A new Louisville City FC stadium may be on the horizon, as Conventions, Sports & Leisure International has been commissioned to review funding options and locations for the USL franchise.
CSL is a well-known consultant in the sports world, advising cities and teams from the majors to the minors. Their task for the $75,000 contract: identify four sites for a new Louisville City FC stadium (including one downtown site — Champions Park, pushed by at least one council member), as well as possible funding plans. In its first year Louisville City FC shared Louisville Slugger Field with the Louisville Bats of the Triple-A International League — a situation that really pleased no one. With Louisville City FC owner Wayne Estopinal seeking city assistance for a new 9,000-seat stadium that could potentially be expanded to 20,000 should an MLS team become available, it looks like the city will play along. From the Louisville Courier-Journal:
A timeline for the project hasn’t been determined, though the United Soccer Leagues has asked its members — among them Louisville City FC — to build their own stadiums by 2020. For now, LCFC hosts home matches at Louisville Slugger Field but pays a $5,000-a-game fee to the Triple-A Louisville Bats for that right. Plus staffing, the soccer team’s principal owner, Wayne Estopinal, last summer said total cost of a match is more than $20,000.
Both on the pitch and in the stands, the first year of outdoor professional soccer in Louisville was a success. LCFC’s home attendance ranked second-best in the 24-team USL, and the club made the playoffs while featuring the league’s MVP, leading scorer Matt Fondy.
“Professional soccer is off to a great start in Louisville, and a new soccer stadium could have many positive impacts on our economy,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “This new investment in soccer will contribute to our authentic and vibrant community and give citizens one central team to rally around.”
It sounds like Louisville City FC ownership, which had threatened to leave the city, is pleased. “The step that the Mayor’s office and the City of Louisville have taken is significant in the process to bring a soccer-specific stadium to Louisville,” said Louisville City FC president Amanda Duffy in a statement. “By engaging Conventions, Sports & Leisure International to deliver a recommended direction for a stadium location as well as a path for project funding illustrates the decisive action that we’re all taking to achieve the ambition of bringing the highest level of professional sports to Kentucky and Southern Indiana.”
Image courtesy Louisville City FC.