After a Monday match at Busch Stadium, some in St. Louis are wondering how the city will continue with its pursuit of an MLS expansion team.
AS Roma and Liverpool squared off at the home of MLB’s Cardinals, a match that occurred with St. Louis’ MLS ambitions in the backdrop. The game drew a solid, but certainly not staggering attendance figure. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted, the mark of 28,573 was down from previous matches to have been held at Busch Stadium.
Good or bad attendance for an exhibition, however, is not necessarily a make-or-break factor when it comes to the MLS. The more important issue is the team’s ownership which, as was pointed out here last week, remains something of a question. The MLS2STL group has operated somewhat quietly. While it does have the back of individuals such as former Anheuser-Busch executive Dave Peacock, it is still very much in the process of trying to fill out its slate of investors, with some former St. Louis Rams reportedly being courted.
Beyond that is the issue of the where the stadium would be built and how it would be funded. A downtown, waterfront site that was once touted as a possible location for a new Rams stadium has been discussed for the MLS, but funding for the facility is still an area of uncertainty. More from Fox 2 Now:
Local soccer analyst Bill McDermott said the historical strikes against St. Louis being an expansion city include an absence of an ownership group and a lack of soccer only downtown stadium. He says the league believes downtown stadiums are best suited to attract millennia’s.
“They take urban transportation. They want to be involved in things downtown,” said McDermott.
We have yet to hear publicly from a potential ownership group, but there have been behind the scenes efforts to line up investors to bring soccer to St. Louis. What’s not clear is how much those investors are willing to pay, and how much taxpayers will be asked to fund.
Rendering dates from a previous effort to bring MLS to St. Louis; it does not reflect any current plans.