for 1st-round NCAA MBB games? Yes. Is it a good plan for Cincinnati? Sadly no. So it stands to reason that the only two alternatives for Cincinnati are:

    1) Allow yourself to be bilked out of tens of millions for a stadium, hope to get an MLS team
    2) Refuse to pay, presumably lose the MLS bid, presumably lose the interest of an owner who will then have a perfect out (“I tried to build something for this city, but unfortunately I never got the support”), presumably lose the team and the “club”

    One would hope that professional sports could be run in America as something other than a vehicle towards gaining subsidies for the well-off, but apparently that’s not the case in Cincinnati.

    • There is another option available. If FC Cincinnati needs 100 Million for a new stadium, They DO NOT have to dig into the public taxpayers pockets to get it. Let the Actual FANS & the Community be voluntary investors in the stadium. People can buy stock shares in the stadium & be owners getting PAID stock dividends from their stock ownership in the stadium. -What would you rather do Get TAXED again for another stadium benefiting the wealthy team owners OR be investors in the stadium, own Stock Shares and get paid cash dividends from stadium revenues while also supporting your Team FC Cincinnati? Seems like that’s a clear & obvious choice.

      • If FC Cincinnati wanted to pay out “cash dividends,” they could just, you know, go to a bank and borrow the money and agree to pay it back.

  2. Here’s a fun fact, btw:

    GE got $112 million in incentives to commit to 15 years worth of 1,800 jobs paying an average of $79,000, to be located in a Global Service Center in a riverfront development called “The Banks”. The state bore more than half, with City and County contributing the rest.

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2014/06/23/ge-incentives-approved/11256905/

    It bears mentioning that every company worth its salt engages in these sorts of tactics. Cincinnati “outbid” the rest of America in incentives offered to GE, and as a result GE graciously committed itself to employing a certain number of people in the area for a pre-defined amount of time as well as pretending to give a shit about the area for just as long. It’s the same way Cincinnati lost Chiquita to Charlotte (and how’d that one work out for Charlotte?). There are always plenty of hot-air arguments surrounding the whole thing – GE has mentioned the great talent pool in Cincy/NKY, Chiquita at the time lambasted the loss of airline connections in CVG – but at the end of the day it’s an auction, plain and simple.

    Which brings us back to the amount. $112 million to be spent that brought a quantifiable number of jobs to Cincinnati, of a pre-defined quality. Leaving aside all ancillary benefits such as there may be (and these should be debated just as they are here in the context of stadiums, and subject to the same scrutiny with regard to who benefits from them): Does it make more sense for the public to spend about $100 million on a stadium, or does it make more sense to spend about $100 million creating a quantifiable number of jobs in the area?

    • As long as their are some dumb communities out there it makes it hard for others to make good decisions.

      As far as economic development subsidies tied to jobs, those make more sense, but generally are also not a great idea in large part because if the company later tries to back out of their end communities almost always let them. The money is already spent, and if GE say created only 200 jobs, do you really want to endanger those for money you spent 10 years ago, and get into a lawsuit with GE, or Delta or whomever.

      But definitely the incentives paid to manufacturers should shine a light on how terrible the incentives for sports are, as even the manufacturing ones are fairly questionable in wisdom, and they have wildly more concrete and measurable returns.

  3. I wonder if FCC will continue to flood the market with free tickets when and if they move to Northern Ky..

    • I read somewhere that they have 10k season ticket holders. You can safely assume around 5k walk up buyers. So it appears at least 15k are paying for lower division soccer in the soccer resistant Midwest.

  4. I like that the grass cut lines go one way when looking through the roof and the other way when looking over the shoulder of the girl in a tank top with a scarf. Or is the field aligned to be wide, but short – that would explain why they are playing 9v9.

    As to the location – I looked at the article and there are three possible sites – the preferred site is on the river in Kentucky (hence the fireworks over the river) but other diagrams show no streets with a plaza around the stadium. The other two are both in Cincinnati, neither with a river. One is just north of down town (West End/Over-the-Rhine – why downtown is suddenly closer) and the other northeast of downtown (Oakley). The architect openly disses these options.

    Fortunately, the “facility would be a sort of horseshoe shape with a berm in the open end” that could fit into any of the three locations. Is it too easy to say my favorite flaw is that the pictures look nothing like the plans?

    • Although Newport, Kentucky seems to have become the front runner, I wouldn’t say it is FCC’s preferred option. FCC wants their $100 million of corporate welfare, which all things equal would be easier to get from Hamilton County due to wealth, population size, state laws, etc. And they prefer to stay on the Ohio side of the river for obvious reasons. So I do believe them when they say they want to stay in Cincinnati (Hamilton County).

      However, it’s not working out as the team hoped. Hamilton County citizens are fed up with stadium deals and sports subsidies. And because of that, politicians aren’t exactly lining up to back an unpopular stadium tax or subsidy.

      I think FCC originally included Newport as a top 3 site for negotiating leverage. But it’s not getting them any leverage. It’s looking like we’re winning the battle to avoid any further stadium taxes/subsidies in Hamilton County, while Newport is showing more interest in FCC. So all that, combined with the ease of acquiring the land, has apparently catapulted Newport into front-runner status. We’ll see how it progresses

      Jeff Capell
      Chairman, No More Stadium Taxes

      • I read somewhere that the owner’s are asking for tax money from an already existing tax that has to be spent on stadium or possibly convention investment ? Is this true ?

        • Nope — it’s tax revenue from an existing tax that could otherwise be spent on whatever (or repealed entirely):

          http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics-extra/2017/05/27/px-no-new-taxes-fc-cincinnati-stadium-but-where-100-m-come-from/348924001/

  5. I’m so glad I don’t live anywhere near Ohio, for a variety of reasons, bad sports spending being one of them.

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t toss in an obligatory “Go Warriors!” here.

    • Congratulations on your win, MikeM. That is a really good basketball team.

      It’s on my “bucket-list” to see the Nuggets win one, but I already know it ain’t gonna happen, you know…..

    • You certainly may! Even better would be if you start using it yourself, though — I think it only takes three independent citations to be considered for inclusion in the OED…

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