With no solution to the team’s stadium issue on the horizon, the Austin Aztex may be sidelined again in 2017.
The problems in Austin have dragged on for some time. Faced with financial limitations–mainly a ban on alcohol sales–at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex, the Aztex sought a temporary facility, only to suspend play for the 2016 season.
Recent updates do not indicate that the team is any closer to reaching a solution on that front. And with USL officials already planning the league’s arrangement for the 2017 season, the Aztex face a situation in which they may sit out another season. More from Mystatesman.com:
Aztex officials haven’t had any success finding help from a city, a developer or another partner to acquire land and build a 5,000-seat stadium that would cost $5 million or more to construct. Team owner Rene van de Zande previously told the Statesman he does not have the deep pockets to fund a stadium without significant financial help.
A proposed USL alignment plan for 2017 that leaked this week showed a 30-team league absent Austin, although a league official said a firm decision about Austin’s future hadn’t been made.
“We’re not expecting any immediate updates regarding 2017 and the Aztex,” said John Griffin, USL senior director of communications. The league’s meetings were set to conclude Thursday.
Van de Zande agreed with [Aztex majority investor Bobby] Epstein that a return next year seems a bridge too far for the Aztex.
“Nothing is formally confirmed, but taking the suitable soccer venue needs into consideration, 2018 has become a more realistic target,” he said.
In the midst of this, Austin has been discussed as a possible market for MLS expansion. However, the city has ranked fairly low in our MLS Expansion Odds due to uncertainty surrounding both the ownership group and the stadium. If the city struggles to even find an adequate home for its USL franchise, it does not bode well for its chances of joining the MLS.
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