Some days it seems like this site is turning into Soccer Pitch of Schemes. I mean, seriously, check this out:
- The Sacramento city council unanimously approved a $27 million “loan” to the new Sacramento Republic F.C. MLS team for stadium roads and traffic and transit infrastructure, which isn’t really a loan because team owner Ron Burkle will be paying it back with taxes he’d normally pay anyway.
- The Colorado Springs city council approved $13 million in public funding for a $35 million, 8,000-seat stadium for the Colorado Springs Switchbacks USL team.
- The long-rumored Queensboro F.C. has been awarded a USL franchise to begin play in 2021; this time, instead of a new soccer stadium next door to the New York Mets‘ stadium, they’ll allegedly play in a “new, modular stadium at York College in Queens that will have a capacity of around 7,500” and also “select home matches at Citi Field, home of MLB’s New York Mets.” Here is York College; I suppose you could set up a whole bunch of temporary bleachers on the track, but having enough room for seating and concessions and parking seems like a non-trivial issue, and also York College is a city university, so shouldn’t the city council really be voting on this?
- The New Mexico state legislature is set to consider spending $30 million on a $100 million stadium for New Mexico United, which is currently in the USL but could maybe be in MLS someday, if you squint just right.
- The Miami city commission put off a vote on Inter Miami‘s stadium plans, but by the time it does vote next month one vocal opponent will have been term-limited off the commission.
The reason for this flood of soccer stadium building has less to do with soccer being the sport of millennials or whatever, and more to do with there being umpteen gazillion soccer teams in the U.S. now, and more on the way, and lots of them not having brand-new stadiums of their own because sometimes there just isn’t time to do that before you have to collect some more expansion fees, you know? Which should cut both ways — if MLS and the USL alike are going to expand to every city with its own post office, you’d think that cities wouldn’t need to spend big bucks on stadium funding in order to have a shot at a franchise — but here we have Switchbacks president Nick Ragain saying of the Colorado Springs vote that “what it means is we have a long-term professional soccer team in Colorado Springs,” and nobody in the media rolling their eyes, so I guess these are questions that are not asked in polite society.
And speaking of soccer and the media not rolling their eyes, yes, an Argentine football team celebrated the reopening of its stadium with a giant holographic flaming lion as many of you have emailed and tweeted at me, but also it’s not really a hologram and fans in the stadium couldn’t even see it except on TV screens. Number of news articles pointing this out: one; number of news articles going “Oooooh, fiery lion!”: more than I can count.