The Richmond Kickers have finalized a lease extension for City Stadium that will lead to facility upgrades over the next several decades.
As noted here in November, the USL franchise was seeking to extend its stay at City Stadium for 40 years. One of the components of that agreement was a $20 million renovation plan, which will be executed by the Kickers and carried out in phases through 2050.
That plan is now moving forward, the Richmond City Council opted on Monday to approve the 40-year agreement. More from RichmondBizSense.com:
The Kickers have said the plan is to keep and build onto the bones of the existing structure to create a modern facility and build on the team’s recent momentum.
Playing in the United Soccer League – which acts as a minor league to Major League Soccer – the Kickers have experienced a bump in attendance in recent years, including a new high in average attendance of 4,000 fans at home games in the 2016 season.
The team, owned by the nonprofit Richmond Kickers youth soccer club, sees the upgraded facility as a vehicle for increased revenue in the form of sponsorships, such as on-field signage and naming rights to the stadium, as well as increased ticket revenue by offering fans a better experience.
The Kickers have played their home games at the nearly century-old, 22,000-seat stadium since 1995. It currently has a permit from the city to play there. The city has said the property is in need of major improvements, but no such funding is currently planned or budgeted.
The first round of upgrades, which include changes to the field and other improvements, will be completed by 2020. The agreement also calls for the Kickers to pay maintenance, utilities, and taxes on City Stadium. Details on how the Kickers will fund the upgrades are expected to be revealed at a later date.
Image courtesy Richmond Kickers.
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