Cincinnati’s new stadium doesn’t actually win it MLS franchise, at least not yet

MLS owners met yesterday, one day after Cincinnati approved $64 million in subsidies for a new F.C. Cincinnati soccer stadium, and … didn’t actually approve F.C. Cincinnati as an expansion franchise as boosters had hoped:

There are a couple of ways to read this: Either the Cincinnati stadium approval was too unexpected for MLS owners to get all their voting ducks in a row; or they really are intent on keeping this bidding war going, and seeing if maybe Cincinnati upping the ante convinces Sacramento to throw in a few more million dollars. (Sacramento the ownership group, Sacramento the city, it almost doesn’t matter.) Regardless, MLS has to be thrilled with how this expansion shakedown is going — it wasn’t that long ago that the league was at most looking at one subsidy-rich option to choose from — so holding off a little longer can’t hurt. I mean, it’s not like Cincinnati can revoke its stadium subsidy approval now just because it’s been told it has to wait 4-6 weeks for shipping, right?


4 comments on “Cincinnati’s new stadium doesn’t actually win it MLS franchise, at least not yet

  1. “Listen, just keep piling your money on the table and we’ll tell you when it’s enough.

    Look, it’s almost 8pm and we can’t waste all day with you. We’re going home now, maybe catch some dinner and then get some rest.

    You stay here and keep piling your money on the table. When we come back tomorrow around noon or maybe one, we’ll let you know if it’s enough or not. I mean, it’s probably not going to be enough. But don’t get discouraged. Respect the process.

    You’ve got a really good chance at being one of our last ever* expansion franchises. You’re probably not the front runner, as you might expect we have a lot of other interested parties. And they have money too.

    So, keep counting out those hundreds and stacking them on the table. Maybe get a couple more tables, ok? It’s getting to the point where it takes serious time to count it all, even in stacks. And you know that time is money, right? We made sure you knew that when we told you to hire some people to count the money you are hoping to be able to give us, because clearly the counting is your financial responsibility as prospective partners, not ours.

    We’ll be back sometime tomorrow to tell you if it’s enough, don’t forget. We are busy people. And if it isn’t enough – we aren’t saying it won’t be, you understand, because we can’t possibly know that at this point – make sure you have some more cash available.

    You’re almost there. Don’t lose your nerve now.”

  2. In the vein of the old Coke-Pepsi taste tests, someone (not under MLS sway) should arrange for some sort of quality-of-play comparison between USL and MLS. Methinks the monetized difference would be less than the tens to hundreds of millions of dollars which MLS would have all believe is in existence.

    If Cincinnati would name its expansion franchise “St. Louis FC of Cincinnati,” would that move the MLS to action?

  3. “seeing if maybe Cincinnati upping the ante convinces Sacramento to throw in a few more million dollars. (Sacramento the ownership group, Sacramento the city, it almost doesn’t matter.)”

    Yes, it matters. It matters a lot.

    MLS is trying to get the Sacramento group to add an additional investor so they can continue to pay their own way. Their stadium plan is privately funded, and MLS wants to ensure that they have access to enough cash to actually pull it off.

    As far as Sacramento goes, we should be applauding the actions of MLS. They aren’t trying to pick the public pocket.

    • I very much doubt that MLS would complain if the Sacramento group got its additional money from taxpayers instead of from a private investor.