Boise tends to be a quiet and underrated market, but one on the rise. And there’s apparently support for pro soccer in the area: On June 4 a Portland Timbers T2/Swope Park Rangers match drew 4,352 people to Rocky Mountain High School.
Of course, that’s a one-time deal, and the issues of promoting a full season dwarf the work it takes to push a single match. But the match did inspire enthusiasm from the local business community — key to any professional sports endeavor in the city.
But United Soccer League President Jake Edwards endorses the idea of a Boise USL team, as does Portland Timbers President/GM Gavin Wilkinson. And Boise Mayor David Bieter has been talking for years about a downtown multiuse facility that could accommodate the Boise Hawks baseball team and pro soccer; numbers like 5,000 seats and a $30-million budget have been tossed around, but those numbers have been fluid over time depending on what level of baseball is being discussed. So how does a new stadium get built? It looks like there are two paths: a downtown facility guided by the city’s redevelopment agency, Capital City Development Corp., or the reuse of an existing venue in Ada County, such as Les Bois Park.
But a lot of this talk is still talk, and while it’s nice to think the USL would succeed in Boise, it won’t be the economic driver for a new facility: USL teams just don’t generate enough revenue in a short season to justify capital expenditures for a new stadium. (And forget about asking the Portland Timbers to contribute.) We’re seeing some success in joint MiLB/soccer facilities (Louisville, Tulsa) and with the Boise Hawks certainly in need of a new ballpark (Memorial Stadium is a limited stadium at best), a new downtown facility would certainly add to the growth Boise is already experiencing.
Image and video courtesy Portland Timbers 2.