Major League Soccer (MLS) is expanding at a fantastic rate. Two new teams joined the growing league for the 2015 season; Orlando City Soccer Club and New York City Football Club. Their respective on-field success or lack thereof aside, things are going very well. Let’s take a look at the five newest – or at least soon to be new – home fields for Orlando SC, Atlanta FC, Los Angeles FC, Minnesota United FC, and Miami FC.
Orlando City Soccer Club
One thing you notice if you look at all the renderings, both past and present, they’re mostly all square. Orlando City hasn’t officially released any renderings or confirmed any. But, this theme makes me think that ownership has a few guidelines and would prefer something similar to this style seen at several mid-sized clubs in Europe, not to mention taking advantage of the climate – or temperature at least.
More important than the look to me is how Orlando City plans to pay for their stadium. THEMSELVES. They plan to pay for their own stadium. Fantastic. During the expansion process there was talk of a reportedly $85 million stadium with $30 million funded privately. Now, the project sits at a reported $115 million, possibly making the old renderings upgraded a bit.
There is a story going around that this deal was signed on a bar receipt after drinks between team president Phil Rollins and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.1 I have no reason not to believe that’s how it finally went down, but this was a long drawn out negotiation. The stadium deal almost fell through in April because of a disagreement on public versus private funding.2 In the end, it’s privately funded and the Lions are going from a 60,000 seat Citrus Bowl to a 28,000ish seat soccer stadium. Good on ya OCSC.
Atlanta will come to MLS in the 2017 season and along with gracing us with their play, they’ll also bring a brand new stadium that they’ll share with the Atlanta Falcons. Both owned by Arthur Blank, of course.
The stadium you see above is going to be a whopping 65,000 seats for the Falcons, which will fill the place. However, for an MLS team, that is completely untenable. That’s why there will reportedly be retractable seats and curtains to create the proper size, atmosphere, and site lines for an MLS match. If you notice, it has a very stylish (if you like that sorta thing) pinwheel roof that can open or close, as is tradition in new stadiums. Below is a rendering of the MLS gameday setup.
A far cry from Orlando City, this stadium is slated to cost $1.2 billion. That comes with the caveat that it is an NFL stadium first and they print money. Hopefully the Falcons will help Blank payoff the costs of the stadium because the stadium is reported to cost him $600 million…or 50% of the stadium cost. The rest will be on the public.
Los Angeles Football Club
LAFC might be pushed back to the 2018 season because of their stadium issues, but I’m sure they can find a temporary home for their first season if they’re determined to join in 2017 with Atlanta. But MOST importantly…privately funded! Ok, you know how I feel about that so let’s move on. The stadium was reported to cost about $150 million at the first go-round, but the proposed spot would require the demolition of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, pushing the cost up to $250 million.
The needs for demolition and satisfying red tape will likely push LAFC’s debut back to 2018, as noted above. But, depending on how things go around the league before 2018, this could be the largest and most expensive privately funded soccer specific stadium in the United States. It’s also beautiful.
There will be room for 22,000 L.A. Galaxy competing fans. Hopefully it all works out because LAFC is pushing their chips into the middle of the table by opening such a large stadium right out of the gate.
Minnesota United Football Club
I hope they’re working as hard to be called Min U (Man U anyone?) as they should be. I also think the Loons have one of the coolest logos going right now. Regardless, Min U is playing in an 8,000 seat stadium in the NASL. No surprise, but still, that’s tiny. As part of their bid, they’ve promised a new $150 million stadium in Minneapolis.
They reportedly won’t ask for any tax dollars, but that doesn’t tell the whole story (as with all these stadiums). They’ll likely be getting very large tax breaks that will be a revenue issue just like paying the team to build a stadium. But Min U – I’m going to make it a thing – are looking to jump to a, 18,500 seat stadium. Meh.
Miami Football Club
I wrote about the issues facing Miami FC and David Beckham here and there hasn’t been too much change. The new news worth newsing is that Beckham has reached some sort of agreement with the University of Miami to build a new stadium for them to share. They’re not fond of playing in the cavernous Sun Life Stadium either.
But, for completion’s sake, here are the photos and I hope they stay on schedule.